Fixing Heavy 1 1/2" oak shelves into alcoves

17 Oct 2007
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United Kingdom

I want to fit some Heavy 4ft x 8 1/2" x 1 1/2" shelves into alcoves on each side of my living room chimney. I want the supports to be hidden but not sure of the best way of doing it.

After noticing the pin supports for shelves in my kitchen cupboard I thought about doing something similar. Perhaps using heavy duty screws or fixings into the walls and resting the shelves on these "pins" (I would also make small recesses in the shelves to fit over the fixings to make them invisible). I am not a that good at DIY so I am not sure if it will work or the best way of making the even (uniform)recesses in the wood, perhaps a drill and small chisel).

Has anyone tried this or can suggest a better alternative? I don't want to use floating shelf brackets as this means drilling a large hole in the shelf and if its not straight I could drill through the top or bottom side of the shelf and ruin the (expensive) ok I am using. Also, I feel floating shelves may not be strong enough.


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Graham - this is a perfectly acceptable solution. There are other ways of doing this but with self-declared dodgy DIY skills, and presumably limited range of tools & equipment - apart from the dill & chisel - this is the way to go. Best of luck.
if the shelves are going to be fairly permanent, you might also consider chasing out the plaster, fastening a big strong fixing, then reinstating the plaster and decorating so that it it hardly noticeable.
Thanks for the reply chaps - will probably go with heavy duty screws - but am going to ask around for a loan of a plunge router as I am hoping it will make a neater and more uniform recess for the screws to fit into.

I don't fancy chasing out plaster after just paying 500 squid to have my room replastered - probably would have tried it if I was bit more forward thinking in my plans for the room! DUH!

Thanks again

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Graham, if you do get hold of a router a better way of doing things will be to form a groove (trench or dado) along each end of the shelf running from back to about 15mm short of the front edge (known as a stopped groove). Fix batterns or slips (to fit the grooves) to the walls then all you have to do is slide the shelves on. A completely invisible shelf support and one where the shelves can be easily removed.

Care when routing a narrow section of timber - the router will want to rock as there is only a narrow supporting face. Increase this area by clamping blocks onto the shelves, thus providing a stable base for the router. Practice on a scrap piece first.
Symptoms way is a good method provided the alcove has square ends and does not get wider towards the back!!

I use the same method if the walls are OK and it also works in corners


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