floating wall shelf out of construction wood

After seeing this set of reclaimed wood shelves on our website, someone asked me to do for him a custom shelf as these ones. The difference was the size: instead of an almost square shelf, he wanted a small one having these dimensions: 32 cm long, 16 cm deep and as thin as possible. The final thickness needed was 4.5 cm. I could not make it thinner as I wouldn’t have been able to hide the wall hanging brackets.

Because the project involved reclaimed wood, it was enough to jump over the fence in my neighbor’s yard (I agreed with him to keep my wood scraps there until he moves in, I don’t steal from him …) and search in a pile of old wood something suitable for this project. I chose three shorter pieces of prop. At the time I purchased it, it was about 7 cm thick. Now, after a long air drying period, it is about 6.2 cm – 6.3 cm (the wood laid there for 5 years, so now it was completely dry).

the wood was originally used to build our house
The leftover wood from the construction of our house

I cleaned the concrete from the wood using the angle grinder set to it’s minimum speed. I took care to secure the props to the table, otherwise there would have been a risk to throw it in my face due to the rotation of the angle grinder. I’ve done another check, to be sure there are no other nails or screws stuck in there, because those are able to seriously chip the planer knives.

The prop was secured to the table to be cleaned of the concrete traces
I secured the prop on the table
I cleaned the wood with sandpaper attached to the angle grinder
The wood was cleaned with the angle grinder
I checked that the total width of the props is enough
Checking the total depth of the props used for our shelf

When I was sure that everything is OK (that there is nothing else but wood and the added width of all the pieces was enough to make the shelf), I planned them on the first two sides using the planer, taking care that the two sides of each of the props are perpendicular to each other. Then I finished planing the other two sides, using the thicknesser.

after cleaning, the wood was planed on two sides
Planing the first two sides of the props
I made the props the same thickness
I brought all the props at the same thickness

I have made a preliminary match of the boards, so that the wood was resistant enough, but still looking pretty aged. This was the focal point of this type of shelf. Then, with the planks arranged, I planned them until their thickness reached 5 cm.

I first decided to cut all the three props, so that the pattern remained as I previously arranged the props. But, after I cut the first two, I noticed that one of the remaining pieces was similar to the third prop, so I used the remaining piece, instead of cutting the third prop too.

The pattern of the shelf was chosen before cutting the props
Choosing the best pieces of wood
I chose sufficient pieces of wood for the floating shelf
Choosing the wood for the floating shelf

The next step was gluing the boards, which I didn’t explain, as you can see this in almost all of our projects.

I glued all the three boards to form the floating shelf
The panel was glued with polyurethane adhesive
The dry glue can be easily removed with a chisel
Cleaning the dried glue

After the glue hardened, I planed the panel once again, using the thicknesser machine. I did this to remove the differences from the glue up. So, I ended with a pine panel of approximately 50 cm long, that I shortened to the final length, of 32 cm. Since it was a pretty small piece, I was able to cut it using the table saw.

I flattened the panel using the thicknesser
I flattened the panel by passing it once more through the thicknesser
I used the table saw to bring the shelf to it's final width
I adjusted the size using the table saw

I then sanded everything, using the orbital sander for the faces and edges and the square vibration sander for beveling the edges. This way, the whole shelf got a much refined look.

the recycled pine wood floating shelf is ready for varnishing
The sanded shelf is ready for varnishing

I applied a pretty thick coat of primer. First of all, because the wood suffered a lot and it needed some extra strength. Second, because this way it dried slower, so the primer had enough time to penetrate the wood deeper and to highlight the color differences of the wood fiber.

the excess primer highlights the wood pattern
By applying a thick coat of primer I highlighted the wood fiber pattern

After a quick sanding with fine grit sandpaper (400 grit), I applied two thin layers of matte water based varnish. The two thin coats gave the panel enough protection without making it look like it is wrapped in plastic, as it would have looked in case i applied thicker coats.

I reached the final part of my build, when I had to install the hidden hooks that help secure the shelf to the wall without any visible screws. Usually, I buy the brackets from a diy store, but this time I couldn’t use such brackets, since they were larger than the thickness of the shelf. So I had to make special ones, made from a scrap piece of aluminum. Since they are not visible, the roughness did not matter too much, they just had to be sturdy enough to hold the shelf and anything that might be placed on it.

I cut the slots for the brackets using a hand chisel, after I traced the outline, taking care to place the wall brackets at equal distance from the ends of the panel. I made a deeper hole (1 cm deep) with a 15 mm forstner drill bit to make space for the screw head.

the slots were cut using a 12 mm chisel
I cut the slots for the brackets using a 12 mm hand chisel
the screw head fits in a deeper hole drilled with a forstner bit
I drilled a deeper hole to fit the screw head
4 cm long screws were used to fit the brackets
I screwed each of the brackets using two 4 cm long screws

In the end, I screwed the brackets on the shelf and everything was done.

traces of old screws and nails make the shelf look unique
A screw trace and a nail hole give this shelf it’s uniqueness
the edges of the shelf are beveled
The beveled edges and the corner of the shelf
the look of the recycled pine wood shelf
The recycled pine wood shelf
the brackets are hidden on the back of the shelf
The back of the shelf with the hidden installation brackets

Leave a Reply