Make Floating Shelves
What you will need:
The shelves are all meranti, 144x12x385mm, the base
is SA pine, 144x12x560mm, and the five front pieces are 144x22x35mm (bottom
piece), three centre pieces each 22x144x130mm and a fifth, top piece, which
is 22x144x90mm. You, however, can adapt these dimensions as you see fit.
The only point we would make is this: don’t make the shelves too deep as
they are held only by the portion that is in the gap between the front
pieces mounted on the base – and those front pieces should be at least 22mm
thick, as here.
- Cut four or however many shelves you plan for your unit.
- We selected four, cut from 12x144mm meranti.
- Position them on a length that will become your base, and only then
decide on a length for the latter, then cut it to length.
- Initially we were looking at the bottom piece being 20mm wide, but
decided that that would be too narrow and weak. So, we changed it to
- We used some scrap block board for the front pieces, and…
- Cut the five pieces – all 22x144mm wide, but 35mm, 90mm, and then
three pieces 130mm deep.
- Using some offcuts from the shelves, to confirm everything matched
- The components – 10 in all.
- Smarten up the edges a little with a concave router contour.
- The easies way to rout the edges is by clamping the front pieces
together and then routing along the edges in one go.
- Here’s the result – clamping them together actually makes them
easier to handle. Of course, you could also rout the single length
you’ve selected for the front pieces, and then cut each to length. I’ve
only just thought of that, so try it.
- Routing across the ends risks chipping, and the answer is to clamp
both ends together, between two pieces of scrap of the same thickness –
in this case, 22mm.
- Then rout them
- And this is the result – no chipping.
- You can clean up the ends, and any other concave routed contour,
with a suitable dowel and sandpaper.
- Sand down the surfaces.
- Apply glue to the back of the bottom piece and…
- Clamp it firmly in position.
- Insert a couple of spacers from the offcuts of the shelves, and
glue the next front piece into position.
- Carry on until you have attached each front piece in position; note
the spacers between each, so that the shelves will fit very snugly.
Allow the glue to dry; if you wish, you can drive small screws through
the back of the base to secure the front pieces even more strongly.
- The attachment screws go through the base – and won’t be visible.
- In this case, I didn’t have a countersink bit small enough (no! I
don’t have everything!). Therefore, I used a 10mm HSS bit to
countersink each hole; the screw heads must not protrude at all
otherwise you will not be able to seat the shelves properly.
- Having tapped the spacers out, and clamped the front pieces for
good measure while the glue cured.
- Finally, position the base on the wall, drill the required holes in
the wall, insert plugs, and attach the base to the wall. Then slide the
shelves into position… And you’re done.
- The final effect – one position.
- The final effect – another position