the making of a small wall shelf

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Blog entry by mrtrim posted 02-10-2008 04:45 AM 7511 reads 6 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

one of our fellow jocks asked me to help him thru the process of makeing a shelf similar to one i had posted , i ageed and he called me . well over the phone wasnt going that well so i told him id try to do a blog . this will be the first time so ill give it my best shot !

the one im going to do has the sides flared back to the wall at 30 degrees instead of returned back on a 45. like a mantle top would be if you prefer its the same process just cut 45 s instead of the 30s

first ill make the bottom piece . i made mine about 2 in. wide and about 24 in. long i cut a 30 deg. angle on both ends . and i routed a small profile on the front and sides


next ill cut the crown moulding . when cutting this on a mitre saw you would lay it on the saw upside down
and make sure the back side is flat against the fence ( see arrow )


you can check to see that you had it bedded right by laying the piece on its face and with your square check the cut at the bottom edge it should be sq. .


cut the front piece at the proper length with an outside corner cut on 30 deg. on both ends . and then the side pieces get cut the same with outside corner cuts at both ends as well and both 30 deg.


now ill apply the crown mldg. to the bottom piece with a little glue and a few brads . i usually put the front piece on first


then i apply the two sides . youll want these to be exactly the proper length any discrepancy will show up when you mount it to the wall . again i use glue on the crown joint and the to the bottom and a couple brads


next i make the top . i allow a 1/2 or so overhang on the front and two sides . and make sure the back is flush . notice the two holes i drilled and counter sunk . these want to be 3/8 in from the back edge and 4 or 5 in. twords the center . i now router a small profile on the front and sides . personally i usually do the bottom edge where the top meets the crown . but thats what ever you like better , you can do the top instead or even both


then i attach the top with brads up thru the crown into the top


next i make a piece of deadwood for mounting to the wall from the back i measure the with of the cavity, and cut a pice of scrap that width and short enough to fit in the cavity



this piece will get mounted on your wall with screws and hopefilly catching a couple studs then the shelf slides over it and two screws in the holes that were drilled thru the top down into the deadwood . and thats about it hope it was understandable and not too ugly ! thanks

23 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5438 days

#1 posted 02-10-2008 04:47 AM

Great blog! That should make it nice and easy for anyone wanting to build one.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#2 posted 02-10-2008 04:54 AM

thanks gary it was acually kinda fun . well except in the middle of it i dropped my camera off the bench and had to go buy a new one !lol

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 5385 days

#3 posted 02-10-2008 07:59 AM

I think I can do that! How about the finish? Your previous project posts were finished marvelously. I wish you can also share your techniques. Thanks man!

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5549 days

#4 posted 02-10-2008 08:27 AM

I have made several of these from crown left over from jobs. People love getting them.

I make them the same way that you do except that the return to the wall is a straight 90. The mounting is exactly the same.

I add grooves in the top to hold plates and pictures that lean against the wall.

Now that I think about it, I will have to add these in the projects section.

These are expensive to make based on the lineal foot cost of crown. It works out if I get an extra piece left over from a job.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5272 days

#5 posted 02-10-2008 01:42 PM

This is a really informative post. These shelves look complicated to build but your step-wise blog simplifies the construction process. I like the 30 degree return as well. I generally think in terms of 45 but this does add a nice detail to the project.

I am sure that we will see some shelving projects appear in future projects.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#6 posted 02-10-2008 02:01 PM

manila boy , im quite sure you can do it ! the finish well i dont always get to finish my bigger jobs as the customer usually already has a “professional ” . however on these small shelves i sometimes spray them with automobile paint .( i painted cars for many years ). this paint works very well on wood and opens up a whole new world of colors . plus metal flake or mother of pearl additives . thanks good luck

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#7 posted 02-10-2008 02:07 PM

todd, my lumber yard makes these and sell them for small mantle tops and they get like 350.00 for them . i just give mine away to customers . in fact yesterday a customer was in the shop to check on his project and i saw him looking at the one i made for this blog and i said if you want that go put it in your car ! he snatched it up like it was a wad of 50 dollar bills ! lol

View cabinetmaker2's profile


35 posts in 5213 days

#8 posted 02-10-2008 02:16 PM

nice going on the blog, easy to followinstructions, and great pics….

-- Mark, Hancock Maine, [email protected]

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#9 posted 02-10-2008 02:21 PM

scott , thanks for the comment , i think when you use these as a wall shelf the 30 deg. return makes a much smoother transition from the wall . you dont have that sharp corner sticking out . they are fun to make and try out different styles

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#10 posted 02-10-2008 02:24 PM

thank you cabinet maker , i had fun doing it as well

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5412 days

#11 posted 02-10-2008 04:39 PM

I think that was a dandy blog. Good instruction. I think I’ll build one just for practice.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

845 posts in 5358 days

#12 posted 02-10-2008 05:08 PM

Nice looking shelf Tim and a very informative blog. I can see some of these on the wall in my livingroom already.

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5549 days

#13 posted 02-10-2008 06:40 PM

I am glad to see that you are using automotive finishes. I was wondering about adhesion and compatibility on the wood.

I imagine that durability would not be a problem. If the finish will protect an automobile it should hold up in the house.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View rikkor's profile


11294 posts in 5324 days

#14 posted 02-10-2008 09:04 PM

Thanks for posting this very informative blog.

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5330 days

#15 posted 02-10-2008 10:02 PM

thanks for the comments everyone . todd yes these finish is superb and you can use home depot type primer under it i use zinnzzer because i like the way it sands better than kilz thos. someone once told me practice makes perfect ! well it hasnt been quite that kind to me but it has made me better !

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