Popular Post Chestnut Posted January 4 Popular Post Report Share Posted January 4 A friend of mine asked me to make him some floating shelves for a kitchen remodel he's working on. He has his own wood shop and is capable but just didn't have the time. We ran over dimensions and materials. I gave him a guess on cost and got started. The way i am building these is probably harder than it needs to be but I wanted to make the shelves light weight as they'd be floating. I didn't want to show up to install them and have the front edge sagging because the 8' x12" x 2.5" thick shelf weighed 100 lbs. I also wanted to make them out of thin veneer to keep costs down and help with potential wood movement issues. So the main structure of the shelf is 1/2" ply. I'll have a top skin and bottom skin. The shelf will mount to the wall using a shop made floating shelf bracket that will fit into a "mortise" along the entire back of the shelf. Because I only had 1" thick material and wanted to the end shelf thickness to be 2.25-2.5" I added some 1/4" plywood in targeted places. This might make sense later and there is probably an easier way to do this but this is the method I decided. I used my new vacuum back and pump setup to do this as I had to try it out. Once that was setup I needed to make the core of the shelf. For this I used some aromatic cedar. It's been sitting around my shop for a long time and I don't have a planned use for it. I get it through a bulk lumber buy on Craig's list and it was for all intents and purposes free as the money i paid was fair for the lumber and racking I wanted. With my planned design for the wall cleat I needed to wrap the cedar in 1/4" plywood to make the thickness consistent. The cedar and wall cleat material were all milled together to ensure they were the same thickness. This makes the mortise to mount the floating shelf. Again vacuum bag to accomplish this. Pretty sure the design was subconsciously decided on so i could maximize the use of the vacuum bag. With the shelf material made and the core material complete tit was as simple as connected the top and bottom structure with the core material. I cut the core material at 1.25" wide to keep weight down so the center of the self is essentially hollow. To keep all the parts from sliding around i put a few brad nails to hold everything together before sliding into the vacuum bag. Here is a picture of what the layers of the shelf looks like. With the core structure complete the final steps are to wrap everything in shop sawn walnut veneer. I was shooting for 1/8" veneer so when i run an 1/8" round over on all edges the glue lines should be disguised a bit better. With the 4/4 material I had on hand I was able to get 4 slices per board leaving room to sand down to 1/8". This will also allow me to paint with grain a bit. Beings that the "client" is a woodworker himself he'll appreciate the effort i took here. Above is the bookmatched upper and lower faces. The show faces will be 2 pieces to get the total 12" width. The hide faces will be the pieces pictured below. I only had 1 6.5" wide board. I had plenty of 5.5" or 8-10" wide material. I didn't want to waste the wide stuff for this use. So the hidge faces will have a 2.5" leading edge. The edges are to be book matched as well so the front and side faces should match extremely well. There will be a bit of end grain on the one end of the shelf. I'm going to minimize this with the round overs and sanding to high grit to help it blend in. I didn't want to miter and I'm confidant i can make the end result look great. Showing the core layers again with the walnut face. My first run attaching the veneer was a success. I used a lot of painters tape to hold the 3 pieces of veneer together. I also taped around the edge to stop the veneer from shift as i moved the panel into the bag. I created corner blocks so the sharp corners wouldn't puncture the bag. I also put a towel along the top edge as it was jointed and I wasn't sure if it would be too sharp for the bag. The glue up went well after being in the bag for 3 hours the glue set and everything went great. I used TB III for some extra time getting the glue in the bag. The weight of the panel at this point is nice and light. I'd say it weighs 30-35 lbs. Much lighter than the 100lbs if it was solid wood. More details on my over complicated shelf build to come. 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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