Introduction: Viking Axe in Wall Floating Shelf

About: I am 37, I have a job that allows me to build and make daily. I love my job. I have 6 children, my oldest is also a maker and has written her own instructables. I own a computer repair shop, and I build a lot …

So I have had the idea for this shelf for a few weeks. Basically as soon as the shelf contest ended and I no longer had a chance at a sweet dewalt table saw, that is when I thought of it. LOL. That is usually the way it happens. Anyhow, there is a good woodworking contest going, so I will give that a shot. I originally wanted to make a floating shelf that looked like a sword stuck into a wall. But I also wanted it to be a functional shelf. I figured I could use another shelf for action figures, or pop figures or comic books or some other such geek thing.

I decided to go with an axe for two reasons, I wanted to be able to hit two studs in the wall to support the shelf, so the shelf needed to be over 16in wide. Also I figured that the axe would have a lot more surface area making it a more functional shelf. I wanted to see if I could make it sturdy enough to use the handle end as a coathanger for my lab coat, as I often where one when working in the shop.

So these are the steps that I took to create this shelf.

Step 1: Parts, Materials and Tools

Here is a list of the Parts, Materials, and Tools that I used to make this shelf.

Parts / Materials

1. 3/8in all Thread -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

2. 3/4in Plywood -- I used a piece I found in my scrap bin

3. 1in x 48in Wood Dowel Rod -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

4. Brown Flat Camo Krylon Paint -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

5. Chrome Glossy Mettalic Finnish Paint -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

6. Black Glossy Paint -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

7. Gray Primer Paint -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

8. Gold Spray Paint -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

9. Leather side Piece -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

10. Leather Super Sheen -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon


1. Dewalt 611 Router --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

2. Black and Decker Jig saw --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

3. Dewalt 4.5in Grinder --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

4. Dewalt Orbital Sander --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

5. Dewalt 20v Multitool --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

6. Dewalt 20v Drill --- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

7. Dewalt 20v Impact -- Here is a Link to it on Amazon

Step 2: Design

So in all honesty I tried to draw this out freehand on cardboard, then I tried using a compass. I could not draw something that did not look like it had been drawn by a monkey or my 2 year old. I could have just made that, then when people saw it I could say "my kid designed it", and they would say, "wow, that is really good, for a two year old". So I decided to try something else. I truly believe that those that are not gifted with artistic ability can find ways to compensate. So I drew it up in Corel Draw X7. Then I cut the design in several pieces on my laser, then taped the pieces together, and drew it on the plywood. Ha, more than one way to skin a cat (what???). The rest of the design came straight out of ma noggin. I wanted it to look like there were leather straps like holding the blade on the handle. So I put these to D shaped holes in there to run leather through. And of course once I already had a layer of paint on it I decided to put a Celtic cross on the blade, so I drew that up in a few minutes like a pro(more like traced an image from google search). Then crammed the whole axe into the laser and engraved the Celtic cross onto it.

As I was laying in bed one night I decided it would look cool to put a decal on the wall behind the shelf of a crack in the wall. I thought that this would be a good way to add depth to it.

I have included all of the files that I used to create this, including the Corel files, DXF files for the laser, and the cameo file for the sticker.

Step 3: Cutting Out Plywood

Once I had the cardboard stencel cutout, I just traced the the design onto the plywood. Then I used the jig saw to cut out the shelf, and went to work sanding it down to make it nice and smooth. One side of the plywood used to be painted so it took a little bit of doing to get it all sanded.

Step 4: Router Work

I used the router to put the ledge where the clear acrylic inserts will go. To do this I used a 1/2in rabbit bit. I also used the rabbit bit on the part where the handle will go. This made it thinner so the handle will slide on.

Step 5: Attaching the Handle

I used the router to start the groove in the handle so that the handle and the axe will fit together. I cleaned it up with a chisel and then used wood glue to attach the handle to the axe. This sat overnight and holds very well without anything else needed.

Step 6: Bondo

I wanted the transition from the axe to the handle to be a little smoother than it looked so I used a little bondo to fill in the cracks. This actually went really well considering. I think I am getting a little to used to using bondo. This was only one application so it went quick. The nice thing about bondo filler is it is ready to sand in 10 to 15 minutes. A little bit of sanding and it was a smooth transition just like I wanted.

Step 7: Some More Router Work

I decided to add some D shaped holes right below the handle so that I could wrap leather around it. I wanted it to look like the leather straps were helping to hold the handle onto the axe. I thought that would look cool. I used the router to make the holes and then used a rounding bit to clean up the edges.

Step 8: Paint

So now it is time to paint, I started by painting the whole thing with a grey primer. Once that was dry sanded it down a little and applied a coat of flat brown to the whole shelf.

Step 9: Engraving

Well it is a little late in the game to decide to do something like this but I wanted to put a design on the bottom of the axe that was cut off because part of the design is in "the wall". I found an image of a celtic cross that I thought would look natural on a viking axe and traced it in Corel Draw. I covered the bottom of the shelf with blue painters tape. Then I put the axe into the laser (not an easy thing to do). I put a piece of cardboard on top of it and turned the power on the laser down as far as I could so that it would mark the cardboard without burning through. That way I could use the cardboard as a test so I would know exactly where to place the axe in the laser. Once it looked like it was perfectly aligned I removed the cardboard and changed the settings so that it was engraving onto the sword. The laser burned away the painters tape and engraved the design into the shelf.

Step 10: More Paint, and Poly

Next I made sure to cover everything that I did not want to be gold and sprayed the celtic cross design gold. I waited a while to let the gold paint dry and then removed the blue painters tape. there were a few little spots where the gold had bled under the tape, in order to fix this I used a fine small brush and sprayed the flat brown onto some cardstock and then brushed the areas that needed fixed. I used a water-based polyurethane to seal the paint and make everything look shiny.

Step 11: Leather Embellishments

I took my leather patch that I got from amazon and used a straightedge and my #11 scalpel to cut the leather into thin strips. I used hot glue to attach one end of the glue, then wrapped the leather around the handle. Every couple turns around the handle I would pull it tight and then apply a dot of hot glue to the leather and then continue wrapping it around. Once the leather was wrapped all around I used something called "super sheen" that gave the leather a used look, it also made it darker, and all-around cooler.

Step 12: Hanging the Shelf

I looked all around instructables to try to figure out a good way of hanging a floating shelf like the one I am making. I found this one Instructable by User Pastormick that used the technique that I will employ for this shelf. I cut some 3/8in threaded rod to 7in lengths using a 4.5in cutting tool. then I Drilled a small (1/8in) hole to make sure that the stud is where it should be. Once I was sure that the stud was where it should be I drilled the hole out to 5/16in. Then I used my dewalt impact and 2 nuts tightened against each other to screw the threaded rod into the 5/16in hole. Once I was happy with the first rod I found the next stud over and did the same thing making sure that the two rods were level with each other and making sure to drill them in perfectly straight. Next I measured the distance between the two rods.

I then clamped the axe shelf to my bench and carefully drilled 3/8in holes into the shelf. If this is done right the next step is easy. just slide the shelf over the rods. The shelf is actually very sturdy. I stacked up books on it and it held them no problem.

Step 13: Vinyl Cracks and Acrylic Inserts

I wanted to add some vinyl cracks to the wall. I found some images on the internet and cut out the "cracks" on my silhouette cameo. I used painters tape instead of transfer tape because the trasfer tape is to sticky for stickers with narrow parts to it. Then I picked some nice areas and applied the vinyl crack stickers to the wall.

Next I took the paper off of the clear acrylic inserts and sat them in the cut outs where they were designed to go. They fit perfectly because I am a pro like that (luck, pure luck).

Step 14: All Done

This was a fun project to do, it did not take long. Only a few days working a few hours a day. It looks really good. Thanks you for taking the time to read my instructable.

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