Introduction: The Hammer Shelf

About: Hey there! Ive got a BFA in designed objects from SAIC, i've worked in the high end fabrication shops, as an industrial designer, a shop manager, an assembler of hundreds of digital cameras, a cnc machinist, a…

Back in school my teacher gave our class a challenge to design an object that uses an iconic item it in a way that it wasn't originally wasn't intended for. For a few weeks I could not for the life of me figure out what to do for this project! Then one day as I was walking into a subway car, it hit me like a bolt of train! What if you use a claw hammer, and you know how it's usually hard to pull a nail out of board of wood? Could it hold up just enough weight to be useful?

Turns out it can hold up a lot! .


Since then I modified the design to use wall anchors and screws instead of nails, even though nails are conceptually better... I DIGRESS

Step 1: What You Need

Alright, everything you need is in this picture.

First it should be noted that you want to use hammers that have an equally angled claw! Additionally I'd recommend to get wooden handles, more on that later!

You will need:
-Hammers! More than one, and the longer your shelf, the more you should have.

-Screws, I'd suggest to get longer screws than the ones that are often paired with the anchors

-1/8th in drill bit

-Functioning Power drill

-Piece of wood that is flat, and is at least the same width as the length of the handle of the longest hammer you use

-Tape Measure



Step 2: Marking

Hold the board up to the wall and figure out the best placement, once satisfied use your pencil to leave what's known in the industry as a "mark" on the wall.

Step 3: Drawing a Level Line

Ideally I'd have a level with measurement markings on the top which would cut out a few steps, but my old roommate took his with him when he moved. So after establishing that your other roommates antique level is in fact level, use the level to make a straight line across the wall.

Step 4: How Big Is That Board Anyway

Oh hey look at that, its 36 inches give or take a bit.

Mark a line about 36ins away from that very first mark we made.

Hold your 27in level to the wall bridging the gap between the two lines while really wishing your roommate had left his 36in level with markings behind.

Step 5: Mapping Hole Locations

Mark out holes 3 inches out from the edges, and one in the center.

Step 6: Check for Studs!

If you find one, you won't need an anchor!

Step 7: Drilling and Screwing

It's probably not at all necessary, but hey I drilled a pilot hole, just in case my stud finder was lying to me, and to make the anchor going in happier.

Next use a self drilling anchor in the wall, and screw a screw in.

And repeat over the other marks you had made!

Step 8: Hang Up Your Hammers

You may have to adjust the screw a little bit to get them to stay up on their own.

Step 9: Screw Selection

As I mentioned before, go longer if possible. I ended up using 2 1/2" drywall screws based on the angle of the claws on the hammers.

Step 10: Sanity Screws!

You could just put the shelf up and call it a day, but if you are like me, you will constantly worry that the board will suddenly slip off the hammers in the middle of the night, and the ensuing ruckus will propel you very quickly out of slumberland and into a panicked state.

To avoid this, drill pilot holes in the wooden handles to put screws in, just make sure your drill bit and screws have enough stickout to go straight through the handle!

After you have screws in the handles, hang the hammers, and place the shelf on top of them. Once you are satisfied with the positioning of everything, press the stuck out portion of the screw into the wooden shelf. Take the assembly down and screw the handles into the board using the marks you just made.

Step 11: Final Leveling

Adjust the anchored screws until the board is level.

Step 12: Decorate!

Place your favorite things on your new shelf! look at you! Lovely shelf you have!

Please feel free to leave a comment, suggestion or ask questions!

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