Floating shelves challenge - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-18-2013, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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Floating shelves challenge

Hey everybody, I've been fussing over how to make a wall with several floating shelves. Here is the look I am after. This is a rendering done by a designer, notice all the floating shelves.

After talking to many carpenters and even fine cabinetry guys, we're still at a loss for an ideal solution. Here is why!

The challenge is that the shelves should only be a maximum of 1 inch thick. I think, even thinner, like 3/4 inch if possible, but I've been told that its impossible! And of course, the shelves should be able to support some weight, not too much but at least, maybe, 10-15 lbs.

After much research, I found two hardware solutions: One is here and the other is here

Especially check out these really cool
on how the second solution works.

Now, at first it seems the second solution is the better one. But, further investigation and reading, you realize these are European design and the walls over there must be mostly hard material, like plaster or concrete, because this is what these are designed for. So, using here in North America, mounting on drywall/stud, I'm not sure it will work.

Maybe the LeeValley hardware will work, at least for 1 inch thick shelf. Documentation says its a minimum. Any ideas on 3/4 inch thick? Are there any homemade solutions? Thanks.
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-18-2013, 10:00 AM
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The adjustable bracket would be a better choice IMO.

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post #3 of 7 Old 12-18-2013, 10:56 AM
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Any shelf that narrow mounted on drywall is going to be a problem eventually, I would be tempted to cut the drywall out behind the mount and replace it with a plywood shim so mount is fixed solidly to stud.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #4 of 7 Old 12-18-2013, 11:48 AM
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Making this up but for homemade solutions, what about right angle metal brackets?

In shop, cut shelf edge band to thickness of shelf + thin matching veneer; route shallow area under shelf to receive bracket (take wall covering thickness into account);

Remove wall material, mount bracket to studs, repair wall covering.

Mount shelf with screws; Glue veneer to underside of shelf (to hide bracket) after shelf is securely installed.

Not sure if its better to finish in shop (easiest) or in place (may need to fiddle to make veneer & edge band produce tight joint without casting shadow below shelf... if you care)
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-18-2013, 03:26 PM
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Depending how picky the client is and how big the wall you are installing them to can determine how you make this. I have taken plywood, used it as a wall template and then made shelves out of solid wood. Drill holes in the back of the shelves and then use lag bolts from the back of the plywood and lag the shelves into the plywood. The lags are long enough to hold the weight. The plywood is then painted to look like a wall. Put the whole thing together in your shop and then bring to customers site and assemble on site. Paint the back panel of plywood to match the wall color or contrasting color to give the shelving flare.

You could also use the same type of design but use pocket screws from the bottom and fill with wood putty and paint the shelves if this is a paint grade project.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-25-2013, 10:00 PM
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That shelf design is definitely possible, and a thickness of 3/4" can be done. I would use hardwood. The wall would need to be a structural part of the shelf, but at that same time not look like part of the shelf at all. The shelves that need to span the maximum length that are unsupported may need some internal splines installed in them to be able to carry weight at the outer ends without sagging. This job would be a interesting challenge, but would be fun at the same time.

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post #7 of 7 Old 02-02-2014, 10:48 PM
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I used 1/4" rebar. drilled used 1/4" bit, into atleast 2" on studs on center drilled the 3/8" holes into mdf over half shelf width, then pounded the rebar into the studs and loosely slid finished mdf shelf over the rebar stubs . Never had a problem. Remember to scribe shelf to wall first and space out stubs for longer spans. And using a drill press to drill into 3/4" shelf will keep drill but from angle and surface blowouts.

Last edited by nwoodward; 02-02-2014 at 10:57 PM.
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