A rabbet in the frame will hold the panel. I use ½” guided rabbeting bit.
The rabbet is 3/8″ wide and I take 2-3 steps to get close to the required depth.
I ease in until I’m satisfied with the result.
Now that the rabbets are finished, the cherry hardwood panel is cut to its final width,
The dry fit shows the frame just proud of the surface of the panel. It is a personal preference of mine; it leaves me some room to adjust by sanding it down.
Time to glue and clamp everything together.
After about 30 minutes I remove the squeezed-out glue to prevent staining of the wood.
Another hour or so later, I cut off the rear end of the shelf with my panel jig.
And screw in the extension sliders on both sides.
Now I will move from the workshop to the van. I have to install the shelf and take measurements for the front and bottom, where I have to incorporate it into the bed railing.
Two issues remain: the front of the shelf needs to be shortened and finished with cherry and secondly the bottom front has to be incorporated into the bed.
When closed, part of the shelf side frame is visible below the bed railing. That is removed in the workshop.
At the same time, I’m adding a front frame rail to the bottom of the shelf. Not that anybody will see it, but I know it’s there! I mitered the corners and glued it to the panel bottom.
Back to the van to scribe the exact location of the front of the shelf. That, minus the width of the cherry finish rail, will be where I’ll cut the panel to length.
In the workshop I make a final cut with the help of my panel jig, and glue up the front frame rail.
The end result is a fairly well hidden shelf that can be used, to serve a lunch, watch TV on my laptop at night or just put my glasses on when I go to sleep.
To help me visualize to final finish of the cherry bed, I wiped on some thinner, that will evaporate in short time, without leaving much residue. It’s wetness simulates the final finish of the wood and accentuates the texture of the wood. What do you think of the pattern in the bed railing?