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  • Floating shelf hardware

    I need to build some "floating" shelving units. By "floating", I mean we don't want any shelf bracket hardware visible. I'm looking for advice about good choices for the actual shelf support hardware. The shelves, as specified, will only be 3/4" thick veneered MDF, and are 12" deep.

    Is there commercially available hardware for mounting such shelves?

    One fab-it-yourself idea is to use long lag bolts screwed into wall blocking. The bolt heads would be cut off. The remainder of the lag bolt "support" would then be inserted into corresponding long holes bored into the edge of the shelves. Set screws could hold the system in place.

    I have the ability to install blocking before the drywall goes up.

    Any advice - links to mfrs of floating shelf support hardware?

  • #2
    Re: Floating shelf hardware

    It's the 3/4 in. thickness that puzzles me. I've installed lots of these, but always at least 1 1/2 in. thick. Then I can plow out the back and mount dowels or cleats to the wall and key the shelves in. But with 3/4 in. thickness, I think the MDF would split too easily. Maybe someone else will have a good idea! I'll be watching for it...
    Gary

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    • #3
      Re: Floating shelf hardware

      Yes - the 3/4" worries me, too. That's why I'm asking for advice here. I might be able to get them to move up to 1", but I'm not even sure that's enough...

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      • #4
        Re: Floating shelf hardware

        Seems to me I've used a thin wire gadget, maybe from Hafele, for a floating shelf effect. It fit into drilled holes in the case sides (adjustable in this case) and a corresponding (approx. 1/8" x 1/4" or thereabouts) stopped dado in the edge of a 3/4" Veneer Core or solid shelf. I guess you could use MDF, but I wouldn't on a span beyond 16-18". Does it have to be MDF? It's generally a poor choice for any shelving use...

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        • #5
          Re: Floating shelf hardware

          Thanks for the advice to steer clear of MDF for shelving - sagging might be a problem so I'll advise to change to veneer core ply.

          Any specifics on this system from Hafele? I'm searching their websites, but can't find anything (yet) that matches your description.

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          • #6
            Re: Floating shelf hardware

            dl-
            I'll try and find it for you tomorrow and will post it here, Hafele's site is impossible to search without their catalog in your hands...
            I'd be willing to bet the same shelf support is available through other common sources like Woodworkers Supply... have a look whilst I dig it up for you.

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            • #7
              Re: Floating shelf hardware

              I'm not sure about Hafele but I believe I saw the same system in woodworks of new mexico cataloge. You cut a slot in the shelf and the wire gets installed in holes drilled in the side of a cabinet. If the shelves are to be cantilevered off the drywall this system will not work. I would use steel angle bracets bolted to the studs with 3/4" ply on top and a 1/4 ply below. Use solid lumber for the nosings.

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              • #8
                Re: Floating shelf hardware

                I'm not sure about Hafele but I believe I saw the same system in woodworks of new mexico cataloge. You cut a slot in the shelf and the wire gets installed in holes drilled in the side of a cabinet. If the shelves are to be cantilevered off the drywall this system will not work. I would use steel angle bracets bolted to the studs with 3/4" ply on top and a 1/4 ply below. Use solid lumber for the nosings.

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                • #9
                  Re: Floating shelf hardware

                  There you go. A great idea, easy to accomplish, and only 1 in. thick. Easy to dado the shelf a little for the thickness of the bracket; you don't have to match up dowel locations in wall/shelf; you'll have deeper suport (long L brackets). Excellent idea, RD. I kept thinking the wall was finished. Even if it is, cut in the brackets and tape/refinish over them.
                  Gary

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                  • #10
                    Re: Floating shelf hardware

                    Thanks,
                    Once and while the two brain cells that I have left click together and form an idea.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Floating shelf hardware

                      dl-
                      Sorry it took me so long to get back on this, I kept forgetting then had to use the Hafele catalog & remembered!
                      Hafele does have such an item. It's called a "Swedish-type shelf support", it comes in three wire diameters: 3mm. 4mm and 5mm and three lengths: 160mm, 224mm and 320mm. For reference, the item number for the 3mm x 320mm is 282.71.721 and you can look it up online. I'm now not sure whether you wanted a type of support to fit into holes in cabinet sides or a cantilever, obviously this works on cabinet shelf sides only, but it IS invisible. Hope this helps.


                      Hafele Online

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                      • #12
                        Re: Floating shelf hardware

                        Mark,

                        Thanks for the pointer to the Hafele wire-type supports. My actual application is what I would described as "partially cantilevered". One end of the shelf abuts the side of an adjoining cabinet box, but the other end is floating. I think some combination of the angle-iron system described by RD and a hidden support coming from the cabinet box will be a reasonable approach.

                        Thanks again!

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