How to Make a Shelf

Making and fitting a shelf is one of the simplest of home carpentry jobs. 6-in. by 1-in. prepared softwood (pine) is suitable for most shelves. If a single shelf is being made and hung a plank of 6-in. by 1-in. timber may be fitted to shelf-brackets with screws as illustrated in below right. Even simple shelves of this nature are best fitted with a low back. The backing shown in the ilustration is 2-in. by 1-in. softwood which is fitted firmly at the back of the shelf by means of 2-in. No. 8 screws driven through the underside.

The only preparation of the timber necessary is to take off the front corners of the shelf, and the top corners of the back, with a tenon-saw, finishing to a rounded smoothness with a wood rasp with the wood held firmly in a bench vice. A guide-line for defining the corner shape can be marked in pencil round the base of a tin-can of suitable size. The edges of the shelf may be left untouched or they may be given a lighter appearance by chamfering the edges. Chamfering consists of bevelling the edges of the wood as illustrated below right, and chamfering is done with a smoothing-plane, with the lengths of timber placed against a bench- stop or held in a vice. All the parts should be smoothed by rubbing down with grade medium-two glass-paper before assembling and attaching the brackets.

making a shelfThe shelf is then secured to the wall. This is done by placing the shelf in the required position and marking the position of the screws through the holes in the backs of the brackets with a pencil. The pencil marks are used to guide the point of a jumper or star chisel, used for drilling holes in walls before plugging them for screws.

The shelf is then screwed to the plugged wall, using round-headed screws of a size suited to the wall-plugs. Most shelves of this nature are erected in kitchens or larders, and the best finishing treatment is paint or enamel. Any bare knots should be coated with patent knotting, before priming the wood with pink priming paint or aluminium primer. Leave the priming coat to dry and rub down with grade medium-two glass-paper. Apply two undercoats before the finishing coat of hard gloss paint or enamel and rub down each coat before applying the next one. Any holes or cracks should be filled with putty or a patent powder filler, after applying the primer and before using the undercoats.

If it is necessary to erect a series of shelves it will be found best to screw the shelf-brackets to battens fastened securely to the wall with screws into plugs. The front edges of the battens should be chamfered and the backs of the shelves may be notched to fit over the battens, or they may rest against the front of them as illustrated above. The shelves should be screwed to the shelf-brackets before mounting them on the battens. With this type of shelf it is usually only necessary to fix one bracket at each end of the shelf at a distance of about 4 in. from the end. However, if the shelf is a long one it will be necessary to fix extra brackets and battens. An extra bracket should be added for every length over 3 ft. and parts of 3 ft. Shelves fitted into corners may be secured as illustrated above when short lengths of battens are used at the corner end of the shelves. The lower front corner of the battens of 2-in. by 1-in. softwood should be rounded as described above, and the edges chamfered before screwing in position.

20. July 2011 by admin
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