Leaning Wall Shelves

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Project by Cantil3v3r posted 10-28-2009 05:45 PM 12787 views 29 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So this one took me forever, simply because I started it forever ago and left it for a while. My wife wanted some of the Pottery Barn Studio Wall Shelves and there was no way I was going to pay $300 a piece. They also wouldn’t have fit in the area where she wanted them. I was able to build both shelves out of 2 pieces of 3/4” x 4’ x 8’ MDF sheets, confirmat screws, spackle, and paint for $100 instead of the PB price of $600. I did make them a little different though as I inset the shelves and vertical legs into each other by routing out half of each side at the appropriate angles and joined them together. As funny as it might be, I said I used spackle, well that was to fill the holes/heads of the confirmat screws, which is then easily sandable and paintable. I could have used wood putty but the spackle was handy, easily applied, quickly dried, and quickly and smoothly sanded. Overall I am pretty happy with them and my wife is really happy too. If anybody wants a picture of the jig I can try to post that up too. Enjoy!

Edit: I added a picture of the template so you can see how I made the half-lap joints between the vertical legs and the shelves. I would slide the shelf sides into the jig where I wanted them, (the fit is very snug so it didnt move and if it did then I would put a really thin shim in there to keep it still) Then using a large straight bit I hogged out half of the shelf side at the appropriate angle. I did set the two guides to 2 5/8” back from the line I was routing since that was my measurement from the edge of the router plate and the edge of the router bit. I just made sure I set the depth to 3/8” since it is 3/4” stock, and would crank out two at a time. You use the same template for the legs as well. Let me know if there are any questions.

Edit part II: I found the sketchup file so if you want me to send it to you then send me a personal message with your email and I’ll shoot it right over. Understand that it was a base for me to work from. I didn’t include in the sketchup the rounded part on the front of the shelves, and I didn’t integrate the lap joints into the sketchup drawing, but it does give all the measurements on the shelves and how far in on each you need to make the lap joints. Basically its a good starting point, and you can always ask me questions if you get stuck.

29 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#1 posted 10-28-2009 05:54 PM

Great job a super leaning shelf system

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View ejs's profile


8 posts in 3158 days

#2 posted 10-28-2009 06:01 PM

I like your design better with the inset legs. Gives it a cleaner, un-interrupted appearance.

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3215 days

#3 posted 10-28-2009 06:05 PM

Nice saving’s and good job. Best part is she is Happy and if your anything like me the get out of jail cards are to saved! smile.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View ToGoMan's profile


101 posts in 3270 days

#4 posted 10-28-2009 06:31 PM

Excellent! Now if you can convince those guys in Pisa to use these…

-- ToGoMan ------ "No ONE of us knows as much as ALL of us." (anon.) ----

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3811 days

#5 posted 10-28-2009 06:48 PM

Thanks for the post….well done.
This just hit the top of the to do list.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View Dudley's profile


742 posts in 3286 days

#6 posted 10-28-2009 07:29 PM

I like um. Very attractive. BZ

-- Dudley Young USN Retired. Sebastian, Fl.

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3221 days

#7 posted 10-28-2009 08:01 PM

Nothing like custom furniture. Looks like the perfect fit. Great job.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3194 days

#8 posted 10-28-2009 09:47 PM

Nice work, thanks for the post.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Cantil3v3r's profile


66 posts in 3203 days

#9 posted 10-28-2009 10:08 PM

Thanks for the comments guys, it was actually a pretty fun build. It wasn’t tricky by any means, I ended up just working most things out on Google Sketchup first to give me all of the measurements and once I cut the parts and laid out all those measurements I was able to go to town.

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3376 days

#10 posted 10-28-2009 10:43 PM

nice work

-- gagewestern

View dustyal's profile


1295 posts in 3501 days

#11 posted 10-28-2009 11:37 PM

Very nice shelving…

by the way… your shop looks too clean… are you sure you made these shelves there? ... LOL

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Cantil3v3r's profile


66 posts in 3203 days

#12 posted 10-29-2009 12:09 AM

dustyal –
nice one…yeah the ‘too clean’ look is something that needs to happen quite often since my wife’s car sleeps there at night. it gets plenty dirty during projects, but i promptly clean it up to keep things nice, and so i don’t track things in as well.

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 3163 days

#13 posted 10-29-2009 12:25 AM

Nice job. I have the same table as yours. My table top cracked in 3 places.
has yours cracked yet? how long have you had yours?
i think mine cracked because i left it in the truck in near zero weather overnight and took it inside the next morning and put it together right away should have left it in the box and let it warm up to room temp. then put the legs on in the afternoon? We kept it anyway we liked how it looked in our dinning room? Any way nice job.


View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3311 days

#14 posted 10-29-2009 04:21 AM

They fit the space perfectly and look great. Very nice build.

-- John @

View WillInTheMill's profile


54 posts in 3203 days

#15 posted 10-29-2009 02:26 PM

Great looking shelves! I’ve been thinking of building a similar set and adding a desk unit between the two, sorta like Crate & Barrel. It looks like the shelves touch the wall (vs. just the top of the “ladder”). Did you do that on purpose? Did you fasten the tops to the wall or put anti-skid pads on the bottom?

Please do post pictures of the jig if you don’t mind. I was going to use this design:

-- Will, Tampa, FL

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