Sweat Equity: The Shelf

Hey clever and attractive PF buffs, time for another Sweat Equity installment!

Here is where we really get into “equity” in the sense of stuff that is attached to the house.  At least that is how it would look to prospective buyers.  We could always take it with, but that would be a sneaky move after using the shelf as staging equity.


Here is the shelf with a similarly styled picture thing that we found at the store.  The shelf doesn’t have any construction pictures or much of a story because Mr. Goodies actually went ahead and built it entirely while I was out buying groceries.  But that’s how easy this piece is to make!

The shelf was based on this design.  The consumable materials were about $30, and we needed a jig saw to make the fancy rounded bottom part (borrowed from family).  We hung it with hook-and-eye mounting brackets from the hardware store.  Some notes about this item:

  1. I think the original plan called for the back wall to be made of expensive (and heavy) 1×8 panel along with the sides and top.  We used thin plywood instead since you can’t really see the back.  As long as you sand it down enough that it will not scratch the wall, I think this is preferable.
  2. This was the first project we did with 1×2 (the trim along the top), which it turns out is much more warped than all the other larger lumber.  1×2 is a total pain that way.  My dad had a boat-making method of steaming lumber in PVC tubes to create or correct warp, which I want to look into some time.
  3. This was also the first project that required angling the chop saw along the Z axis instead of the Y axis.  We first tried cutting pieces angling along the Y axis but they do not fit together that way.  It was a mini-lesson in making moldings, which might come in handy later.

Not bad right?  I highly recommend making your own shelving if you want to do some low-risk DIY.  It is pretty easy to assemble the pieces, and nothing needs to balance or be stable as is the case with tables.  And if you are good with a jig saw you can get pretty fancy with the bottom embellishments.


4 thoughts on “Sweat Equity: The Shelf

  1. I’m interested in becoming more handy/capable, but I don’t know much about carpentry at all. Any recommendations for good shows to watch or books to read about general DIY stuff you can do around the home?

    • I like This Old House Hour on PBS, and Youtube videos otherwise are pretty helpful for specific situations.

      But this is why I would like a “The Real Apprentice” show! Pros never make mistakes, so it is hard to see what you might do wrong and what to do about it. I would like to watch someone make mistakes and be shown how to fix them on the fly.

  2. You guys are so good at this! The things you build all look so professional. I am impressed! Haha and I love that you just went to the grocery store and when you came back there was a new shelf!

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