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How to attach this shelf set to wall?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 04-08-2015 03:23 PM 1328 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


04-08-2015 03:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry walnut shelf mounting

I’m building a set of wall shelves consisting of a vertical walnut support with three cherry shelves notched into it. The vertical support is roughly 2” x 4” x 36”, and each shelf will be roughly .75” x 5.5” x 20-30”. The layout will look similar to this, but with only three wider, slightly staggered shelves notched to fit flush with the back of the vertical support:

Or like this, but with a straight board for the center support:

Hopefully you get the idea.

For mounting this to the wall, my first thought was to route a stopped dado up the back of the vertical support – say, 1.5” wide by .75” deep – and mount a matching vertically-oriented cleat on the wall. I’d stop the dado about an inch from the top of the support and either bevel it by 45 degrees to mate with a similar bevel at the top of the cleat, basically making it a tall, narrow French cleat (I could also just put a screw through the top of the support into the cleat, since it won’t be visible).

For additional support, I could drill out 3/4” holes in the vertical support and fix mating 3/4” dowels into the cleat – this would work fine with a screw through the top, but with a French cleat I’d probably have to elongate the holes somewhat to allow the vertical support to slide down onto the cleat bevel.

The main issue with this mounting system (aside from the hassle and waste of cutting that dado) is that it doesn’t support the shelves at all, since they will just be notched and glued into the vertical support. Plus, the center support really should be mounted directly to a stud which will limit placement options. So I’m wondering, is there a better/easier/more standard way to mount this type of shelf set?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


15 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 697 days


#1 posted 04-08-2015 03:40 PM

the first pic probably has a 2X4 bolted to the wall and the shelves are attached to the box, the box is then nailed to the 2X4.

The second pic probably has a similar design on the bottom shelf and up high over the top shelf a screw through the curved piece.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2147 posts in 1639 days


#2 posted 04-08-2015 03:42 PM

I think the modified french cleat would work very well. Made long enough it would provide plenty of lateral support for the selves. I don’t think you would need additional support.
There is some flush mount hardware available. I think the elongated french cleat is much stronger.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 952 days


#3 posted 04-08-2015 03:51 PM

I’d use a keyhole router bit.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

435 posts in 1425 days


#4 posted 04-08-2015 04:03 PM

SirIrb is probably right.

I would use sheetrock anchors to you have free placement. The metal screw in type hold 50 lbs easily so you only need 1 on each support to handle everything you described. 2 each would be better if you don’t mind the hole in the wall later.

I would counter sync the screw behind the top and bottom shelf so when the shelf is in place, the screw is not seen.

That might be sideways from the photo. I the idea, might build this is my daughter’s room this weekend.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

7179 posts in 2043 days


#5 posted 04-08-2015 04:09 PM

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=72514&cat=51&ap=1

Lee Valley has some new ideas for fastening items to the wall, maybe these
drywall nuts could be of use?

Blind shelf supports from Lee Valley spring to mind as well:

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1836 days


#6 posted 04-08-2015 04:21 PM

I would also suggest mounting something to the wall, then screwing your shelf system to it. If you do a French cleat, you’re going to have to design it such that it won’t rotate off itself were you to load up shelves unevenly.

If you made it so the vertical piece fit tight over the 2×4 on the wall, you could drive a screw from the top and bottom to keep it from sliding off.

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

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#7 posted 04-08-2015 04:23 PM

I’m definitely comfortable using toggle bolts or other anchors to hold the piece if a stud isn’t available. I suppose my main question is whether I should have a cleat or something supporting the shelves where they sit on the wall, or whether I can just rely on notching and gluing them to the vertical support and have the entire piece mounted on a single vertically-oriented cleat that mates with the center support.

If I understand your general consensus accurately, it sounds like the shelves should be fine and I can just hang the piece on a long vertical cleat screwed to the wall. Correct?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1836 days


#8 posted 04-08-2015 04:27 PM

If the shelves fit tight into the dados, and you make the dado depth sufficient, I don’t think it should be a problem. Are these shelves for knick-knacks, or something heavier like books? I would probably glue the shelves into the dadoes, and put 2 screws in from the back to keep it clamped tight while it glues. Also, if the glue were to fail, the screws might save the shelf from falling off.

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

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

435 posts in 1425 days


#9 posted 04-08-2015 04:28 PM

If you use a cleat, you will lose depth for the dado shelf mounts. If you screw into a quality anchor, you fill not need anything else. I have hung a lot of large and heavier things to walls with a good anchor. You just need to be able to hide it which you dado pocket do perfectly.

I would make the dado deep enough that with a little glue, the shelves will not need any other support. Physics is your friend on that project.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#10 posted 04-08-2015 04:36 PM



I would also suggest mounting something to the wall, then screwing your shelf system to it. If you do a French cleat, you re going to have to design it such that it won t rotate off itself were you to load up shelves unevenly.

If you made it so the vertical piece fit tight over the 2×4 on the wall, you could drive a screw from the top and bottom to keep it from sliding off.

- BinghamtonEd

I’m talking about something like the 2×4 mounting system in that first picture I posted, but instead of screwing through the top of the vertical support into the cleat I’d just bevel the top of the cleat to mate with a bevel at the top of the dado running up the back of the vertical support. So, the beveled cleat would serve the same function as a screw driven through the top.

It’s times like this that I really wish I had any CAD skills. Here, a picture really would be worth… maybe not a thousand but a few hundred words or so.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#11 posted 04-08-2015 04:38 PM



If you use a cleat, you will lose depth for the dado shelf mounts. If you screw into a quality anchor, you fill not need anything else. I have hung a lot of large and heavier things to walls with a good anchor. You just need to be able to hide it which you dado pocket do perfectly.

I would make the dado deep enough that with a little glue, the shelves will not need any other support. Physics is your friend on that project.

- BroncoBrian

Again I wish I had some CAD skills. As noted above, I’m not talking about using horizontal cleats. Just a single vertical cleat that gets screwed to the wall and fits into a dado in the VERTICAL workpiece support – with nothing supporting the shelves.

So, it’s now sounding like I should have something supporting the shelves, in addition to the vertical cleat?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1836 days


#12 posted 04-08-2015 04:41 PM


I m talking about something like the 2×4 mounting system in that first picture I posted, but instead of screwing through the top of the vertical support into the cleat I d just bevel the top of the cleat to mate with a bevel at the top of the dado running up the back of the vertical support. So, the beveled cleat would serve the same function as a screw driven through the top.

- ADHDan

Now I can picture what you’re saying. I think that’d work fine. So long as your vertical cleat fits tight in the groove of your shelf system, it should resist any reasonable rotational forces from loading one side more.

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

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#13 posted 04-08-2015 04:45 PM


I m talking about something like the 2×4 mounting system in that first picture I posted, but instead of screwing through the top of the vertical support into the cleat I d just bevel the top of the cleat to mate with a bevel at the top of the dado running up the back of the vertical support. So, the beveled cleat would serve the same function as a screw driven through the top.

- ADHDan

Now I can picture what you re saying. I think that d work fine. So long as your vertical cleat fits tight in the groove of your shelf system, it should resist any reasonable rotational forces from loading one side more.

- BinghamtonEd

I am somewhat astonished that you were able to grok what I was getting at despite my messy word-salad description. So, with that approach you think the shelves will be adequately supported just by being tightly notched and glued into the vertical support?

In all likelihood they will be used to hold things like photos, not books, so they should be fine. But if there’s a concern I wouldn’t be averse to putting triangular wooden brackets under the shelves running back to the vertical support (i.e., distributing weight towards the center support rather than the wall).

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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waho6o9

7179 posts in 2043 days


#14 posted 04-08-2015 04:49 PM

Corbels would work as well.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#15 posted 04-22-2015 01:30 PM

All set – the French cleat idea worked perfectly: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/147506.

Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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