Introduction: Floating Live Edge Playing Card Shelf

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Inspired by a magician friend who specialises in card tricks, I built this shelf. It will magically float on the wall, has space for a couple of packs of playing cards, and suit themed tea-light holders. Here's how I made it.

Watching the video, and reading these steps, should tell you all you need, but just ask any questions you might have in the comments section.

I'm entering the instructable into the 'Shelving' and 'Make it Glow' contests, so please vote if you like it :)

Step 1: Source Your Live Edge Plank

Well you may need to visit a timber mill for this, but I cut and seasoned mine from a tree in the back yard. Seasoning did take a couple of years, so you may wish to skip that yourself.

If you have a log to mill into planks then this old video of mine might give you an idea how to do it. The plank I used for this shelf is in that pile somewhere!

Step 2: Reference Face

Partly flatten the underside of the shelf. This creates a reference face for future operations - stable base for routing 'aces' and deck tray, and for boring tea light cavities, as well as aiding in mounting the finished shelf
You can create the flat surface with a hand plane, and you'll find I have videos on this on my YouTube channel, but in this instance I'm using my router planing jig (see video)
Should you wish to skip this step, then just be sure to securely support the shelf in future steps

Step 3: Rip Wall Edge

One straight flat edge makes mounting the shelf much easier, so since I have two live edges on mine, I used a simple jig with the table saw to remove one live edge
It would be easy to strike a straight line on the flattened face, and then rip the live edge off with a hand saw
Either way, a few passes with a hand plane will produce a straight finished edge

Step 4: Textured Cleanup

Having flattened part of just one face, and a single edge, the rest of the shelf is in need of some cleanup
To maintain the appearance of the chain sawn face and ends, and the remaining live edge, I'm using a rotary wire brush attachment in an electric drill
Remove all dirt and lose bark and wood
This will be the finished look, so take your time to get it right

Step 5: Template Routing

Clamp the reference face down to a bench, or to the rails in a workmate as I've done here
Now site a template of the 'aces' above where you want them. The template is simply a piece of 9mm mdf with the four suits cut out. This is clamped parallel to the reference face, using spacers, and provides a surface for the router to ride on

Step 6: Rout the Four 'Aces'

I cut my template slightly oversized, so that I could use a straight cutter and a guide bush on the router
Start with a small cutter and small guide bush, which will maintain as much edge detail as possible. Rout the outlines, before swapping to a larger cutter and guide bush to speed up removing the interior

Step 7: Rout a Tray for Decks

Make a rectangular template to guide the router as it cuts a flat tray for playing card decks

I made a 'letter-box' style template with lengths of thin mdf, and spacers to keep the router level as I worked, but a simple rectangular cutout is easier to clamp down

I just used a large straight cutter, and left the corners quite rounded - take the corners into consideration when you make your template, so that the decks will fit

Finish the bottom of the tray with a card scraper or sanding block

Step 8: Tea Light Cavities

Holes for the tea lights are bored using a 44mm forstener bit in a drill press. The reference face sits flat and stable on the drill press table, making the process very safe and easy
Bore the four holes to the depth of the tea lights

Step 9: Finish

The whole shelf was treated with tung oil, making sure to remove all exccess before it became tacky
This must thoroughly dry and cure before using tea lights, to avoid the finish catching fire
After a good buffing, the shelf is ready to mount. Normal shelf supports could be used, but I opted for three long poket holes, each receiving a long screw that is driven into the wall studds

Thanks for reading my instructable, I hope you enjoyed it

I'm entering the instructable into the 'Shelving' and 'Make it Glow' contests, so please vote if you like it :)

Cheers, Mitch

Make it Glow Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest 2016

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016