How to install a very thick oak shelf

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As part of my toilet refurbishment, I plan to fit a 32mm thick oak shelf.

Against an outside wall, with a window reveal, I have already installed a Geberit toilet frame and boxed it in. The top of the boxed frame is level with the window ledge, so I plan to cut a piece of oak wood to fit into the window reveal and out to both sides of the narrow room.


I have used some plywood to create a good tight fit, which I will use as a template for cutting the oak board.

The issue I'm having is that the back of the window reveal is 1cm wider than the front. This means I can't just position the shelf horizontally and offer it into the reveal as it won't fit. Instead I will need to angle the shelf and put one side against the side wall, then lower it into position on the other side wall. This is easy enough with a piece of 6mm ply, but it probably won't work with a piece of 32mm rigid oak as the thickness will add width to the shelf, meaning I probably won't be able to lower it into place.




The obvious solution is to cut the shelf width slightly less than required, but then when fitted I will have a gap rather than a nice tight fit upto the walls on either side.

Another thought I had was to cut through the thickness of the shelf at an angle, so the underside of the shelf was narrower than the top side. When the shelf was angled, the top and bottom of the shelf would be parallel to the wall and only when finally in position, would the widest part of the top face of the shelf actually touch the wall. This would work perfectly for the window reveal and all but the front face of the shelf as it would be possible to see the angled cut from the front and I don't want that.

Any thoughts on how I can go about fitting this thick shelf and get a good tight fit?
 
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You could chamfer the internal edges in the window reveal so only the very top is full thickness against the wall , should not be a problem for the long edge which should drop in .
 
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Undercut the oak so that the underside is thinner than the top, except at the front edge, where you obviously can't do this and may have to accept some relatively minor (easily repairable) plasterwork damage.

Before installing the oak make sure that you thoroughly seal the edges with several coats of either a clear oil-based lacquer or oil-based gloss paint (NOT water based as that raises grain). This will ensure that moisture cannot be wicked into the oak and cause staining, Also ensure that your visible surfaces (and the underside) are well protected from the moist atmosphere which most bathrooms have
 
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You could chamfer the internal edges in the window reveal so only the very top is full thickness against the wall , should not be a problem for the long edge which should drop in .
Undercut the oak so that the underside is thinner than the top, except at the front edge, where you obviously can't do this and may have to accept some relatively minor (easily repairable) plasterwork damage
Thanks for the responses. That's exactly what I meant by "cut through the thickness of the shelf at an angle, so the underside of the shelf was narrower than the top side"

I had thought about leaving about 1cm square on the front edge, and as you say, remove some of the plaster to allow this part of the shelf to slide into position, then repair the plaster. The only issue with doing this is that I would like to be able to remove the shelf relatively easily to get access to the toilet frame and pipework. Hopefully this won't be necessary and I guess a small amount of plaster damage isn't too bad should it be necessary.

Just to point out, it is a small downstairs toilet, not a bathroom, so unlikely to be a damp environment requiring the oak to be protected. I plan to wax it and will wax all surfaces.
 
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If you want a removeable shelf the only ways are to correct the errors in the plasterwork, (potentially) to split the item into 2 pieces or to have a larger gap all round covered by a timber beading or a silicone sealant bead.

Wax alone is not a sufficient protection for oak in a potentially damp environment as wax is not impervious to water
 
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I would slit the plaster corner beading at the level of the top of the shelf and multitool the plaster away so that the shelf pushed in from the front square and snug.
 
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Hi mrrusty, thanks for the suggestion. My original thought was to make the window reveal square by removing some of the surface plaster, but on inspection I realised I would need to remove nearly 10mm, which was just too much. I then considered cutting a channel in the plaster that would allow me to slide the shelf in, but didn't like the idea of the shelf sitting under the plaster, plus it is my intension to use small magnet fixings, or possibly clips to fix the shelf in place. Using these means the shelf would need to be lowered in place, rather than slid in from the front.
 
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Thought I would post some photos of my progress and the completed window shelf installation.

As discussed, I cut the oak shelf to shape, but angled the cuts on one side, apart from a small amount at the front:




I then cut some of the plasterboard away to accommodate the front edge of the shelf that I didn't angle:


I was then able to lower the shelf into place, after which the cut plasterboard was carefully filled and painted:


Job done:

 

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