plant shelf

A plant shelf. I had a lighting fixture in my old apartment that was essential to keep my plants alive in overcast PNW winters, but didn't have anything that it would fit on after I moved last year. I couldn't find anything online that was over six feet long and looked good, and am a (very) amateur woodworker, so I built this 7' long narrow bookshelf. I designed it in Fusion 360 (model download), built it in red oak, and finished with satin polyurethane. Project cost was around $120.

I knew I didn't want any visible screws or bolts. Joints are screwed and glued; pocket-holes in the front, and screwed through on the rear. This was my first time drilling pocket holes, using a cheap Kreg Pocket Hole Jig from Lowes. It was good enough for this project, but not very precise and the drill bit wanted to walk.

Shelves are held in place with threaded inserts. It was also my first time using them; something I didn't like was the fact that they stand off slightly from the wood, which left a slight gap where the top shelf should sit flush atop the legs. I used the hand hex bit included with the inserts, which lasted just long enough to get the 12 inserts in before it stripped out. A commenter online suggested using a proper hex bit and an impact driver; I'd definitely opt for that next time I use these.

Not pictured in the model, some cross-pieces were needed in the rear for stability. I just clamped them in place, marked, and cut. The shelf is quite solid now.

When reassembling the shelf at home, the bolts I got at Lowes were not catching in the inserts, and I could see the threads getting stripped. I was worried I had stripped the inserts themselves, but one Amazon envelope later I had new bolts that were holding snugly. For my next project I'll need to do some research on the right place to get this kind of hardware.

Image of the completed shelf

I'll replace this with a nicer picture once it's sunny outside and seeds are sprouted.