The idea of this project started when looking for a nice shelves for my son's bedroom.
I couldn't find in stores or internet any shelves that can be at the same time resistent, original and the size I needed, so... why not make one?
I've choose a honeycomb design, because my son likes a tv cartoon of bees, also because it looks cool and its a very solid desing.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
(Will vary depending on the number of hexagons and your shelves setup)
54 pieces - 16 x 10 in. light oak wood pieces. (3/4" thick)
206 dry wall screws - 1-1/2" long
2 - 3 x 2" steel 90° angle supports tho fix the shelves to wall (optional)
1/8 thick MDF board
Table saw or CNC or a jig saw that cuts 60° angles.
Drill press or power drill.
Belt sander or orbital sander.
Wood drill bits
Assorted grit sand paper
First of all you need to decide the size of your shelves and how many hexagons you want.
I've made 9 hexagons and the center one is formed by the six surrounding hexagons.
Next choose the wood you like. I've used light oak wood.
Asked my wood supplier to send them already in 16 x 10 in. pieces.
In the picture the wood pieces are already with angle cut but I didn't bought them with the angle cut done. See next step.
Step 2: Cut the 60° Angle
To make hexagons you need to cut 60° angles.
This step is very easy and fast if you have a table saw that can tilt the blade to 60°
I don't have a table saw, and cuting angles on thick wood on my scroll saw won't work.
Also tried with my jig saw but it only have 30° and 45° degrees settings :(
So I've cutted the angles on a CNC router using a 60° V-bit.
The setup on the CNC table was easy with 4 clamps and wrote a simple G-code program.
Each piece took about 4 minutes to be cutted on both sides plus 2 minutes for clamping an un-clamping.
My shelves are 9 hexagons so needed 54 pieces x 6 minutes each took almost 6 hours of cutting time on CNC.
The great advantage of cutting on CNC is that the angled sides are perfectly parallel each to other and also have a smooth finish, that only needed a light sanding.
In the pictures you can see the clamping setup, the V-bit, the angled sides before sanding and lots of saw dust.
Step 3: Sanding and Drilling Time
You need to sand all the faces of your wood pieces. Start with medium sanding paper and move on to fine sanding paper.
Drilling step is a little tricky. You need to drill at 60° anlges.
You can use a tilting table drill press or you can make a setup clamp to hold the wood at 60°
I've used this setup, because my drill press is too small to hold 16 x 10 in. pieces, so choosed to drill them on the CNC router.
Also, this setup helped me to hold the piece in the CNC router so I could make 3 holes on each piece, all in the same position for every piece.
In the video you can see the drilling program running. (I know... my hand should not be there. Better use clamps)
Notice the holes are only made on one of the two angled sides of each piece.
This holes must be a little larger than the screw so the screws can move freely through them.
After the holes are done, I've made pockets to hide the screw head into the wood. I've used a center drill, but you can use a thicker drill bit.
Step 4: Arrange the Pieces
Some of the wood pieces had knots or sides with lots of imperfections, so I had to arrange them with those sides to remain hidden when the full shelve is done.
I've done this by temporarily forming the hexagons and holding them with masking tape.
Then is time to drill the other side screw holes.
I couldn't find a way to hold the piece vertically to make this holes, so this is what i've done:
- Pick 2 pieces and hold them on its assembly position.
- Use the holes made on the las step as a guide to make a mark on the other piece for the next holes.
- Drill the holes using a drill bit a little thinner than the screws. Drill about 1" depth.
- Join both pieces with the screws. I didnt use any glue on this joints. This step is a lot easier with an electric screwdriver.
Repeat this steps until you have all your hexagons assembled.
You may need to sand a little the edges where the pieces meet each other.
Step 5: Join the Hexagons and Paint
The next step was an easy one.
You just have to arrange on the floor all the hexagons in the final position and drill 4 screw holes on the sides that connect to other hexagon.
Important to only make through holes on one of the pieces and partial holes on the other side.
In my shelve design, hexagons are separated 1/8" from each other, by 10 x 8" MDF pieces. This is optional.
The MDF boards are glued to the hexagons, and then drilled so the screws can pass trough.
Assemble al the hexagon on the floor and then pull up the entire shelve setup.
Next you can stain the wood or paint with any method you want. You can also stain the hexagons before joining them togheter.
I've used light gray alcohol wood stain to give only a light tone to the wood.
Also optional is the 90° angle steel support to hold the shelves to the wall. I had to put this because kids will always climb on shelves and this one is a very heavy shelve, so it's a simple and safe solution.
And that is how I've made it and my son is very happy storing his toys there :-)