How to Build a Wood Wall Shelf

Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

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This solid Beech wall shelf will add beauty and style to any room it is placed. It provides a great way to display books, trophies, collectibles and other personal items. It is easy to attach to the wall, and adds a great decorative element. Also, shelves help add valuable storage space around your home or office.

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Building a Wooden Wall Shelf

A. Materials List:

1 A Top 3/4" x 8" x 48" Beech
2 B Sides 3/4" x 5 3/4" x 9 1/4" Beech
1 C Back 3/4" x 3 1/2" x 38 1/2"  Beech



B. Patterns:

  1. Scale sides (A) and back (C) to the drawing dimension sizes. This can be accomplished by measuring the print out and dividing that size into the dimension size. This will give a multi-factor that can be used to figure the enlargement size for the patterns. Most companies that do duplicating can make the enlargement required for the patterns.
  2. Transfer the pattern enlargement onto poster board, and use a pair of scissors to cut out the patterns

C. Cutting Procedures:

  1. The material for this project can be cut from a 3/4" x 10" x 9' board.
  2. Use a jointer to joint one edge of the board.
  3. Use a radial arm saw to cut the pieces to the length required.
  4. Use a table saw to rip the top (A) to 8" wide.
  5. Trace the patterns (B) and (C) onto the remaining boards and cut out the shapes with a band saw.
  6. Use a spindle sander to sand the pattern areas of the sides (B) and the back (C).
  7. Shape the front and end edges of the top (A) with a router and a 3/4" Roman Ogee Bit.
  8. Shape the inside and outside edges of the of sides (B) with a router and a 1/4" rounding over bit. Route only the irregular curved areas.
  9. Shape the front side edges of the back (C) with a router and a 1/4" rounding over bit. Again, route only the irregular curved areas.

D. Sanding Procedures

  1. Rough sand all parts with an orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper.
  2. Intermediate sand all parts with an orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper.
  3. Finish sand all parts with an orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper after the assembly procedure.
  4. Hand sand all edges, details, with 220 grit sandpaper.

E. Wood Wall Shelf Assembly Procedures:

  1. Secure the back (C) horizontally in a bench clamp and place a bead of wood glue on both ends. Spread glue evenly.
  2. Attach one of the sides (B) to the back (C) and secure it using a nail gun with 1 1/2" nails. Repeat the process to attach the other side (B). Be sure that the sides are flush with the top and rear surfaces of the back (C) before nailing.
  3. Place a bead of wood glue on the top edges of the sides (B) and back (C). Nail the top (A) on the assembly. Make sure that the top is flush with rear edges of the assembly and overhang the sides by 4".
  4. Allow the glue to dry over night.

F: Finish Procedures:

  1. Use plastic wood dough to fill all nail holes, cracks and imperfections.
  2. Use an orbital hand sander and 220 grit sandpaper to finish sand the entire wood wall shelf.
  3. Hand sand all edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
  4. If stain is desired, apply with a brush and allow to penetrate for 5-10 minutes, and then remove with a clean rag.
  5. Allow stain to dry 6 hours and then repeat with a second coat.
  6. Apply a clear finish coat such as Varathane, Polyurethane, lacquer, etc. using a pure-bristle brush. Allow to dry 12 hours.
  7. Lightly hand sand with 220 grit sandpaper.
  8. Apply second coat of clear finish.
  9. If additional finish coats are desired, repeat steps #6 & 7.
  10. Allow to dry 24 hours before using your wooden wall shelf.
Notes: 1. Be sure to match the color of the wood dough to the stain color.
2. Use a tack rag after each sanding procedure to remove the dust.

Congratulations, your wood wall shelf is finished and ready to put up!

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