Floating Shelf (without hardware)

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Project by BootsTripp posted 12-17-2013 03:43 AM 3235 views 9 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Aside from the screws or toggle bolts that will be used to mount the back plate to the wall, no other hardware was used. The screws that attach the back plate to the wall are concealed by the shelf.
This project was a request made by the woman who runs our daughter’s daycare. It will hang over the kids coat rack to store their shoes.

-- The Dude abides

7 comments so far

View dakremer's profile


2768 posts in 4145 days

#1 posted 12-17-2013 05:29 AM

nice looking shelf. What stops the shelf from falling off of the tenon?

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20634 posts in 4729 days

#2 posted 12-17-2013 06:02 AM

Nice, but I am wondering about that too?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Hawaiilad's profile


3378 posts in 4074 days

#3 posted 12-17-2013 08:17 AM

Nice shelf…I was wondering how much weight it will hold. Great idea, but no disrespect, it doesn’t seem it would hold up the the kids banging into it with their shoes..but I’m sure you have thought about that yourself.

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View A.Scott's profile


230 posts in 3030 days

#4 posted 12-17-2013 01:59 PM

Looks very nice

View exterminate's profile


136 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 12-17-2013 02:23 PM

Great job! I love the concept. Have you done this style before? If so, what type of weight can this hold?

-- Albert Einstein - "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right."

View Jacob's profile


85 posts in 3696 days

#6 posted 12-17-2013 06:17 PM

Looks great! I am also curious about how it remains in place, I suppose you are going to glue the tenon into the mortise?

I had a similar condition not too long ago with a support bracket for a butcher-block overhang on the counter-top of an island. I did not want to glue any thing for several reasons, expansion/contraction as well as future need for removing the counter-top or anything like that, nor did I want to see hardware like screws or sliding brackets, So I use a dovetail rail instead, screwed it up the underside of the butcher-block, slid the bracket onto the rail, then screwed through the island cabinet into the back of the bracket.

This technique might also be appropriate for this situation. You could screw the wall plate on and then slide the dovetailed shelf onto the corresponding dovetailed rail.

Though this is quite a beautiful product you have made here.


-- -Jacob Turetsky, Industrial Designer

View BootsTripp's profile


35 posts in 3266 days

#7 posted 12-18-2013 02:21 AM

Thanks for all the interest. Here are some answers…
1) The tenon holds the shelf nice and snug. -I left the mortise and tenon unsealed so that if she’s happy with the final resting place of the shelf we can glue it in place. The downside would be the need to tear out drywall to remove the shelf in the future. I hope that the movement of the wood isn’t so bad that it would loosen the joint. -I thought worst case scenario I could install two screws from the top of the shelf through the tenon as a little extra insurance. If this were in my house I wouldn’t do that, but since it’s a daycare maybe she’ll want me to do that.

2) The shelf will be installed about 6’ above the floor and will only hold a few pairs of kids shoes. I would guess only a couple pounds at most. The kids won’t be able to reach the shelf.

3) For fun and peace of mind after some of your comments I load tested the shelf. I put 15 lbs worth of stuff on the shelf. The shelf started to sag ever so slightly at around 10 lbs. I called it quits at 15 lbs, but it didn’t look like it was anywhere near failing. I wasn’t going to push it further than that though, I remember how abrupt that bridge fell apart in 7th grade. See photo for load test.

4) I’ve never done this project before. I searched to find details for how to build a floating shelf, but I mostly found recommendations for different hardware to use. I didn’t really want to buy hardware and thought this would work.

5) Jacob, your dovetail rail idea sounds awesome, I’ll keep that in mind for the next one.

-- The Dude abides

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