Megan's Shelves

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Project by PDK posted 03-23-2013 08:18 PM 1579 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While constructing my previous two projects – “Cecil’s Stairs” and “Stella’s Box” – my wife occasionally inquired, “when are you going to build those [email protected] shelves?” – referring to the entertainment shelving for our family room. As a result, this project became affectionately known as “Megan’s Shelves,” or simply “Megan’s [email protected] Shelves” for the PG-13 and older crowd.

This shelving unit was based loosely on a smaller, but similar set of shelves I built last fall for our home office. The space we were trying to fill is adjacent to our stone fireplace and measured a little over 69 inches wide and 22 inches deep. However, we only wanted the shelves to go about 40 inches up the wall to leave room above for art or a flat screen, which for now is hung above the mantel.

The shelves themselves were made of 5/4 hard maple. I joined 3 boards laterally using a combination of biscuits and pocket screws. The top and bottom shelves run 20-inches deep while the middle shelf was kept at 18.5 inches to aid in the routing of entertainment and lighting cables. Needless to say, these shelves are heavy, and that made them fairly challenging to work with. Roman Ogee (bottom) and half-inch round over (top) router bits were used to add a more conservative look.

I left the sides of the shelving unit open as they rest next to our stone fireplace; hence the term, “semi built-in”. They were finished with a java gel stain (primarily to match the cabinets in the adjacent kitchen) and 3 or 4 coats of wipe-on poly. For the rear paneling, I used a sheet of bead board, which was finished using the java colored gel stain and 3 coats of poly.

Six support columns, created from 6/4 hard maple, were created to support each shelf (18 columns in total – see photo). The shelves are spaced roughly 15.5 inches apart with the exception of the lower shelf, which stands at around 6.5 inches. Doing this allowed for better alignment with baseboards, as well as electrical and cable outlets. It also provides enough space to vacuum underneath. The vertical supports were attached to the shelves with a combination of dowels and screws. I was originally going to just go with dowels, but I added a bit of security with a self-tapping screw set just behind each vertical support to keep them out of view.

Since they’ve been installed, we’ve added the necessary photos and assorted knickknacks that keep the Pier 1’s of the world in business, as well as couple sets of LED lights. One series of pucks illuminate up the interior, which should make future electronic hook-ups a relative breeze. A second set of LEDs resides on the top shelf and brings light to the space above the shelves. Thanks for reading.

-- - The day I stop learning is the day I stop living.

3 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3717 days

#1 posted 03-23-2013 11:28 PM

It looks like a nice project and I trust that Megan is now happy. :) At least, the cat seems to approve!

-- Art

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3467 days

#2 posted 03-24-2013 12:04 AM

I like the upright supports.
And as to the cat, I think he’s just waiting for you to turn your back so he can “mark his space” :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 03-26-2013 02:57 PM

Love open shelves especially your design. Looks great and very sturdy. A great addition to the family room indeed.

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