This shelf can be called a 3D picture frame, picture frame shelf, picture shadow box shelf etc, etc… In my case finding the right name is even more confusing as this one was built like a drawer. Anyway, I started the build by cutting the board to a rough size. I made a temporary fence and clamped it down with two clamps, one of them on the opposite side, but that was still OK as the working pieces were quite small. That layout helped to stabilize the fence.

It took me ages to set the right fence position and the bit height, but eventually, I had it done. The dry fit was OK but I had to clean up tear-out on my table saw. Then I lightly sanded all the pieces and it was ready for glue-up.

I used all the long clamps I had but I was still one short, so I had to improvise with some extensions. I checked for square and wiped off the glue squeeze-out. The frame was only clamped in one direction, which was enough thanks to the drawer lock. All corners closed perfectly.

Routing out a keyhole wasn’t easy and it took some time. 1st attempt was a failure because I didn’t use any fence. Luckily I was able to flip the frame over and start again.

For the frame face, I used a moulding I bought and not made. I cut it to size on my table saw and checked the angles.

Sanding with my orbital sander and hand sanding were next. Once that was done I started the assembly.

Glue and nails, that should do. The only trick I used was to hammer the nails in a specific order which perfectly aligned the frame and closed the mitres.

Choosing and applying a finish was the next thing to do. I used Danish oil.

A couple of layers were applied and once dried I stuck some rubber spacers to the back. Using my wall detector I found the right place for drilling and installed drywall plugs.

In this project I tried a couple of things for the first time, a little afraid in the beginning, but now I’m very happy with how it turned out!