© 2015 syd

Antique Oak Shelf

At the same house that we recovered the old growth pine from (read the last post here), there were also nice solid white oak flooring. Flooring has been reused as furniture in many different ways (mostly country style hutches or country style tables) but I wanted to use the flooring in a modern way. My client wanted to use the reclaimed lumber as a Tv stand so I took that idea and went for a long sleek floating shelf that sits under the television.

I saw that the story behind the lumber was the highlight of this design so I didn’t want that aspect to get lost. The flooring was put down sometime in the 30’s and the tree that produced those flooring had several decades of life before it was even cut down- so these oak boards have a rich history. To bring the idea that these boards were used as flooring in it’s past life, I laid the boards out like regular flooring- with boards butting into the next board at irregular intervals. The actual recovered flooring was too wide to create a harmonious layout, so I cut down all the boards down to create better proportions. To further highlight the flooring, I put a slight bevel around each boards.

The story is the most important part, so I wanted the design to promote guests to ask about it and have conversations about it. I went with three different tones for the flooring. This further makes the flooring concept more concrete and creates an eye-catching detail. I thought that if I left the shelf as a monotone oak shelf, then guests would just think to themselves “oh that’s cool, they used flooring to make a shelf”- not pursuing the thought any further. Instead, I wanted the reaction to be more like “whoa, what’s going on there?”- and then hopefully that would invite the guests to inquire more about it.

The shelf looks simple to make, but there’s some technical elements that needed to be thought out before hand. First, we didn’t want any exposed hardware, so everything had to be hidden. Second, the shelf ends up around seat height and anything placed at seat height invites people to take a seat whether you want them to or not. Also, with three kids running around, I needed something strong enough to withstand them jumping and hanging from them. The shelf support bracket that I installed came from A&M hardware and it’s designed to hold a tremendous amount of weight but also remain hidden. The only catch is that they have to be installed before the drywall goes on- which wasn’t a problem for us because I was called in before the new house construction was too far along. The final installation has a 1/4″ oak plywood on the bottom to hide the hardware and construction when someone looks underneath the shelf.

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