Attachment of ceiling bookshelf - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Attachment of ceiling bookshelf

Hi, I am planning a bookshelf to ride along 16 inches or so below the ceiling around the edge of the room. It'll have vertical members to attach to the ceiling to support it, to act as bookends, and to give it a nice look. See the photo though it doesn't have these vertical members.

Any ideas on how to firmly attach the 3/4 boards on edge to the ceiling with a clean look? I'm thinking of attaching it to the joists with long Kreg pocket screws and covering the holes with pocket hole plugs and painting them over but I sense I'm missing some obvious better, cleaner way. I could use a board along the top of the shelf to attach to the ceiling with standard screws recessed with plugs but I'm looking for the clean look with the ceiling still visible, less destructive too.

Mitch
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post #2 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 08:49 PM
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I do not understand why you want to specifically attach to the ceiling instead of wall studs.

I guess that you could attach to the joists above the ceiling.

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post #3 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 09:05 PM
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If it were me I would make the shelf like an L-bracket and just screw it to the studs. If it's no more than 6" deep I don't see any need for braces to the ceiling. After screwing it to the wall you could put a piece of trim over the screws to hide them.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 09:07 PM
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In setting a high shelf, I think it would be best to support from beneath. The picture you posted shows the support from below. This support can be as plain or as decorative as you want. It can be as simple as large crown mold or you can use corbels or corner blocks.
You can still install your verticals for the bookends.
Books can get heavy fast. Support it from underneath.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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The reason to support from the ceiling is that I want it flush with the ceiling to give it a certain clean look and to discourage the weight from separating the vertical boards from the ceiling. But because of that I forgot the obvious, to attach to the stud for security instead and use filler to hide any gap between the vertical members and the ceiling. Still, it could separate. Will have to think about this some more.

The reason I'm staying away from support from below is just to keep the look as clean as possible, will blend in better with the existing woodwork.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 09:35 PM
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The picture you have shown has a board under the shelf. If you don't want that piece with a drill guide and a doweling jig you could put some 1/2" hardwood dowels into the studs and insert the shelf over the dowels and have nothing else to support the shelf than that. Unless you load the shelf down with bricks it would hold.
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post #7 of 13 Old 11-04-2017, 09:40 PM
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If you build your shelf with a full back, it will be strong when you add your verticals (book ends).
You would screw through the back to the wall with the top of the back against the ceiling. Try to hit the studs.
It would like hanging a cabinet.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #8 of 13 Old 11-05-2017, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
If you build your shelf with a full back, it will be strong when you add your verticals (book ends).
You would screw through the back to the wall with the top of the back against the ceiling. Try to hit the studs.
It would like hanging a cabinet.
Very good idea. Any thoughts on how to hold the verticals up against the ceiling to prevent a gap as the weight flexes under load? I could put a top board to make it much like a cabinet but that would destroy the clean look I'm after.

I've seen some photos of shelves seemingly without support from above or below, jutting straight out from the wall. What would be nice but I would that it would require metal rods.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-05-2017, 04:18 PM
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Rockler sells blind shelf supports - metal rods which are perpendicular to the wall. The metal rods insert inside the shelves, so they stay hidden:

http://www.rockler.com/blind-shelf-supports

The problem is that they cannot support much weight. I agree with the others that if you plan to support heavy objects, such as books, then you should anchor to the studs in the wall, and you will need some kind of support from underneath.

I wonder whether you would be willing to cut out the drywall, screw L-brackets down the studs, and then spackle/plaster over the support to hide it, with only the shelf support coming out perpendicular from the wall. The shelf support could be hidden inside the shelf (blind), perhaps.

If it were me, I would consider building L-brackets from a contrasting wood, cut out the walls, and attach the brackets to the studs, leaving the nicely finished dark wood supports flush in the wall like inlay. It might be pretty, or it might be ugly, so think hard about it!
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-05-2017, 04:21 PM
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If you’re able to locate your ceiling joist you can install your verticals in alignment with the ceiling joist.
The ceiling joist will be 1 1/2” wide and the vertical will most likely be 3/4”.
If you pre-drill the verticals you can screw it directly into the joist using 2 1/2” screws. (About every 4’)
The back piece can be plywood, Masonite or MDF at least 1/4” thick.
This can be made strong if attached to both studs and joist.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-05-2017, 04:28 PM
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I have a friend who has overhead cabinets over his kitchen peninsula. I asked how he had it done. The installer went up into the crawl space, drilled holes through the rafters, ran all-thread down through the ceiling and hung the cabinets from the all-thread. Why didn't I think of that.

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post #12 of 13 Old 11-06-2017, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
If you’re able to locate your ceiling joist you can install your verticals in alignment with the ceiling joist.
The ceiling joist will be 1 1/2” wide and the vertical will most likely be 3/4”.
If you pre-drill the verticals you can screw it directly into the joist using 2 1/2” screws. (About every 4’)
The back piece can be plywood, Masonite or MDF at least 1/4” thick.
This can be made strong if attached to both studs and joist.
Unless I misunderstand, this would mean a pocket hole? Would definitely require good aim given that those screws go in at a 15 degree or so angle.
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post #13 of 13 Old 11-06-2017, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvgossman View Post
Unless I misunderstand, this would mean a pocket hole? Would definitely require good aim given that those screws go in at a 15 degree or so angle.
A Kreg jig would do the job nicely.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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