Wooden shelves are an excellent place to store items in a room and remove clutter from the floor or from tables and counter tops. A simple 2 by 4 shelf, made with the help of some power tools, is ideal for holding small ingredients, such as spices and cooking extracts, where they will be easy to access and not lost among larger items in your kitchen. With homemade shelves, you can choose the stain or paint color, allowing you to perfectly match your shelf to your kitchen.
Split the 2 by 4s in half using the table saw. Raise the 1/8-inch blade 4 inches over the cutting surface and adjust the guide rail so that the blade passes through the center of the 2 inch width of the 2 by 4s, then pass them through the saw. You will now have wood that is just under 1 inch thick to work with.
Use the tape measure and the t-square to mark the wood and the circular saw or table saw to cut along the line marked off. The top shelf is 24 inches long, the back is 18 inches long, and the two side supports are 5 inches long each.
Mark guide points on one of the side pieces to help draw the aesthetic curve of the sides. Use one 5 inch length as the back edge of the side piece, which will rest against the wall. Mark the top edge of the wood 2 3/4 inches from the upper back corner as the start of the curve. Mark additional points 1 inch down from the top of the wood and 2 inches from the back side of the wood, 2 1/2 inches from the top of the wood and 1 1/2 inches from the back of the wood, and 4 3/4 inches from the top of the wood and 1/2 inch from the back of the wood.
Connect the points in pencil using the French curve, connecting the mark on the top edge to the first point, the first point to the second and so on to the final point, which is then connected to the bottom back corner.
Cut the side out along the pencil line using the jigsaw, then repeat the cut on the second side piece, using the first as a pattern.
Cut 1/4 inch bevels around the edges of the wood pieces using the router. The shelf piece requires beveling on only the top edges on both short sides and on one long side, as the back edge is not beveled. The back piece requires a single bevel along the top of one long edge. The side pieces must be beveled on both sides of the curves. In total, there are eight bevel cuts.
Glue the back piece between the two side pieces, with the beveled edge of the back piece facing out and down. The top of the back piece aligns flush with the tops of the side pieces, with the back edges of the side pieces aligned flush with the back side of the back piece. This will create two flat surfaces--one that rests against the wall and one on which the shelf rests.
Drive two nails through each side piece and into the back piece after the glue has dried to strengthen the bond.
Place the shelf atop the sides and back so that the beveled edges face up, with the edge that was not beveled flush with the backs of the side and back pieces. Glue in place.
Sand the shelf for a smooth finish and to prevent splintering.
Stain or paint the shelf a color of your choosing.