Sep 042018
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.

Before I made the Domino-supported shelf in this month’s other tip, I had a different foray into floating shelves.

Brenda and I have a treadmill in our shared home office. It doesn’t see much use, not for the usual American reason, but because we prefer to walk outdoors when the weather cooperates. However, if it’s raining when I arise at 4:45 AM, I need entertainment to help pass 45 minutes of drudgery. Walking outside is naturally entertaining. TiVo allows us to have our favorite shows at the ready. For me, that’s This Old House, New Yankee Workshop reruns and everyone’s favorite Highland Woodworking entertainer, Roy Underhill in The Woodwright’s Shop.

For years I had a bulky CRT television sitting on the desk, but, when it died, it made perfect sense to free up desk space and raise my viewing to head height on the treadmill. Looking down at the TV was always hard on the neck, and this was my chance to remedy that.

Requirement #1: Fill the space from the window to the wall. Requirement #2: Enough strength to support the television, speakers, TiVo Mini and a couple of remote controls. Requirement #3: It had to be cheap. No surprise there!

I’ve laid out the steps in the photo series below.

There were three studs I could access. Because I was putting 3/4″ dowels in 1-1⁄2″ studs, the centering had to be close to ideal. Also, the drill had to be perpendicular to the wall. Since the wall was almost perfectly plumb, I was able to use the level on the back of the DeWalt drill.

I had an untreated pine 2×6 that had enough depth and length to accommodate the TV, so I practiced with a little scrap first to ensure I could drill straight into it. The scrap fit well.

Once I had three dowels in the wall I was able to mark the exact spot to drill the shelf for perfect alignment. To square the shelf to the drill press, I had clamps everywhere! The middle hole was the easiest, and I could clamp a square front and back on the drill press table.

The next hole was a bigger challenge. The second square wouldn’t fit on the back for the squares to counteract each other. Also, working alone, I had to have support for the length of the board.

The end hole was the biggest challenge. It wouldn’t matter whether the first two were perfect if the board leveraged itself out of alignment and this hole was off. The “back” square even had to go sideways!

The dead blow hammer I’d just bought came in super handy, as the fit was really tight. We moved into this house 23 years ago this Thanksgiving. Brenda was able to find a quart of paint left over from painting our office. It hadn’t been touched in all those years. I took it to Sherwin-Williams and asked them to shake it. The fellow who greeted me seemed to be an experienced manager type. He looked at the can. He looked at me. He looked back at the can (which was in pristine condition, not a spot of rust on it). After a moment he said, “You’ve had this one a while, haven’t you? We haven’t made this line of paint in years and years.” I told him the story, and how all I needed was enough paint for the shelf and the wall adjacent to it. He cheerfully shook the can and even thanked me. Now, that’s customer service!


Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>