How I Built Reclaimed Wood Shelves


How I took unloved, discarded wood and created lovely farmhouse style shelves for nothing!
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
I am a huge proponent of reclaimed wood. Huge, like...huge. I have this secret spot I like to go to do some picking and salvaging. My husbands family owns some hotels in the area and we have a pretty good trash pile. Within the last few years, we had to replace the railings and staircases on one of our hotels. So, the old stuff ended up in the dump. Bonus for me! Imagine I am singing when I said that. Anyways, I decided I needed to do a little change up in my dining room. I have been collecting white ceramic serve ware. The only problem? I was running out of places to display them. I decided I wanted to build some shelves. The wheels started turning and before I knew it I had a design in mind. What materials was I going to use? Reclaimed lumber of course. The morning my kids went back to school I went for a short little drive to my favorite secret spot. I guarantee if someone saw me out there, I am sure it was quite a show. Imagine and little girl dragging around 20 foot long boards, stumbling through the tree-like weeds that have taken back their land. When I had successfully relocated the lumber to the back of my truck, I did my happy dance and away I went.
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
I think most people, when looking at this stuff would not even take a second look. But, I have been milling through many different ideas that I could use them for.
Okay, now to get down to it. The second thing I did after doing my happy dance was do a little draw up of how many shelves I wanted, how long etc. I decided to go with 6 foot long shelves, and I wanted 2 shelves. The next step was pretty simple because we got lucky. I had grabbed a few pieces of 2inch by 2 inch lumber that was used as railings. I used these for the brackets. Brackets I picked a design and then we measured out how big we wanted them. I knew I wanted them slightly shorter than the actual shelf. The shelves were 10 inches wide, so we made them about 9 1/2 inches. The brackets consisted of two pieces of connected at 90 degrees, squared off. Its an L shaped bracket with an angled piece connecting the two. My husband actually built the brackets. I think he can do a slightly better job than I can.
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
We ended up needing 6 brackets total. It took my husband about 1 hour to put these together. We then attached them to the walls, measuring them out according to the size of the shelves. we used just regular screws and made sure we were connecting with a stud. That could go two different ways:)
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
My main assignment was stripping and sanding the shelves. The wood I was working with was covered with a dark brown paint. It had multiple coats and was aged and chipping. I looked through the planks I had brought home and picked the two with the best characteristics for this project. I didn't want very many splits in them, but they had some old holes where bolts were connected and I liked that.
I headed out to my trusty True Value store to grab some more belt sander replacements. When I arrived home, I for the life of my could not figure out why the belt would not fit! Little did I know that they came in different sizes and I had grabbed one that was too big. Hey, I never claimed to be an expert at everything. Finally home, with the correct belt installed, I set to it.
I spent about 1 1/2 hours sanding the old paint off the boards and smoothing them out a bit. I made sure to wear a mask since I wasn't sure what kind of paint I was dealing with. Immediately after the sanding began, you could see the beautiful wood grain and character of it. Happy Dance, yes. This is what it looked like after I was done sanding them.
My main assignment was stripping and sanding the shelves. The wood I was working with was covered with a dark brown paint. It had multiple coats and was aged and chipping. I looked through the planks I had brought home and picked the two with the best characteristics for this project. I didn't want very many splits in them, but they had some old holes where bolts were connected and I liked that.
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
I then had to decide how I wanted to finish them. I tried a few different options. picked a piece of wood and tried a wax on one part, Tung Oil on another section, and last I applied poly-acrylic. I was not sure if I wanted to leave the wood in its natural state or bring out the grain of the wood. They were all quite similar, but the Tung Oil won out. It gave the wood a bit of color and warmed the shelves up a bit without having to stain and try to match the wood to other things in my home.
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
MAKE SURE YOU WEAR GLOVES!
Once I was done oiling them, I let them dry for a few hours. The instructions say about 12 hours, but when have I been that patient. Besides, it was outside, on a warm, dry day.
My next task was to paint the shelf brackets. I gave them a light sanding and cleaned them up. The paint I decided to use was my favorite white. It is a True Value color, right off the shelf called Antique White. I keep a gallon or two hanging around just in case.
Now, Ill tell you a little secret. I have been wanting to repaint my walls in this color for quite a while so I decided now was the time to start. No sense in telling Lance. That would only cause him stress. So I painted the main wall that the shelves were hung on. But that is all for right now. I have a system for how I do this stuff. I plan on blogging my painting habits soon.
how i built reclaimed wood shelves, dining room ideas, diy, repurposing upcycling, shelving ideas, wall decor, woodworking projects
Here is a peek at the finished product! I would love it if you would stop by my blog and see the rest!!
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Sara Syrett

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1 question
  • Susan
    on Feb 3, 2017

    checked your blog before asking... the brackets? are they 2 x 2's ? I'm in the process of doing all the finish work in my home (drywall, shelves, kitchen cabinets, bathroom shelves etc. etc.) so I have a ton of pieces 2 x 4, 2 x 2, 1 x 3 etc. Just wondered what you used - as it appears it would fit my style and BUDGET! lol

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  • Denise M
    on Nov 6, 2018

    Fantastic! I want at least 3 shelves on my small walk thru laundry room just and a couple of large appliances that take up too much roomoff my kitchen. Need a place to store crock pots, large soup pots, and other applliances. HZope you don't mind if I copy your design! I love it! We're all about recycling wood!



  • Joanie
    on Dec 3, 2018

    These are beautiful shelves. You did a great job.!! Get down in them junk piles, there is a lot to be restored or fixed up, like you've done. You're 1 lucky dog to have a junk pile!! It's like diggin' for gold......lol.

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