Floating Shelves Made Strong and Simple
These grain-matched, mitered floating shelves slide onto a cleat for easy installation and a clean, modern look.
Synopsis: Floating shelves have a modern, seamless look. This article explains how to create floating shelves from 3/4-in. rift-sawn white-oak plywood, from cutting the mitered corners, to glue up, to installation. The author puts extra emphasis on the finishing touches—wire brushing, light sanding, and touch-ups.
You don’t always need to gut a kitchen to give it a new look and better function. We recently completed a partial-kitchen remodel in which we removed some cabinets, modified some cabinets to upgrade their appearance and purpose, and added some new cabinets to match the originals. We painted everything, and installed new countertops, a new backsplash, and a new range hood. And to give the kitchen the modern look the homeowners were after, we built and installed four floating shelves.
These floating shelves are made from 3⁄4-in. rift-sawn white-oak plywood. This grain-matched look is popular right now and it’s a particularly interesting detail to me as a carpenter, because I think a lot about wood grain—in terms of how to best use it both for the performance of what I’m building, and for the best looks. Because these floating shelves are made from veneered plywood, I don’t have to worry about seasonal wood movement. In fact, the grain is purely aesthetic. Though the shelves appear as one big piece of white oak, there is no end grain. Instead, the grain is continuous, wrapping from the front of the shelf around each side. The grain also continues from the front of the shelf to the top and bottom. So the look doesn’t actually mimic a solid board, but the shelves have a superclean, seamless appearance.
This seamless effect is achieved by laying out the front, sides, top, and bottom of each shelf next to each other on the…