Recycled Timber Shelf

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Few weeks ago, I moved out of home into the Frogshark HQ, the house our team lives and works at, developing video games. Part of healthy living for me is making the place that is “home” a comfortable space and a desired place to be in. I don’t own any furniture except for my bed, so lack of surfaces for storage and ad-hoc items makes the space lack in accessibility. In the spirit of making, I set out to make my first piece of furniture, a simple shelf behind my bed’s headboard.

To be absolutely honest, the idea didn’t come from “I need a shelf”, but rather “there’s a massive dump of building materials in the next lot, I wonder what I could do with it”. Access to free scrap wood inspired possibility.

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There were plenty of long 150×25 palings which were perfect for the sort of shelf I had in mind. I just needed 3 pieces, it was going to be a simple butt joint structure. The wood is likely macrocarpa timber, commonly used for outdoor fencing, so it was a very raw source with lots of filing and sanding to be done.

 

I wanted the shelf to be a lasting accessory to the bed, something more permanent that I could dismantle and reassemble if I move. I didn’t want to use screws for that reason, and opted for a slightly more complicated solution of furniture style joints with cross dowels. This required more careful measurements and very straight drilling with almost no instruments to aid in that task. Drilling the edges first allowed me to assess the best hole placement for the dowels, based on where the bolt ended up sitting. Pre-drilling with a thinner drill bit always helped guide and potentially correct some of the placement and tilt.

 

The structure didn’t need a cross beam to avoid skewing because it was going to be supported by the head board struts. The longest part of the process for the entire shelf was actually initially sanding the boards down. I later stained the wood with linseed oil to bring out some of the tooling marks and wood grain for it’s character and aesthetic.

 

I couldn’t be happier with the result, It added lots more character and usability to my space. DIY is extremely fulfilling, and having furniture made out of solid wood with apparent imperfections is infinitely more satisfying than cheap particle boards. The shelf is hiding wiring for a usb phone charger and a 2.1 stereo amp system. I listen to music every day and having speakers on the shelf is awesome, along with a water bottle and misc items and decorations.

 

Don’t think I’ll be stopping at this for furniture!