Wood Works Bespoke Joinery were commissioned to create a contemporary set of bespoke shelves that were both free of visible supports and brackets but strong enough to accommodate heavy cookery books. From a joinery and carpentry point of view this was no easy task!
For this project, we selected a characterful oak. This was ideal as it is not only cost effective but it also had the required look to fit in with the eclectic furniture in a modern kitchen / dining room.
Once designed, the initial stage of production was simple: each shelf consisted of 2 lengths of oak joined with mortice and tenons joints created using the festool domino (a must have for any well equipped joinery and carpentry workshop).
We selected a set of concealed brackets that were up to the task, these brackets would sit inserted within the back edge of the shelf with a base plate which would be fixed to the wall. The base pate would the be concealed within a bored channel at the back edge of the shelf.
Once trimmed and sanded, a router with a 12mm cutter was used and plunged to the maximum depth. We then used a drill with a 12.5mm drill bit and extended the hole to the required depth, dictated by the length of the brackets rod.
One joinery challenge was to ensure the holes within the shelves lined up precisely with the bracket’s steel rods, which would already be attached to the wall. This was achieved by creating an 18mm mock up wall at the work shop and using one template for both marking out the holes on the back of the shelves and for marking out the corresponding holes on the mock up wall.
Another challenge was to ensure the holes were not so tight that no contingency was allowed for slight variations in each bracket but tight enough so the shelves would sit firmly against the wall. This was successfully over come by using a drill bit just 0.5mm wider than the bracket rods.
Once a slightly wider channel had been created, using a router to accommodate the bracket’s wall plate, the shelves underwent a final sand with an orbital sander using a 240 grit paper. Each shelf was then finished with linseed oil.
Our final challenge was creating fixed ‘book ends’ with no visible brackets. We created these from thin lengths of oak which has been neatly cut in two. Again we used the domino machine to create a mortise and tenon joint, one half of the oak was then attached to the wall, using the traditional carpentry method of screw and rawl plug, while the other half was fixed, located by the tenon, and glued in place using a fast setting adhesive, creating the original strip of oak and meeting the objective of having no visible brackets or fixings.
Once we were happy with the fit of the shelves on the mock wall, we disassembled the shelving and book ends and took them onsite to Bury St Edmunds for the final fitting.
The 18mm mock up board was placed and fixed to the wall with a screw, the hole necessary for doing this would eventually be hidden behind the top shelf’s edge. Once the board was level, we drilled through the pre made holes and into the wall. The board was then removed leaving just the accurate holes with no pencil lines or markings of any sort.
Due to the anticipated weight of the books, the brackets were fixed to the wall not with conventional screws and rawl plugs but heavy duty anchor supports. These ensured the concealed brackets would not drop under the weight. Finally, the ‘book end’ supports were then fixed to the wall again located by the pre drilled holes from our template.
Both us and our client were delighted with the result and hopefully readers will see it as a demonstration of our joinery and carpentry skills. As ever, we would love to hear your feedback and if you would have approached the project any differently.