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Joining Two Long Thin Shelves Without Adding Bulk

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Forum topic by LoyalAppleGeek posted 10-18-2016 09:34 AM 638 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LoyalAppleGeek

122 posts in 362 days


10-18-2016 09:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question shelf shelves join long connect thin narrow wall support

Greetings and Salutations LumberJocks!

I seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a predicament here… I designed these long shelves to go above the entry to the hall. I built them in to sections with a support in the center, both for strength and because in a shop my size anything over 5’ is tricky to work on, to splitting it in half made things easier to move around. I just realized that because of what we’ll be desplaying (our large Christmas Village collection) placing the support in the center isn’t possible. I need to join these shelf sections in the center, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to do so without adding bulk. They have a low profile of 1”, half of which is the trim/I-beam support.

I was thinking perhaps floating tenons, but with these pieces being 4 feet long it’s difficult to work on the ends.

Thanks in advance for the help! I look forward to your responses 8>D


9 replies so far

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kryptix

43 posts in 58 days


#1 posted 10-18-2016 12:56 PM

If you can lose some length, half lap then. There might also be enough room to pocket hole the rails to each other on the face that doesn’t show? Maybe two dowels or metal rods epoxied in? Can’t tell how thick it is and how tricky hand drilling deep enough will be.

You might also consider a couple of butterfly keys on the shelf itself and make it a design feature…

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JBrow

819 posts in 387 days


#2 posted 10-18-2016 01:15 PM

LoyalAppleGeek,

Loose tenons, biscuits, dowels, or a spline would be sufficient to hold the two shelves together but I would worry about the strength of the joint. Those Christmas village pieces can get heavy and expensive to replace if the shelf fails.

Therefore after the ends of the shelves are glued together, I would be tempted to rout a recess in the I-beam lip; perhaps 6” to 9” long (in each shelf) and about ½” wide. Then an inlay that bridges the joint (12” to 18” long) could be added. The inlay will offer addition support resisting downward under-load flexing at the joint.

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LoyalAppleGeek

122 posts in 362 days


#3 posted 10-18-2016 07:33 PM

Kryptix: I considered both options, but I needed more surface area. These shelves are only 1” thick, so inserting any mechanical reinforcement may cause the shelf to crack it once it’s under load. I was thinking of finger joints, but I can’t afford to lose length. I like the idea of making the joint in an artistic manner. That’s where an idea came to mind.

JBrow: Your suggestion lines up well with what I was thinking. What I came up with was to make floating-finger-tenon-inlays… I’ll post a photo of the completed joint :-) I’ll insert 5-7 12” L x 1/2” W square rods into the plywood. You’re right, I’ve been testing the strength of everything as I go along, the entire village is made of 12 large scale limited edition hand painted vintage pieces, with accessories… I’m being VERY CAREFUL!

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shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#4 posted 10-18-2016 07:35 PM

Cut the trim pieces back a foot each side (or remove them), scarf the pieces 8:1 and glue, and replace the trim.
8:1 will give you the same strength as a continuous board.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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LoyalAppleGeek

122 posts in 362 days


#5 posted 10-19-2016 01:08 AM

I’m working on it right now 8>D

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LoyalAppleGeek

122 posts in 362 days


#6 posted 10-19-2016 03:30 AM

Alright, how should 8 12” floating tenon-finger-splines do?

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shipwright

7175 posts in 2265 days


#7 posted 10-19-2016 05:39 AM

Hey, that works too.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View RandyinFlorida's profile

RandyinFlorida

181 posts in 1535 days


#8 posted 10-19-2016 01:56 PM

I was going to suggest finger joints, say two inches deep… nothing says a finger joint has to be a corner.

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View LoyalAppleGeek's profile

LoyalAppleGeek

122 posts in 362 days


#9 posted 10-22-2016 03:40 PM

Alright, it worked out wonderfully! The shelves are up, and the Christmas Village is back up for the first time in almost a year. It stays up all year round, I can’t wait until the rest of the decorations come out. We’ve already had our first snow a couple weeks ago, it’s getting me all giddy and in the Christmas spirit :-)

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