Hello Fellow Wood enthusiasts! Can someone Tell me that this is a good idea


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Karim Sleiman

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20 Mar 2023
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A dear friend has asked me for 6 Floating shelves 3 from black walnut and 3 from European oak she wants them to be from solid wood as thin as possible and to have the cathedral look rather than the rift or quarter sawn look. so.. I'm looking at Flat sawn wood size is 450mil in length by 150mil inches width as for thickness 20mm. Given that ill do all the necessary steps to prevent warping by milling both sides equally, letting the wood acclimate. my question is would adding a batten or a cleat to the underside of the wood be a good idea to prevent warping? even if its just one piece of wood. I have attached a picture for batten reference. i have read that usually you screw the middle of the batten without expansion slots and for the rest of the screws you should make a elongated slot for expansion and contraction. Since it will be a floating shelf hung with invisible floating shelf brackets How can i direct the movement away from the wall, Can i screw the batten without the expansion slot at the wall side and the 2 other screws will have expansion slots? i hope this makes sense! A pic for reference is attached.


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I'd seriously condider ply and veneering over a hardwood front lip. You can also buy ready veneered MDF and chipboard in oak and walnut though you'd have to buy a full sheet and still lip the edges.
Absolutely, Engineered wood would be a safe option, Although she's really keen on solid wood.
The batten as suggested would resist any cupping and no reason why not to fix rigitd at the back and allow the rest to be slot screwed. The front of the cross battens may look a bit chunky and out of place with the clean line of a floating shelf but you could reduce this by chamfering the front. Alternative approach could be to drill say 12mm holes from the back almost all the way through the depth and insert steel rods unglued which would act in the same way as battens
Through and through sawn wood giving a Cathedral grain will always warp. You could bring it into the house for a month and then machine it but I would still expect some warping afterwards. Quarter sawn wood is far more stable if you can find it. Cleats will probably not prevent warping. With a 20 mm thickness the screws will probably just pull out.
As in the above posts you would save yourself major hassle by using a pre-veneered 18 mm panel although there will be a lot of wastage ( for the nexr project ? ) Real wood veneered panels look very realistic and I doubt if your client would tell it apart from the real stuff.
There was a good post on here last week about using hidden shelf brackets and it's worth a look.
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Thanks for the reply Hornbeam,Recipio. I guess all in all its a hard guarantee to stay flat even with all the necessary steps. ill push for veneered plywood and or mdf. Thanks guys
Thanks for the reply Hornbeam,Recipio. I guess all in all its a hard guarantee to stay flat even with all the necessary steps. ill push for veneered plywood and or mdf. Thanks guys
Best plan

It happened to me a number of years ago when I was fitting a kitchen my customer asked if I could make up 5 floating shelves in oak, I just said can do but absolutely no guarantee when they warp so she agreed to veneered ply. I just lipped them with 10mm thick oak ran the trim router along and blended the lipping to the veneer. It looks solid. I also did some mahogany shelves for another job, doubled up to 36mm approx as she wanted them chunky and I routed out the edges leaving the veneer and inserted the lipping then shaped it. From memory I only cut out 5 or 6 mm but it worked very well indeed. Can't afford to slip with the router however. :oops: I suppose it could be done on a router table or tablesaw easier or even a hand router plane with care.
Routing the edges leaving the veneer Thats a neat trick! Same boat i guess veneered ply is the way to go. Glad to hear your client was happy with the outcome Thanks Lons.

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