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  1. #1
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    Nov 2011
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    Default Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Picture this please: a "great room" with 20' wall with an opening into a center hall in the middle. On the right side of the hall is the dining area and on the left is a 38" opening into the kitchen which is defined only by a surrounding bar height counter. Hope that sets the scene!

    Just about to start hanging shelves in our kitchen area to visually continue the line of shelves we just created by our first major DIY woodworking project, an 8' tall, 9' wide built-in bookcase unit (made up of 4 separate bookcase units) on the dining room side of the same wall.

    Since walking space into the kitchen area is tight, the kitchen shelves will be about 6"-8" deep (rather than 12" for the built-in) but we'll finish them with the same front edge trim molding to maintain the look.

    Not planning to load the kitchen shelves with anything particularly heavy, just cups and small plates and just about anything else "kitchen-ey" that fits, and would love to hear your learned opinions as to the best way to support the shelves elegantly. Wood corbels (how hard are they to make since they seem to be pretty pricey and we just got our first Kreg Junior jig!) or standards and brackets (I really like the simplicity of the Rakks systems)?

    Many thanks in advance--I love this forum!
    Rosalie
    Last edited by Badokole; 01-09-2012 at 12:43 PM. Reason: forgot the exciting news that we got a Kreg jig!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Corbels are not difficult to make if you have a few basic woodworking tools. The fact that you own a Kreg Jig indicates that you do some woodworking. A band saw would be best for cutting out the profile, but a hand held jigsaw could suffice. A router would be good for making decorative edges and possibly making the mounting key slot on the rear of the corbel to afix it to the wall. Your local woodworkers' store will have hidden "keyslot" mechanisms which will allow the corbel to grab the head of a screw on the wall. Of course, you can also make direct mounting holes through the front of the corbel and hide the screw heads with wood buttons or dowels.

    What ever the mounting system, it is always best to try to hit the studs rather than rely on the strength of the drywall, even though you indicate that not much weight will be put on it.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2011
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    Breezy Point, NY
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    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Thanks Ordjen! I was thinking of a very simple design for DIY corbels (I saw a couple on the web selling for at least $30 a-piece!) and they're basically a 90-degree inverted L-shape buttressed by a 45-degree support. We can't wait to start using the Kreg! It's all getting painted the same "Linen" BM Impervo Alkyd as the bookcases so even beginners like us can try it with any luck.

    Is pine OK or should we stick to harwoods?

    aloha,
    rosalie

  4. #4
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    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Smile Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Badekola,

    I would try to simulate the texture of the wood used on your cabinets. You can probably selectively cut pieces out of pine to avoid the knots. It might require a little more sanding if you are using construction grade pine. Or just run it through your surface planner Otherwise, poplar is a good choice for such a project. It is tight grained , cuts easily and takes paint well. Even "big box" stores often have some poplar. Otherwise a good lumber yard or woodworkers lumber store would have it.

  5. #5
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    Breezy Point, NY
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    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Surface planer, huh? You're a regular riot!! Thanks again for the good advice!
    aloha,
    rosalie

  6. #6
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    Aug 2007
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    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
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    Talking Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Badekole,

    I watch Norm Abrams of TOH walk into his dedicated shop building filled with thousands of dollars worth of power equipment and get a good chuckle. You mean not everyone has a foot activated, motorised mortising drill?

    Actually though, some of my earlier skepticism has been lessened. I used to laugh at how Norm would use his pneumatic nailer for everything - until I bought one. Damn, they make woodworking easier. No more knocking the alignment out of place while trying to set door casings while whacking it with a hammer! Mine is always at the ready in my shop (humble garage) now.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    1,096

    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Many of us in the business have had to improvise in place of job-specific tools till we earned enough to buy another toy (er, I meant tool ) Where there is a will and a brain and some patience, there is a way but when you get the newest gadget for your shop you always wonder how in the world you did without it for so long!

    In the old days the average carpenter had none of Norm's wundermachines, yet they still built beautiful homes with nothing more than what fit in a smallish toolchest. Methinks this homeowner might rate better than some contractors- they certainly have the right approach

    Phil

  8. #8
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    Nov 2011
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    Breezy Point, NY
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    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Speaking of tools...
    I just ordered a Bosch-GTS1031 portable table saw as a surprise for my husband.

    See, we had a circa 1978, monster Sears radial arm saw that came with our house and never touched until this project. Luckily, being the research freak that I am, I ran a search and found out that the saw was so dangerous that it had been recalled and got $100 for sending it back to the manufacturer. Bonus! I could buy a)yet another pair of incredibly uncomfortable yet cute new shoes, or b)put it out it towards something that we can really use.

    Up until now we've made do with our 1994 Honda Civic hatchback with roof racks, a (kinda new) 10" compound mitre saw, a jig saw with a bit of a wobble since it fell, a pair of (new) dreamy Bosch driver drills, a (pretty new) hand router and the guys who cut stuff to size at our local big DIY stores on their monster saws.

    I figure that all the $ we saved by building our library wall ourselves (from a free plan in the December 2004 issue of "Workbench Magazine"--hey honey, look what we can make for $350 and 2 weekends!--try lots more moola since we didn't want to use MDF and 5 months of weekends!) can be plowed into cool tools that will save us future blood, sweat and most importantly, TIME!

    So here's to the tools that get things done!

    -rosalie
    Last edited by Badokole; 01-10-2012 at 02:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Shelf support systems: Corbels or Standards & Brackets?

    Badekole,

    I don't know if I had that same Sears radial arm saw that was recalled. I bought mine in 1970 and had it til 2005 when I sold it rather than schlepp it from Chicago to Portland when I moved. It was really heavy with its cast iron construction. Radial arm saws are great for crosscutting, but somewhat hazardous for ripping, in that they cut on the up stroke. Especially, thin, narrow cuts were risky. The stock would start chattering. I had mine permanently mounted to the wall with 8 foot approlch and run-out table sections. This made it somewhat saver.

    No matter last Christmas I bought my wife that 12inch Ridgid sliding trim saw she always wanted. She got me that new sewing machine I had been coveting.

    My basic table saw is now a portable DeWalt. It is really a nice tool and light weight enough to move around.

    I have many Bosch power tools - hand held jig saw, sanders, router, etc.. The Germans just seem to always be on the quality standard. My oldest Bosch tools are over 20 years old and still going strong. Most are still made in either Germany or Switzerland.They do have production facilities in North Carolina for much of their household equipment and some of their tools. I have their dishwasher now and can't praise it enough.

    I have had my German born wife for 47 years now and she is holding up well too! I imported here myself in 1965.

    Bosch does actually make a less expensive consumer line of tools, but interestingly, these tools, which have green housings, are not exported to the U.S.

    Be careful though. Last year I was at Home Depot and they had two Bosch jig saws. One was about $160, which they have been for years, and one was about $130. They looked almost identicle. Upon closer look, one proudly stated it was "Made IN Switzerland". The other I had to inspect closely to find a very inconspicuous plate which said "Made IN China". I did not need one, but had I bought one, I would gladly have paid the extra $30 for the genuine Swiss made unit. The Swiss still beleave in quality too!

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