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Build a Rustic Wooden Wall Shelf

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

Let's have fun with a jigsaw and a router. It's time to build a shelf.

For this project, you'll need some 1" x 6" dimensional lumber and some wood glue.

You'll also need a miter saw, table saw, jigsaw, and a router with a round over bit. We also used an orbital sander to smooth all the pieces and some gel stain to finish off the project.


We did use project wood from our big box hardware store. You could always do this with some rough lumber and cut it down. This just made it quicker and a little easier for us. We measured our boards to 24 inches each, and cut them to length on the miter saw.


Then, we cut moved to the table saw to cut rabbet joints in each board. The rabbet joints will go halfway, three-eighths of an inch. We don't currently have a dado blade, but if you have one, that would certainly speed up this process. Instead, we set the height of our table saw blade set at 3/8 of an inch and set up a sacrificial fence to start with a zero clearance to the blade. This helped us protect our original table saw fence. After the first cut, we removed the sacrificial fence. We continued to move the fence an eighth of an inch at a time. It took several passes to get the three-quarter inches we needed, since the blade curve is only an eighth of an inch.


When you make a rabbet joint this way, it does tend to leave some unevenness. So, we ran the board back and forth perpendicular to the fence to clean that up a bit.


Once our rabbet joint was cut to join the two halves of our shelf together, we cut some dados one inch from each side of the backer board. The dados were each cut three quarters of an inch wide to snugly attach the corbels.


We measured the width for our corbels and cut the boards at 5 and 3/16.


Then, we traced a pattern at an angle down each board and cut it out with a jigsaw. (A band saw would have made this step much easier!)


Once all the pieces for the shelf were cut, we dry fit everything together. Then, we took a router and a roundover bit to cut a round edge around the top and the back.


We then sanded the pieces down with 220 grit paper. We did start with project wood, so it was already pretty smooth.


Once all the boards were sanded, we applied glue to the joints and clamped it together.


We have the glue some to dry and removed the clamps. Then we finished it up with a coat of gel stain.


The final step was to install keyhole brackets on the back of it to hang it. They are on 16-inch centers, so we could hang it in studs. It's a sweet and rustic addition to our woodshop.


Have we inspired you to build your own wall shelf?


Leave your pictures in the Comments below!

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