Shoe rack: Side frame pieces

I’m in the process of making a shoe rack. It will basically be two side frames with three shelves, all done with mortise-and-tenon joints. I have most of the wood dimensioned, and have the boards for one of the sides cut to length now:

There are going to be quite a lot of mortise-and-tenon joints in this project. I’ve been practicing, and am getting much better. The fun part is that I’m no longer using the “drill and chop out” method of making the mortise. Now that I have no more downstairs neighbors, I’ve just been chopping the whole thing out with a chisel. It’s noisy and destructive and a lot faster than fooling around with the drills.

This wood is some rather cheap mystery softwood. These boards have a lot of knots in them; in fact, they’re downright tragic if you look at them whole. However, if you buy 10- and 12-inch widths, you get a lot of sections that have clear wood, and you can get cuts that are quartersawn in this way. This is a pretty common trick with softwoods.

The growth rings are very closely packed in some of these boards, but it’s still a rather soft wood, somewhere around the toughness of yellow-poplar (tuliptree). It’s always kind of tricky to make joints in wood like this, but I must admit that there’s a bit of a charge when you succeed.

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