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We’ve had this shelf to hold prints and photos for a while. Although I like what it does, I’ve never liked how it looks.

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I built a bed a while back and one piece of the headboard left a large and somewhat awkwardly shaped off cut. It was maybe 5 feet long and shaped in a way that an end grain slice would be a skinny right triangle with the most acute angle blunted off. I would have had to lose about 50% of the material to make it back into a useful square/rectilinear piece of lumber. So instead I decided to make it into a floating shelf.

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I first jointed the long edges. This african mahogany can be a pain to plane due to the interlocking grain but these edged were cooperative.

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Here you can see the edge profile and a slot I ripped for prints to sit in.

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The face grain put up more of a fight against the plane so I used a random orbit sander to take out a few blemishes.

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I then beveled of the outward facing edges with a block plane.

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For finish I gave it a coat of teak oil followed by a few coats of wipe on poly.

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Here’s the best grain shot I managed to get.

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For hardware I found these. I forget what they’re called, but they’re half threaded as a wood screw and half threaded as a machine screw and they have no head. So to drive them in I used two nuts and a lock washer to make a temporary bolt head.

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I sank three of them into studs and then measured the distances between them.

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I setup a basic fence on my drill press and drilled holes in the shelf to match the distances.

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Lastly, I pressed the shelf onto the bolts. Keeping the holes tight to the bolts and a little bit of inaccuracy in transferring the hole distances help the shelf sit very snug and secure on the wall. I wasn’t sure how much support the bolts would provide. It will only ever hold a few prints, pictures and knick knacks, but when testing the strength it showed no signs of stress when filled with books.

It was a very simple project, but a big improvement over the previous version.