Introduction: The Bat-shelf

About: Mad Scientist at large While this is rather difficult to explain, without sounding like a late night commercial, all I can say is that I'm just me. My on-line web comic. If you're interested in swords & sor…

Ok, so I have a lonely, boring corner on my desk at work.  It just NEEDS something to make it, and me, happy.  Plus, I spend way more time riding a desk now that I'd like.  And I could always use a little more storage space for my stuff.

Thus, the idea for the bat-shelf was born.

Step 1: Resources & Materials

one piece of 1" x 12" plank, 8 foot long
a scrape piece of 1" x 12" plank, 1 foot long
18 stainless steel screws
one piece of 1/2" quarter round
four finish nails

skill saw
jig saw
cordless drill / screwdriver
miscellaneous colored markers
2" paint brush
pre-stain treatment
red oak stain
clear coat

I decided that I wanted a 36" high shelf - with three shelves, but the difficultly here is that I need the shelves to be about 13" apart.  A mathematical conundrum!

Ok, so use ye old skill saw to cut the 8' piece into two 3' pieces (these are going to be the supports), and two 11&3/4" pieces (these will be shelves).  Then trim the scrap 1" x 12" piece to match the other two shelves.

Next whip out the jig saw to put a curve on the shelves.  This cut will be followed by the sander, to smooth the cuts into a pretty arc.

Step 2: Research & Artwork

Ok, so I wanted to combine a bunch of different elements from a bunch of different versions of the Batcave.  How to do that?  You guessed it - the internet.  First I research the trophy room aspect of it, along with playing cards, pennies, and T-rexs.  Then I searched for a good photo of the atomic pile from the Adam West era.  The I checked out the modern version of the garage, the batwing parking, and the armory.

After assembling my research, I pulled out my sketch book and did some doodles.  This was to get an idea of the layout for my shelving unit.  Once I had a semi-idea about it, I pulled out my Sharpies and got to work.

Step 3: Some Assembly Required

Ok, so everything is cut, marked, drawn, and colored - now it's time to assemble our Batcave.

While I do think using screws is just about the best thing to use for wood assembly, I also believe in drilling pilot holes.  So, I used a 3/32" drill bit and some 1 5/8" x 7 square drive exterior trim screws.  Three per side per shelf.

I clamped the first shelf in place and attached both supporting backs.  The I flipped it sideways, and attached the other shelves the same way.

I didn't photograph it, but I cut a piece of 1/2" quarter round and placed in the spine groove space.

Step 4:

Ok, now that we have the whole unit assembled, it's time to pre-stain, stain and finish the shelf, getting it ready for usage.

The most difficult part of the phase was getting Mother Nature to cooperate enough, with temperatures being high enough, for me to apply the pre-stain and stain.  I guess that's what I get for doing this in the middle of winter, right?

Since I'm using soft wood (ie, pine), a pre-stain is necessary  for mostly even absorption.  So pre-stain first (as per directions), and after it dries enough, apply the stain (per directions as well).

Step 5: Finishing the Bat Cave

Now, time to apply at least four coats of polyurethane - I like my shelves to be slick and durable.

I must apologize - I didn't take any photos during the month that I worked on this.  Due to temperature fluctuation, this part took a little while to finish.

And here is the finished Bat Cave, level by level.

Step 6: Post Script

One thing I wish I had done?  Used more colors.

I was afraid that the application of the stain would bleed-out or over-power the colors, so I didn't use that many.  The stain work did make the line work difficult to see, but the colors come through pretty well.

The moral of this story?  Don't be afraid to color the bejezzles out of your project.

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