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These built-in shelves have the elegance of fine furniture with open storage and a rod for hanging pots and pans.
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The materials list provides enough to build a single 8-foot shelf with rods for hanging S-hooks. To build the pair of shelves shown, double all of the supplies, except for the dowels and paint. All of these parts are customizable to match your wall length. The corbels can be installed up to 27 inches center to center. The shelf is 9 inches longer than the outside dimensions of the corbels after they are installed on your wall. Measure your wall and adjust the plans to fit your space.
Sand and apply the first coat of paint to the corbels, dowels, shelves, and trim.
Mark the locations of the holes to receive the dowels on the corbels (Project Diagram, Drawings 1 and 2). Mark your drill bit with a tape flag 1/2 inch from the cutting edges, and then drill a 1/2-inch-deep hole for the corbels to receive the dowels.
Cut the shelf to the finished length. Miter-cut a strip of panel molding 2 inches longer than the edge to which it will be applied. Cut a miter on one end, then put the part in position and mark the second cut. Trim the edging to length and then adhere the trim in position with a paintable caulk/adhesive and secure with wire brads.
Instead of trying to get the miter right on the first try (and risk cutting too short), cut it slightly oversize and gradually trim small amounts until the fit is exact.
Now cut the front trim 2 inches longer than needed and cut a miter to go against the first miter cut. Clamp the part in position against the previously installed trim and mark the front trim for the miter on the other end of the shelf.
Apply a paintable caulk/adhesive to the joint and use painter’s tape to secure the trim as you align and nail the trim in position. Wipe the excess adhesive from the parts.
Repeat the process for the remaining end trim and fill any nail holes with putty. After it dries, sand the shelf and trim, and wipe it clean. Apply one more coat of paint to the shelf, corbels, and dowels.
For an alternate look to suit your decor, experiment with different front and side trim. For example, this downsized shelf (shown installed) uses a 1-3/8-inch-wide pine base cap moulding.
Use a level to mark a level line on your wall at the shelf-top location using painter’s tape. Use a stud finder to mark the locations of the wall studs on the tape and also mark the preferred corbel locations -- ours were 27 inches from center to center.
Measure from the keyhole plate on the back of the corbels and transfer the measurements to where the corbels will attach to the wall. Install the appropriate number of hollow wall anchors. (One of our corbels was mounted to a stud, the rest were hung with hollow wall anchors.) Drive the screws so the head is protruding 1/8 inch from the wall.
Measure the center-to-center dimensions of the corbel locations, reduce this length by 1 inch and cut the dowels to length.
Install the first corbel, slip the dowel in the hole in the first corbel, and then add the next corbel to support the dowel.
After the corbels and dowels are installed, remove the tape from the wall and apply adhesive caulk to the top of the corbels. Position the shelf on the corbels so they overhang the end corbels equally. Allow the adhesive to dry and put the shelves and pot hanger dowels to work.