Intro: DIY Modern Shelf
A DIY Modern style shelf is a great way to create a functional shelf with a minimalistic style that will complement any modern looking room!
This simple project will require some welding skills, but the great thing about it is that all of the welds are ground back so don't worry if you are a beginner at welding! Your welds wont be seen!
The wooden shelves are designed with slots, and are to be floating on the bent steel frames. One thing to keep in mind is that you want your spacing of the two hairpin mounts to be in line with your wall studs! This shelf was designed to nail to the studs with minimal visible mounting at 32".
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Step 1: Bending the Rod
I started by cutting a jig on the band saw with two different radii that I wanted to try out for the bending radius.
I found that a tighter radius looked better and was easier to bend than a larger one.
I put the steel rod and the jig in a vice, and when clamped down the steel embedded a slot into the wood jig that held the rod centered during the bending process.
You will most likely have to use a pipe or wrench to get the bent radius you are looking for, but I also was able to bend this 3/8" steel by hand.
You can use heat as well, but the rod was thin enough I did not have much trouble doing it by hand.
Step 2: Welding the Seams
So the 4 foot piece of rod that I bought from the orange store wasn't long enough for the whole pattern I wanted on the wall mounts. I had to scab in another piece that the bent and fit to the same radius in the corners of both mounts.
Before welding, it is best to clean up the metal on a wire wheel and also put a chamfer on the end with a grinder. This way there will be more space (and thus surface area) to weld to, creating more strength. I broke a few off before I got a good weld penetration setting dialed in on my mig welder.
Step 3: Welding Some More...
I used my Jimmy Diresta inspired Porta-band holder to cut the excess rod down to length, and then fully welding all the way around the rod connection point.
If you cant weld, or dont have access to a welder, you could also make a sleeve and crimp the ends together, this will leave a small metal sleeve but it is an easy solution that most people will have tools for.
On my Lincoln Electric Mig Welder, I had the setting on D and 2.8 feed rate on 110 volts.
Step 4: Cleaning Up the Welds
Since I wanted to have a clean look, I cleaned up the welding slag and excess weld with a flap disc on a grinder.
Just be careful not to grind off too much! You want to match the profile of the 3/8" rod!
Then I grabbed some more 3/8" rod and started to cut out the cross pieces to match the width of the mountable range, which was around 10" to support a 8" wooden shelf.
Step 5: Welding the Supports and Mounting Ring
The center support were then centered in the side mount which had an overall height of around 28". I welded these on and then just cleaned up the welds with a wire wheel.
The mounting for this shelf is supposed to be hidden. What I did was found a small washer and held it with a pair of needle nose pliers while welding it onto the back on the wall mount. I kept it low enough from the top to be hidden, but also high enough so that I could fit a nail inside of it when mounting to the wall without the shelf being pushed out from the wall.
The goal here was to keep the back length of the wall mounts to sit flush on the wall after being hung on the nail.
Step 6: Finishing the Metal
To finish the metal I just simple cleaned all of the weld spatter (since I was using flux core welding wire) with a wire wheel on both my bench and angle grinder.
I then wiped it down with acetone and hung it on a ladder for painting. This technique allows you to paint the entire mounts without have to touch them or flip them over. I hung the mount through there mount hole with wire and then just used some gloss black spray paint and did 2 coats.
Step 7: Building the Wooden Shelves
The wooden shelves were make from 1x6" Pine which is available from your local home store. I wanted to make the shelf 8" wide so I ripped two lengths down to 4" wide each.
For a light duty shelf such as this, glue is sufficient to keep the two halves together under the weight applied.
I ran one edge of each board down on my jointer to give myself a flat surface to glue to, and then cut them to length on the chop saw.
Step 8: Glue Up and Flatten
I glued up the shelves on my pipe clamps and added a caul to the middle of the boards to keep them flat while gluing.
This trick prevents the middle of the boards from rising up when applying pressure from the clamps on each side. Though admittedly, some warpage did occur.
Because nothing it perfect after a glue up, I flattened the shelves in my thickness planer to get them to be consistent. The final thickness was around 3/4".
Step 9: Cutting the Slots
The slots on these shelves are to sit on top of the 3/8" rod on the wall mounts.
I first cut the boards down to the same length on the table saw, and then did a test piece to figure out which width of the slot would work best. Once I got a tight fit that I was happy with, I transferred this width to the main shelf boards with a set of Vernier Calipers as a scribe.
It is also important to make these slots at the width of the studs behind the wall you will be mounting. I do not recommend trying to put a shelf of this size into the drywall only. For my length I centered the slots at 32" apart.
Lastly I just finished with some sanding and applied white paint to the shelves.
Step 10: Fin
And here it is! The finished product!
I really like how this shelf turned out, it fits the color and mood of the room very nicely and has a simple, modern looks to it. The steel and wood and the colors contrast in a very defining way.
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