The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Baptist Church Shelves

The Fairbury Baptist Church is building a new youth center room. They asked me to design and build some new shelving units, using the "Industrial Look".  The example they gave me came from this web site.

The example used 3/4" black iron pipe and fittings.  I designed the Baptist Church unit using Google Sketchup.


I tried to use 3/4" BOP nipples that were in standard 1" length increments, since they are readily available. On the out pipe supports, the long nipples will have to be custom lengths to match the over-all lengths of the 2 inside pieces. For these custom pieces, I will order nipples to the next larger 1 inch length increment, then cut them off and thread them some more using my pipe cutter and threader.

The top shelf will be 11 inches wide and 3/4"thick red oak. The rest of the shelves are 10-3/4" wide and 3/4" thick.  To get the 11 inch width I will glue up 2 of the 5.5 inch wide red oak boards from Menards. The stain and polyurethane will be the same as I used on the Baptist cabinets.

I bought the Tees, flange plates, and some short 3/4" nipples from Bloomington Menard's.  I bought the rest of the pipe from McMaster-Carr. Here is the standard lengths available from McMaster-Carr......

Bill of Material (BOM)

Here is my BOM for the parts for the shelves

Making Wide Shelf Boards

Below is a photo of the standard 5.5" wide boards glued up to form the wide shelves.  Once they are dried, the plan is to run them through my Delta 18" wide drum sander to remove the mis-match at the glue joints.  The final thickness will be a little under 3/4", but that is ok for shelving. One of the long 8 ft glued up boards will be sawn into two 40" long shelves, to net the two short shelves needed.

Removing Glue Joint Mis-Match

This is always my most difficult part. No matter how much I try, there is always some mis-match at the glue joint that must be removed. One option is the belt sander. It is noisy, quickly plugs the belt, and you tend to make depression marks.

If the stock is less than 12.5 inches wide, the planer is an option [because the max width the planer will handle is 12.5 inches].  The only problem with the planer is the snipe  you get at both ends. Ideally, if you can make the boards at least 3 inches longer on each end, than the finished length dimension, you can saw off the snipe marks......otherwise you have to sand them out with the belt sander.

A new option is the 18" wide Delta sander. The problem with it is the drum tends to dig in at certain spots, creating a divot across the boards.  It also creates end snipe marks as well.

I should have used the planer on these 11 inch wide shelf boards, since they were less than the 12.5" limit.  For some reason, I decided to use the Delta 18" wide sander.  My first belt came loose, I created divot marks, and had end snipe.  Since one side of the boards will be on the bottom of the shelf, I decided I could live with the divot marks.  On future jobs less than 12.5 inches I should use the planer.  I did use the planer for the two short 40" shelves, and I could leave enough extra stock at the ends, to saw off the snipe marks.

I still don't fully understand how to best use the Delta 18" wider sander. I should probably be using 60 not 120 grit to smooth the mis-match at the glue joints.  The amount of stock removal is also very sensitive to how far you turn the crank. 1/4 turn of the crank is probably too much, causing the digging in and divot  spots.

Building the Shelves at the Church

Closing Thoughts on This Project

To mark the holes to drill for the 3/4" pipe, I placed carbon paper between the top of the nipple and the oak board...........then smacked a scrap piece of pine laying on top of the oak shelf. This left a great circle mark.  I drilled the center of the circle with an 1/8" bit, then drilled from both sides using an 1-1/8" Forstner bit.  This method worked great.

I guess on future projects, my design is adaptable to placing the shelf assy on 16" center studs, or not use the studs to attach the pipe to........and add small pieces of oak under each shelf.......that are screwed to the studs.

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