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Looking for input on designing solid wood floating shelves for an alcove...

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Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 05-05-2016 03:12 PM 830 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


05-05-2016 03:12 PM

Some friends of our bought a new house recently, and they’ve asked me to make them a set of floating shelves, along with a floating desktop, to fit in an alcove in the corner of their living room. I have a small stack of 4/4 white oak with no intended purpose, that I got for $0.80/bdft, so that’s what they’re getting.

For the desktop, the dimensions will be 48” wide, 22” deep, and 1.5” thick. Since this is at desktop level, I’m planning on making a 3/4” panel with a doubled up 1.5” front edge. I thinking about lagging some 1”x1” angle iron stock to the studs on either side of the alcove , and then putting the top on that, and screwing up into the top to hold it in place. The desktop will primarily just have a PC and a printer on it. I think it’s a pretty simple design, and should hold up just fine. The weight of the desktop would be about 20 pounds.

My question is in regards to the two floating shelves. Since they’ll be visible from the top (well, at least the lower one when standing), and the bottom, I’m having trouble picking a design. The shelves will hold mostly books, so they could have some weigh on them. What do you guys and gals think about this option :

Use an approach similar to the desktop, lagging angle iron stock to the studs. Laminate the oak to a 1.5” thick, 11”x48” shelf, and route a groove that will slide over the angle iron, so you don’t see it from below. The weight of the shelf would be the same as that of the desktop (20 lbs). With the angle iron mounted to the wall like an “L”, the shelf should slide over with about 1” of shelf thickness resting on top of it, which should be plenty strong.

Here is a lousy top-view of the alcove area, with the shelf in place :

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.


12 replies so far

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RVBoone

10 posts in 220 days


#1 posted 05-05-2016 04:02 PM

I did the same approach that you are talking about. I used 1/4 oak ply for top and bottom and 1/4 solid oak for front and sides. Built around pine square “U” made another pine square “U” with a center bracket and attached that to the wall. Sides over tight fit. Won’t take the weight that you would need but for wife’s vases it is fine. Beefing it up would work.

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#2 posted 05-05-2016 04:11 PM

Thanks for the input, Boone. I’d like to stick to solid oak, since I don’t want to (well, friends don’t want to) spend the money for a nice white oak ply that doesn’t look like ply. One of the things I have working to my advantage on this is the shelf can be anchored at the sides.

However, the more I think about it…at 11” deep, I’ll probably only hit 1 stud to attach to on either side, so there’s going to need to be some support coming from the back of the shelf, too.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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RVBoone

10 posts in 220 days


#3 posted 05-05-2016 04:22 PM

Understanding keeping it solid. Also on only hitting 1 stud just run 2 lags top and bottom and will prevent shifting.

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

188 posts in 376 days


#4 posted 05-05-2016 04:29 PM

Jimmy Diresta has a Tips Video that shows a variety of options for hanging floating shelves. The first one he demonstrates may work for your application. There are other ideas in the vid that also might work in combination considering that you may not be able to span two wall studs. Worth a look see, anyway.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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hairy

2384 posts in 3000 days


#5 posted 05-05-2016 04:39 PM

Maybe a heavy duty French cleat on the 2 sides in the corner?

These are not as big as what you are planning, but it is simple. I think the biggest lag bolts you could get in a stud wall is 1/2”.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#6 posted 05-05-2016 04:43 PM

Probably can’t do top and bottom, the shelf is only 1.5” thick. I can pick up 1/2” steel square tube, and cut sides and a back, weld the sides to the back, and bolt the whole thing in as one frame, then slide the shelf over it, would be about $12 per shelf for the steel.

I’m still hoping for someone to come in and tell me I’m totally overcomplicating this.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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jbay

819 posts in 367 days


#7 posted 05-05-2016 04:52 PM

Totally over-complicating this.

-- My “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly be wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct -- (A1Jim)

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#8 posted 05-05-2016 06:13 PM



Totally over-complicating this.

- jbay

Sorry, I should have added “and provide a functional, simple, quick, easy solution” to my comment.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2575 posts in 1724 days


#9 posted 05-05-2016 09:54 PM

Ed, there is no need to hit 2 studs on each side. Take a look at these=. They hold 40 or 50 pounds each IIRC. Put as many as you need in each side. I hung my 6” PVC dust collector from the ceiling with them 8 months ago and everything is still in place. HTH

-- Art

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#10 posted 05-06-2016 12:38 PM

Thanks, Art, those look pretty beefy. That may be a good option for where I don’t have anything to secure into.

I think, the next time I’m over there, I’m going to look at where the studs are on the sides. If I can hit one on the front half of the shelf, I should be able to put a support there, and then a support along the back, and it should be sturdy.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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Nubsnstubs

826 posts in 1197 days


#11 posted 05-06-2016 01:24 PM

Ed, if the wall you’re putting 11” shelves into is a 22+ inches deep alcove, you’ll probably not encounter any studs in the middle for them. You didn’t say what the actual inside front to back dim is but at 24”, most likely there isn’t a stud between back wall and front corner.

I would cut out the drywall at each shelf location. Install a 2X4 attached to the studs at the back and front corners with pocket screw type sockets, drilled holes ans screws, or just toenail it at each end. Patch, texture, and repaint the wall. Now you have wood to support the shelves. Problem solved. In order to insure my work will not fall or collapse, I do go to those extremes to get the job done.

I worked maintenance for a medical organization back in the ‘90’s, and at one time my job was going to the 5 medical centers I was responsible for and remove all those Ez Anchors and put in it’s place Plastic Toggle Anchors. The EZ anchors were already pulling out in less than two years. The PTA were still holding at 4 years before the medical facilities closed….......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#12 posted 05-06-2016 02:00 PM

I think I will probably find a stud…the location of this alcove is formed by an exterior wall on one side, and an interior wall on the other side, it isn’t just sitting in the middle of a long span of wall, both sides are structural members.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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