The Blue Shelf

1 May 2017

One thing that's definitely permitted is that girls can change their mind. The farmhouse came with a utility room- 7.5' x 7.5', which is not a whole lot of space, but fit a washing machine, furnace and freezer. I didn't need a freezer and the furnace was on it's last legs so once they were gone, the room was dubbed the laundry. Upon close inspection, the washing machine that came with the house was a little cruddy, so I got rid of it, too. In the interim, it's become a catch-all room. I've started to think of this space- this teeny, tiny space- as a craft room. But this required organization!

From my scrap wood pile, I was able to pick 2 pieces of remnant shiplap, one about 36" and the other about 32" long. This would be perfect for a backer board and shelf- a way to get the brooms and mops off the floor and hang a myriad of other stuff.

When shiplap is applied to a wall, one board is placed over the other, creating a solid surface. The back of the shelf (backer board) would be the 36" piece but the "lap" had to be cut off. I ripped it on the table saw so the bottom of the wall part of the shelf would be flat with no tab (save the lap for later). One lap from the 32" piece- the shelf- was also removed and this board was ripped to 4" wide.

I made a paper pattern for the shelf brackets and traced it onto a scrap piece of 1 x 3 board. I cut out 2 brackets with a scroll saw.

I love to sand all pieces before attaching them together. I also use the sandpaper to take the sharp edges off the pieces. Depending on how light or strong you sand, you can distress the edges to appear worn. After sanding everything I had cut, as well as the ends of the backer board and shelf, I started to assemble the pieces.

It's not always convenient, but in this case I was able to mark my nail lines on the back of the wood backer board. A nail gun makes it easy to attach the shelf to the brackets from the top, then from the back attach the shelf to the backer board.

The last step was to fill in behind the top lap with the lap I first cut off. I glued and nailed the lap fill in the back of the top of the backer board.

I gave it a quick coat of interior semi-gloss enamel which when dry, allowed the wood grain to show through.
Because I wanted to create a farmhouse made-from-necessity look, I wanted flat nails for the hooks. Amazing even to myself, I found a coffee can of nails in my stash which  I had bought for a project about 20 years ago and thought they would be perfect.

I pencil marked the backer board every 2.5", 3/4" from the bottom edge for where I wanted the nails to go. The nails are very thick and without a starter hole, they'd rip the board. I tried pre-drilling with a bit, but when I reversed the bit direction, it pulled the wood out. I ended up screwing a sheet rock screw about half an inch deep at every mark- I found screwing and backing out the screw was the cleanest approach. I pounded the nails until I could feel from the back side that they were just about to tear through. When I mounted the shelf onto the T&G (tongue and groove) wall boards in the craft room, I gave them 2 extra hits to settle them into the wall, slightly- then they seemed tight. I had found a horse shoe in the yard and thought with the flat nails, it would be a good finishing touch. You can never have too much good luck!

So there you have it- a wall shelf that holds brooms, mops, tools, and just about what ever was floating around the floor previously. Combined with the wall shelves I made last week, the room is pretty organized and I couldn't be happier with the farmhouse made-for-necessity-style shelf!

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