We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not affect our recommendations.
This simple rack uses no nails, no screws, and holds up to 15 pairs of shoes.
In this “I Can Do It” column, we introduce the use of pegs instead of hardware to hold the project together.
This simple shoe cabinet uses five pieces of 2 “x 2” x 36 “poplar (which is actually 1 1⁄2“ square) for the uprights, feet and guides; six 5⁄8Poplar “x 48” dowels for the crosspieces; is one 3⁄8“ x 48 “ poplar dowel for the pegs.
A good lesson when working with dowels is that not all are the same. Before you begin, measure the diameters of the dowels, then select the drill bit to match the smaller one. (Although I bought 5⁄8“ dowels, three of them were actually closer 9⁄16“.)
First, cut the cross bars to size. I decided on a 36 ″ span, long enough to hold five pairs of elegant women’s shoes. With six anchors to cut to the same length, measure and mark one, then install a stop block on the miter saw rail and cut each to 38 ″. The additional 2 ″ is used to seat the 1 ″ dowels at both ends in the posts.
While at the miter saw, cut your two 12 “feet and two 5” rails, again, with a stop block. Then draw a line on the right side of the 2-foot fence1⁄2“, and cut 16 21⁄2“ pegs from 3⁄8“ dowel (only 12 are needed, but the extra is never bad). By holding the dowel in place against the guide on the left side and cutting these short pieces on the right side of the blade, your hands are safely away from the blade. Once the pegs are cut, taper one end slightly on each for easier insertion. An old-fashioned pencil sharpener on its larger setting works well for this task.
The uprights are 36 ″ long, so no cutting is required on these.
Then, line up the two feet and pin them together to arrange the positions of the four posts and the anchors to join them. First, measure 2 “from both ends and use a combined square to mark a line on both pieces; then measure 11⁄2“From those marks and draw another line on both pieces. Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner of the resulting squares on each foot. I observed the placement (along the diagonal line) for each of the four 3⁄8“Pegs that are guided through each foot to fit into the lower ends of the uprights.
Now move on to the arrangement of the crosspieces in the posts. Again, it’s important that they line up perfectly across the entire width. Lock the two rear posts together and mark both at the same time for the crosshead positions 10 “, 20”, and 30 “from the bottom. Mark the center point at each location (3⁄4“From both edges.) The A-pillar cross members are offset downwards 11⁄2“From the ones in the back. Firmly clamp one of the posts lengthwise (with the marked side facing up) into your Workmate, put the appropriate bit into the drill, put a 1 “piece of tape from the tip of the bit to act as a depth stop and Drill a 1 “- deep hole in each marked location on the riser, then repeat on each.
Then securely fasten each of the feet a drill through holes that match the size of the pegs in all eight marked locations. Maintain perforation level for this operation; you will use your foot as a jig to drill the corresponding 1 ″ deep holes in the ends of the posts, and you will need these to line them up straight.
Now lock the two front posts together with the already drilled holes facing down and mark the location for 3⁄8“ through holes at the top, 3⁄4“Down from the top edge and 3⁄4”From both sides, then drill directly. As with the feet, this hole will be used as a template to drill the corresponding 1 ″ deep holes in the two top rails between the posts.
Now clamp one of the rear uprights loosely lengthwise into the Workmate vise with the holes along the length facing up, leaving enough space at the bottom to line up the foot with the layout marks you made, then squeeze everything tightly together. Wrap a piece of masking tape 21⁄2”From the tip of the drill to mark the depth of the hole. Use the through holes in the feet as a guide to drill two 1 ″ deep holes in the bottom of the post.
Before unlocking this setup, put glue in the holes and drive the two pegs with a hammer or sledgehammer. Try to position the pegs completely so that you have enough holding force between the two pieces (if you have a bit of peg sticking out, you can later sand flush). Attach the corresponding front post (holes facing down) to the foot, drill the holes and place the pegs. Do the same with the other side.
Time to add the sleepers. Place one assembled side on the ground, with the holes facing up, and apply the dry anchors. Remember: some of your stringers may be a little larger than your holes, so you may need to sand them to fit. When all the dowels fit, add glue into the holes and place the dowels with a hammer.
Now take the other side assembly, smear the glue around the holes and line up the crossbars in the corresponding holes. Once the side is aligned, hammer the side down until the cross members are in place; let the glue dry. (If you have long enough clamps, use them to tighten everything together.)
Add the rails, using the through holes in the posts as guides. Once you have the rails in place to square everything, secure them firmly and drill through the 1 ″ posts into the holes. Lean your rack against something solid so you can swing your hammer with enough force to place the pegs and not just slide the rack across the floor with each hit.
Sand all surfaces (and all proud pegs flush) before finishing. I used two coats of amber shellac, sanding with # 360 grit between the coats. However, shellac can be difficult to work with; it dries very quickly so it is difficult to maintain a wet edge and achieve an even coat. If I build another shoe cabinet, I will likely succumb to the siren’s call of spray paint or spray paint.
Cutting list for shoe cabinet with anchors
Item No. dimensions (inches) material
❏ 4 Uprights 1 1⁄2 x 1 1⁄2 x 36 poplar
❏ 2 feet 1 1⁄2 x 1 1⁄2 x 12 poplar
❏ 2 tracks 1 1⁄2 x 1 1⁄2 x 5 poplar
❏ 6 Cross bars 5⁄8 dia. 38 Plug
❏ 12 rungs 3⁄8 dia. 2 gusset
Here are some supplies and tools that we believe are essential in our daily shop work. We may receive a commission from sales reported by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.