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Thread: A Shelf for George

  1. #1
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    A Shelf for George

    A couple of weeks ago I began work on a wall shelf for a customer/friend here in Boise. He did the design work and gave me the dimensions he wanted, I had the choice of woods dependent upon some wood he already had in the house. He wanted the top shelf to match his bar stool/chairs in the adjacent kitchen, and the lower shelves to match a coffee table in the family room or the floor that runs throughout the house. The floor is a rather light, knotty wood that I think might be hickory. I felt this might be hard to match, as it would be so near the shelf that a comparison was too easy, so I went with the coffee table which I believe to be knotty alder. The chairs are an almost black surface coating on what might be poplar or maple - very hard to tell. However, they are devoid of any grain pattern, something he likes (note the floor and coffee table). So I decided to go with ebonized black walnut.

    The lower shelves are 3/4" thick and dovetailed. They attach to the 1 1/8" thick (Originally planed for 7/8" but did not like the look) top shelf via a sliding dovetail (I was originally going to go with through tenons but feared the different movements in the wood might cause one or the other to split).

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    I have completed the dovetails and just glued up the top shelf - will post pics soon.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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  2. #2
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    I like it, but how does he plan on attaching it to the wall? I'm assuming what he likes is the clean looks, so wondering if there is some kind of hidden attachment?
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    I like it, but how does he plan on attaching it to the wall? I'm assuming what he likes is the clean looks, so wondering if there is some kind of hidden attachment?
    That is indeed a problem of immense proportions on which to prob-osculate.

    I considered pocket screws under the shelves, but there is only one stud to be found. I think I am going to go with a cleat, about 1" tall, attached to the underside of the top and bottom shelves and just screw through that into the stud and into an anchor. However, not cast in stone yet - open to suggestions.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post
    That is indeed a problem of immense proportions on which to prob-osculate.

    I considered pocket screws under the shelves, but there is only one stud to be found. I think I am going to go with a cleat, about 1" tall, attached to the underside of the top and bottom shelves and just screw through that into the stud and into an anchor. However, not cast in stone yet - open to suggestions.
    You might consider an aluminum cleat, aka Zbar. It's thinner and not as bulky as a wooden cleat. Looks like the narrowest one these folks sell is 1 1/16", but that could be trimmed down pretty easily with a table saw and carbide blade. (I haven't done a lot of Googling for other sources, but there's quite likely narrower stuff out there.) You might also look at some combination of Zbar and J Cap, which is also shown on this site.

    http://zbarhanger.com/index.html
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  5. #5
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    Drill holes in edge of top & bottom shelves. Insert dowels. Drill corresponding holes in the wall and mount the shelves. The drywall will support a fair amount of weight, and from your drawings (with the Ipad on the top), the shelves aren't big enough to be overloaded with weight.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
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    I have done what both Vaughn and Jim said. for these I vote with Jim. Z bar I think will be to big for this. And might go with dominoes if I had a festool.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
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  7. #7
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    I'm with Them Fellers. I like Jim's idea too. A few of those dowel center finders tucked into the holes on the shelf and a lite tap and you'd have the locations for the holes in the drywall all figured out.

    Some strong glue and you're done.

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    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    I'm with Them Fellers. I like Jim's idea too. A few of those dowel center finders tucked into the holes on the shelf and a lite tap and you'd have the locations for the holes in the drywall all figured out.

    Some strong glue and you're done.
    Glue isn't even necessary. If the holes are sized for a 'press' fit of the dowels, the friction fit will be solid enough. The dowels do need to be long enough to go completely through the drywall, though.

    I have one set of display shelving that stayed put through several California earthquakes, including the Landers, Whittier, and the Northridge, and has now lived on the hall wall here in Ohio for over ten years.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  9. #9
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    I have used these sideways with success:

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    Or keyhole slots:

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    Or a combination
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  10. #10
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    A Shelf for George

    All good ideas and worth investigating. Something to note, first, the shelf assembly is quite heavy. The top shelf is 16 x 32 walnut 1 1/8" thick. Also, this will hold a full sized touch screen computer on top and various charging stations and odds and ends below. I suspect it will get leaned on as one might lean on the edge of a bar when they are working on the computer. At 16" deep this will put a lot of pull on the mountings. I can see the dowels offering a good deal of shear resistance, but not being able to resist the pull along their axes. Also, this will get regular pounding and, as shown, is in a place where it is likely to get bumped. I trust Jim knows his business, but I'm thinking that the dowels might not be up to the job. They could be glued into the shelf and wall, but that would make removal (for paiting the walls, etc.) near impossible. I need to think about this a little more.
    Last edited by Rennie Heuer; 05-17-2015 at 01:32 PM.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

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