suspended shelf (from above)

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Forum topic by MattEffinCameron posted 12-07-2016 07:21 PM 555 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 684 days

12-07-2016 07:21 PM


I am looking for some ideas around how best to suspend a shelf from above.

I have a large bracket made of 2×8s that is sticking out of a shoulder wall in our “bonus” room. The bracket is holding the TV and I also am planning to attach all media components to it. The bracket is about 32” wide and sticks out about 20 inches from the wall.

The main location for those components is to be a 7’ wide x ~ 16” deep shelf I am making from joining a few oak boards together. This shelf is to be suspended ~24” below the bracket so that below the bottom of the TV, there is space for a center channel speaker for the receiver as well as on either side for the receiver itself, blu-ray player, video game console etc.

I can envision a hundred different ways to suspend the shelf from the bracket but none of them are really “clicking” as being very elegant from an engineering or aesthetic standpoint. Was wondering if you all might have some suggestions to help get my thoughts more focused.

We are also creating a large built-in on the other side of the room which is painted, with a stained oak surface. I would likely follow the same with this media center with the shelf itself being stained oak and any supporting woodwork being painted. I only mention this because while I could make the supports/suspension system from the same oak, it certainly doesn’t need to be in case the flexibility in materials introduces more options for joining the shelf to the supports/suspnsion.

9 replies so far

View PaulHWood's profile


439 posts in 2401 days

#1 posted 12-07-2016 07:40 PM

picture is worth a thousand words.

-- -Paul, South Carolina Structural Engineer by trade, Crappy Woodworker by choice

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1150 posts in 2100 days

#2 posted 12-07-2016 08:08 PM

If I understand what you are trying to do, you might consider stainless steel cables. Check this place:

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4996 posts in 2499 days

#3 posted 12-07-2016 09:53 PM

Old chains look cool.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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10 posts in 684 days

#4 posted 12-08-2016 02:37 PM

here are a couple pics. The sides of the bracket will eventually be finished off to look decent and all the wires/junk will be hidden either inside/on the bracket or on the shelf I am adding.

Kazooman, it sounds like you did understand what I was trying to do. Cables might be an option. I dont have much of an industrial/modern look going on in the room at all (though a suspended shelf regardless of the suspension mechanism is pretty modern looking I suppose) but they could work. The only concern I had with using chains or cables was movement of the shelf. My goal is to have nothing on the floor, so using floor anchors for the cables/chains to provide tension and prevent movement would not be a desireable option.

Movement is probably not a big deal in reality….just my perception if it moves at all when you interact with the components sitting on the shelf or if you ever see it moving.

View Snipes's profile


191 posts in 2393 days

#5 posted 12-08-2016 03:00 PM

what’s the thickness of your shelf? I often use rebar into studs and into shelf, but your shelf needs to be thick enough. 16” might b a bit deep for that also.?

-- if it is to be it is up to me

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10 posts in 684 days

#6 posted 12-08-2016 03:05 PM

The shelf is about 3/4” thick…maybe slightly thicker. We started with 1” rough cut lumber that had been used to line the horse stalls in a barn and planed down the surfaces just enough.

I think what you are describing is a “floating shelf”. That was initially where I started with this idea, but because of how deep I want the shelf to be (to accommodate devices and hiding wiring behind it) and because I want to stick out far enough that the devices are close to flush with the TV…it just seemed like a big much to ask for a floating shelf.

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191 posts in 2393 days

#7 posted 12-08-2016 03:20 PM

Exactly what I was thinking, and your thoughts I think are spot on. At 7’ long, you would have to support in the center or at least in from the ends correct? And obviously you wouldn’t want it in front of tv. Maybe a fabricated metal end cap type bracket that had metal c channel across front to keep shelf from sagging. Or since your using barn lumber, big old style hinges welded in place to go underneath.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

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10 posts in 684 days

#8 posted 12-08-2016 04:51 PM

I was thinking that because these are 2 7’ long boards (not piecing together smaller board to get to 7’) and because they are pretty thick oak…that by supporting the shelf at 2 points, 30-32” apart in the center (bracket width) there would be no problem carrying the load of the ~2’ that will stick out on either side of the shelf’s support.

I just threw together the following picture which is probably worth a million words if the first picture I posted was worth a thouosand words :)

Figure 1 and 2 were kind of what I had in mind….then as I drew it, I thought of the fact that at some point I need to dress up the 2×8s as well so they dont looks so crappy from the side and it occured to me to maybe put a single panel with rails and stiles which would match the panels I am making for doors on the built-in on the other side of the room. The trick would be that such panels would need to be removable (without tools) or I would have no access to all the messy wiring and whatnot in the back….

So maybe the answer is to use steel cables as suggested earlier, or even long threaded rods, to provide the actual support and then a simple panel as I have illustrated in figure 3 to make it look nice?

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299 posts in 991 days

#9 posted 12-08-2016 04:59 PM

When I was a picture framer I used Surflon black nylon clad stranded stainless steel wire for picture frame wire. It was bound by small sleeves which were crimped in place (also black). Each line holds 210 pounds with a safety factor (I don’t know what the safety factor is but probably 2 x). So mount to the wall and add two of these lines in the corners. At about 4 foot distance the very thin black line visually disappears.

You can crimp this stuff using a electrical fitting crimper or just a very dull diagonal cutter.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

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