November 08, 2021

Hexagon Shelving Progress

I am extremely tired today for some reason, so I'm just going to keep this short. (Even when I try to keep it short, I always manage to go on and on...) I want to take a shower, put on super comfy pajamas, and try really hard to fall asleep early tonight.

I don't have a ton of progress to show on the hexagon shelves I'm making, but I don't really have anything else to write about! I did get the first shelf put together and I LOVE it. It's not totally done--I'm going to put a backing on it and use a French cleat to hang it on the wall. I'm also going to paint it.

If you missed it, I am working on a sort of "jungle gym" wall for the cats and I am starting with some hexagon shelves/honeycomb shelves. Here is a picture of what inspired me to do it...

(I don't know who to credit for this photo--I couldn't find the original source)

I had cut out six sides and beveled the edges so they would form a hexagon, but I was dreading putting holes in two of the faces (the shelves in the photo have four holes, but I want to make a couple of the shelves with just two holes). I HATE using the jigsaw and it's not easy to make a perfect circle with it anyways. There are hole cutter drill bits you can get that cut holes 6 inches in diameter, which is about the size I needed to cut, but they're expensive and I doubt I'd ever use it again.

After staring it down in the garage for about an hour and racking my brain, I decided to try my router. I'd never cut circles with a router before, and I don't have a circle-cutting jig, but I managed to rig something up that I thought might actually work. I made a temporary plate for the router out of small rectangle of plywood that would rotate around a nail in the center of the circle. (Like using a compass to draw a circle, only it would cut it out instead of drawing it.)

I don't have a plunge router, which is ideal for this. (The best way I can describe it would be like drawing a circle on a piece of paper--with a plunge router, you can just place the tip of your pen anywhere on the paper and start drawing. With a regular router, like mine, it would be like having to start drawing with your pen at the very edge of the paper.)

I decided to try it anyways and just make a super shallow cut. (I'll spare the details.) Long story short(ish), the bit didn't lock into place where I'd planned for it to (to make the shallow cut). I wasn't able to move the router and suddenly the wood started smoking and it smelled burnt. I turned off the router only to see that I'd accidentally pushed the bit through the board and right down to the concrete in the garage!! It destroyed the bit and burned the wood.

Thankfully the weather was nice enough to put me in a great mood--I just shrugged it off and moved on!

I switched out the bit and figured out how to make extremely shallow passes to bypass not having a plunge router. After lots of rotations of the router, the circle was finally cut--and it was PERFECT. (Well, aside from the burned edge! Haha. When I sanded it, the burn came right off and now you can't even see it.)

The second one was much quicker and I was really excited that I'd managed to make it work. Cutting through solid oak with a jigsaw would have taken FOREVER, would have really bothered my carpal tunnel, and would have made a very imperfect circle. (Now, I'm going to make a proper circle-cutting jig for the rest of the boards.)

Once I cut the circles out of the two pieces, I started working on the glue-up. I laid out a couple of pieces of painters' tape and then placed all of the pieces side-by-side on top.

Then I spread glue on the beveled edges and basically rolled the whole thing up to form a hexagon. I was so excited that it was actually doing what it was supposed to do, haha. I put a strap clamp around it to hold it tightly together. 

I let it sit overnight and then today I took the clamp off--I was thrilled to see it looked exactly how I'd hoped. I sanded the glue off and then I brought it in the house to see if the cats would fit through the holes. I didn't want to finish the whole project only to find out that the holes were too small for my porky kitties!

I set it on the floor and immediately, the kittens were drawn to it. Cats are so predictable! Haha. 

I still have to cut out a hexagon-shaped piece for the back. And I have to make about four more of these! Now that I kind of know what I'm doing, though, it should be easier.

If you want to see all the ridiculous inspiration I may be putting into action for the cats, you can check out my cat wall Pinterest board. I really am crazy, I think! ;)

I need some transformations so I can post a Transformation Tuesday tomorrow--so please share what you have!


  1. Wow, you really have impressive wood working skills!!

  2. Can't wait to see the finished wall. It will be so much fun to watch the kitties. We'll need video! And, once again, I'm amazed at your tenacity, ingenuity, and creativity. Wow.

  3. Replies
    1. I second the motion! So freakin cool! I'd be missing some fingers and not accomplishing anything.

  4. That wood is so beautiful, I would put a couple coats of poly on it and call it good. Such a shame to cover it up with paint. JMHO.

    1. I actually thought the same thing--the oak is so pretty! (Usually I just use pine for things because I like the look of paint.) I didn't realize what a difference it was going to be to use a nice hardwood. But I don't have enough to do all of the shelving (I think I can get two more shelves out of it). It wouldn't match the decor in my house with that color, either. It's given me a whole new appreciate for hardwood, though!

    2. You could leave the oak natural and paint the other pieces for kind of a cool pattern. I love wood and painted wood contrasts and it help it blend better with your other pieces.

  5. It looks amazing Katie! You are incredibly talented and handy.

  6. You did a phenomenal job. I am terrible with tools! Your cats will love it.

  7. This is SO cool! I can’t wait to see their reactions when you get it on the wall.


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