I have a corner shelf that is coming apart. It was built with cross-grain construction. I want to rebuild it and was hoping you could help me do it right. Each shelf consists of three pieces held together with a batten set in a dado. The top boards are secured to the batten with nails driven through them, and also possibly glue. Each board has come apart. Would it be better to put pegs into elongated holes, and only glue in the center board and let the ends float? It was built in the 1950s by my father-in-law and I would like to save it. Thanks for any advice you have. – Bob Ballerman
Tim Inman: Well, I’m afraid you’re beat before you start, as my dad would have said. There is just no way to fasten cross-grained wood without having it move or destroy itself. If you encase the whole thing in epoxy or plastic, it will probably warp. So, there are just not any really good choices here for you.
You are going to have to compromise something to preserve this shelf. With a good attitude, I see no reason the shelf cannot continue to carry those good memories you want kept. But, “perfect is the enemy of good” as they say. You are on the right track to think in terms of securing the pieces by anchoring in select spots. Let the wood move, but encourage it to move where you want it to move. Maybe some