Introduction: Floating Shelves

After building my reclaimed timber deck, I discovered that I am terrible at estimating quantities and had a large pile of very nice decking timber left over. I started to use some of it up by reframing all of the paintings in the house, but we don't have that much art and theres still a huge pile left over. The answer: put up floating shelves all over the house to rest the art on!

The basic idea is quite simple: attach a simple frame to the wall and then clad it in the leftover decking.

I have tried to keep the rustic vibe because it hides all manner of evils and you don't have to worry too much about getting a perfect fit or finish.

Materials and tools:

Recycled wood - select the straightest pieces you can, but if there are any warped pieces that you have to use, they can be flattened out by planing it flat (you could also try steaming, which has never been that successful for me, or you could use a DeWalt DW735x 13'' 2-Speed Planer/thicknesser, which I don't have...yet! <please?>)

Structural pine (try to get the thickness so that you can put a plank of your recycled timber above and below so the total thickness is the same as the width of your recycled timber)






Drill and bits

Spirit level to sure everything is level

Hinges and latch

Step 1: Frame

The first step is to set up the internal frame. This involves attaching a piece of structural pine to the wall. If you have a timber frame house, you will need to screw into the wall studs. Otherwise, just use whatever method is appropriate for your type of wall.

*Remember to take into account the thickness of your cladding timber on both sides when cutting your frame to size*

Next is to extend the frame out as far as you want the shelf to go. In my case, I wanted it to be two planks wide. Cut the pieces to the required length, minus the width of the main frame piece.

I've attached the width pieces using metal angle brackets, but you can screw them on the the main piece from behind (before attaching it to wall of course) if your stud placement allows for it.

Step 2: Cladding

Now that the frame is up is its time to wrap it in some pretty wood. The idea is pretty simple - you just glue and nail the wood to the frame.

The top and bottom pieces are the easiest - just hold them in place on the frame, mark with a pencil and cut to size.

The end pieces are cut at a 45° angle so that the whole thing is wrapped with mitred corners. To do this, rest the wood against the end and mark it on the inside edge then cut the angle from there.

Glue, nail and clamp all the pieces in place and let them dry.

Step 3: Front Panel / Hidden Compartment

The front piece can simply be cut to size and stuck in place, but it's much cooler to attach it with hinges and have a hidden compartment!

Cut the front piece to match what you've already attached to the wall - it's recycled timber and there will always be slight inconsistencies, so it's best to measure against the assembled pieces.

After you are sure the front panel fits, mark out the hinges on the inside surface and use a chisel to rebate it.

Screw the hinges on (don't forget to drill some pilot holes - old hard wood will split and/or snap screws!).

Line the front panel up again and mark out the position of the hinges on the shelf.

As before, rebate, drill pilot holes and screw it all in.

If your secret panel opens upwards, you can rely on gravity to keep it down, but if it swings downwards, you really should install a latch of some sort. I used a simple magnetic latch that just screws in place.

That's pretty much it. You can clean up the corners and adjust the alignment with chisels and sand paper and you can finish it off with oil or varnish depending on how you want the finish to come off.

Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016