Floating shelf question

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Doug71

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I'm looking at doing a few floating shelves, it's something I haven't done much of before. The shelves are in alcoves so can have support at the ends it just doesn't want to be seen. The longest will be about 1.6m long and probably 250mm deep. They don't want to be too thick, maybe 40mm and will be painted.

Apart from the movement of natural timber does anyone see a problem with screwing something like a 20mm x 20mm batten to the back wall and side walls, taking an equivalent groove out of the back and ends of a piece of Tulipwood and just sliding it on? Obviously stopping the grooves short of the front and I realise potential problems if the alcove is wider at the back. I could offset the groove in the shelf so it leaves a bit more meat above the batten if you know what I mean.

I'm worried MDF ones would have to be quite chunky to span 1.6m and I don't really want to be using drilling threaded bar into the walls methods either.

Anybody do them this way or got any thoughts on it?

Thanks, Doug
 

Ollie78

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Done a few of these, the last in Maple.

They were in a very deep alcove and had to support a bunch of weight. I put appropriately sized battons around the back and sides of the alcove with some extra timbers accross the width as well, just half lapped them in with a screw as they would be unseen.
Then I made up the tops and bottoms of the shelves from veneered mdf and made sure they would all fit in, next I cut the fronts from solid maple with a rebate for the mdf thickness so it would all be smooth once assembled and glued the maple on. Once dried, I slid the shelves in place and put a couple of tiny floorboard screws in the back edges underneath. Worked well but a bit of a pain.
Shelves 50mm thick 9mm veneered mdf top 6mm bottoms.

Ollie
 

DBT85

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If its suported along the back and both ends, with perhaps some real tree meat in near the front, MDF should be fine? That or decent ply. At least they won't shrink.

I'd like to make some floating shelves in an alcove but sadly my house is bereft of one key ingredient.

I used floating shelf pins for mine and used them with 22mm MDF thick material.

These pins are clever - the screw thread is off centre to the pin, which allows you to rotate it to centre it in the shelf hole ;)

Are you suggesting Bob that when you drill into your walls, unknowing whether you're going to hit mortar, clay or a random stone, that your holes are not exactly where you wanted them to be? Heavens above!

I've thought about using those for when I do mine. but that would only be for true floaters, not alcove ones.
 

scholar

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I'm looking at doing a few floating shelves, it's something I haven't done much of before. The shelves are in alcoves so can have support at the ends it just doesn't want to be seen. The longest will be about 1.6m long and probably 250mm deep. They don't want to be too thick, maybe 40mm and will be painted.

Apart from the movement of natural timber does anyone see a problem with screwing something like a 20mm x 20mm batten to the back wall and side walls, taking an equivalent groove out of the back and ends of a piece of Tulipwood and just sliding it on? Obviously stopping the grooves short of the front and I realise potential problems if the alcove is wider at the back. I could offset the groove in the shelf so it leaves a bit more meat above the batten if you know what I mean.

I'm worried MDF ones would have to be quite chunky to span 1.6m and I don't really want to be using drilling threaded bar into the walls methods either.

Anybody do them this way or got any thoughts on it?

Thanks, Doug

I have done basically what you describe, on some smaller shelves in my case, but it is a sound technique.

in this case, my shelves were made from a glued sandwich of birch ply top and bottom faces and a framework core of battens, with some front lipping, all painted. This gives a really strong sag-free structure (basically a torsion box).

I always template recesses with some strips of 6mm mdf individually scribed to the three sides and made into a frame with some hot-glued bracing pieces - this template then tests whether the shelf will slide in satisfactorily and also acts as a routing template for the actual shelf.

As you have mentioned, it is a bit problematic if the rear is wider - I got round that in one case by cutting the shelf narrower than the recess towards the rear and making some very small tapered infill pieces - the front remains tight so they don’t show! (The tapered infill pieces are of course only the thickness of what is above and below the supporting batten.)

cheers
 

scholar

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…I've thought about using those for when I do mine. but that would only be for true floaters, not alcove ones.

I agree not for alcove shelves. Hafele sell a range of them - I have used these for various load-bearing shelves and they are really very good - strong and easy to adjust the level etc.


Cheers
 

baldkev

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Ive used the hafele ones a few times, they are good.
Ive used brackets which were 'adjustable ' and had to have a large block recessed into the shelf ( they were rubbish )
Ive done threaded bar for shelves and stair treads, i like it. Obviously you have to be accurate and the resin fill needs practice to guage the right amounts, but its good. Important to blow the holes out after drilling and to twist the threaded bar around as it goes into the resin within the drill hole to encourage the resin to coat all around the rod and the excess to work its way forward.
Ive also done the perimeter batten recessed into the shelf. In fact, on one job, we used a plywood firedoor blank and cut the 2 shelves from that. They were about 1500mm wide, 300 deep, when slotted in place they were suprisingly strong.

Edit for spelling
 
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