Introduction: Floating Shelves You Haven't Seen Before!

It is fantastic how solid wood could be easily transformed into a very manageable and flexible material as I did with this scrap piece! More stunning is the fact - that all you need is only one cheap power tool and a bit of patience. This test piece was done to check the concept idea in general - does it works at all? Now I need to repeat that on a bigger scale with this 20mm thickness American walnut board. If all goes well - it should become a round-shaped floating shelf from a single board.


Walnut board

Wood glue

Osmo hardwax oil

Water in a spray bottle


Table saw

Palm router

V-shaped carving spiral router bit: link

Drill press or regular drill


Sanding paper and orbital sander

Ruler, square, pencil and other small bits and bobs that are usually found in every work area.

Step 1: The Idea

I started by cutting a small chamfer on the table saw to give a bit more detail to the board. 

Step 2: Meassurements

My plan is to start bending the board at 30cm from the end, so the very first cut mark was made there. After that, I made a repetitive 15 marks every 1.66 centimeters.

And yes, all that was done on both ends of the board.

Step 3: The Main Tool

Ok, let's talk about the main star of this technique. This is a V-shaped carving spiral router bit designed to be used on a CNC. It has 8 degrees taper and a tip of 0.5mm in diameter. This bit has a 6mm shank, so it fits perfectly into my palm router.

Step 4: The Magic Router Job

I lowered the bit to have approx. 1 millimeter from the bottom.

To get nice and parallel cuts - I used a square by clamping it in the proper place. This gave me solid and straight reference support along the cut. And yes, the process is quite repetitive - unclamping, eyeballing the right place, clamping square back, making a pass with the router - and starting all over at the next line.

Keep in mind, this carving bit wasn't designed to be used in this way as I’m doing. That‘s why I’m standing behind the router where I’m fully covered by the router housing. This is a nice safety feature - if something will go wrong and the bit will snap at 10 000 RPMs.

If you already worked with spiral router bits - you will know how awesome they are. They are cutting extremely well by leaving almost perfect surfaces.

Step 5: Smoothing the Ruffiness

As I’m using a V-shaped carving bit and made all the needed depth with a single pass - only a part of the dust was pulled out. Rest of them I had to vacuum out.

Some surface sanding was needed to remove small tier-outs.

Step 6: Bending the Wood

Now it flexes quite a lot - but I’m not confident yet to bend it at 180 degrees. To make wood even more manageable - I soften it by applying some water. 10 minutes later water did its job and I made the first attempt. I did it very slowly and was quite surprised how easily it bent - with minimal resistance and with not a single wood crack sound. Each cut closed just perfectly. 

I clamped it and left it to dry overnight.

Step 7: Adding Wood Glue

When the wood was dry again, unclamped and folded back for gluing. Once again - I was stoked that non a single wood crack sound was heard.

I used Titebond 3, because they had the longest assembly time of all my wood glues on the shelf. I guess the wood glue should spread along the whole cut by bending, but I did not want to gamble here, so I passed all cuts with a bamboo stick to spread the glue out. This ensures a perfect glue-up.

Step 8: Bending and Clamping for the Final Time

Added some glue before closing the gap and well clamped. Here I did take into account that the wood glue will give extra thickness in each cut - so I will need a bit of force to squeeze all excess out by bending the shelve in the needed form. A pair of clamps and a ratchet strap did the job perfectly.

Step 9: Cleaning Squeeze Outs

A good cleanup of all squeeze-outs with a wet rag - will save tons of sanding time later.

Step 10: Few Last Steps

24 hours later glue was fully cured and the shelve was ready for the few final steps.

First I gave a light sanding with 120 grit sandpaper. Later on, drilled a pair of holes for floating shelve mounting hardware.

Step 11: Appling Finish

And lastly applied a finish. I used Osmo hard wax oil which is my top favorite finish for quite a long time.

Step 12: Final Result

And this is it - the floating shelve from a single board. To be honest - I’m in loved with the result! 

It looks more like a pro woodworker job result, instead of a regular DIY guy who made it in his basement with a single power tool.

I am still stunned - by how all gaps are even and seamlessly closed. The fact that the outer surface has small bends representing marks - even makes it more unique and outstanding.

And that small chamber gives a nice detail too.

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