Building a small corner shelf

I wanted a simple and unobtrusive shelf in a corner in my house to put a plant on. So I came up with a very minimalist plant shelf design.

Because the shelf sits in a corner, I could get away with not having any sort of supports underneath the shelf, which made for a very elegant design.

I started by cutting the profile for the rails that attach the shelf to the wall. The profile consists of a dado for the shelf itself to sit in, and a quarter round below that, just for looks.

I cut the quarter round as a cove on the table saw. Mostly just out of convenience and for flexibility. I could have used a router as well, but that would have taken longer to set up and be less flexible.

To join the two support rails in the corner, I used a combination of miter and box joint. This box joint is primarily for alignment, so that when I attached the pieces to the wall, they would both be in the same vertical alignment. I didn't put any glue in this joint.

The shelf itself I laminated out of a piece of ash that I resawed on the table saw. You can see the markings for the final shape to be cut out.

Before actually cutting out the shelf itself, I checked the angle of the wall where its supposed to go. Square corners in houses, even for newer houses, are a little bit off square surprisingly often. By using the angle from my wall instead of an exact 90 degree angle for the shelf, I was able to get a much better fit.

And here's the support rails screwed into the walls. I used drywall anchors, as there wasn't any studs in convenient positions. But with the shelf supported the way it is, it doesn't actually pull on the anchors, so no need to worry.

The screw heads are sunk into the wood. On the back side, I made a 1mm deep relief hole as well. This hole is for the lip of the drywall anchor, which always sticks out a little bit even after the anchor is fully pushed into its hole.

To mount the actual shelf in the rails, I just screwed a screw into it at an angle into each rail. Only the head of the screw is visible.

Because the top of the shelf is actually above eye level, I put the screws in from the top. Had it been below eye level, I would have put them in from below, to hide them.

In the mean time, the screws that mount the rails are cleverly hidden behind the shelves, so seen from a normal vantage point, none of the mounting screws are visible.


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