A long while back, I was at IKEA [surprise ... I should just live there. They have beds], and I bought a pair of their brackets with the intention of using them to create a mantle over my fireplace. Except that when I got home I found out that there weren't holes drilled in the brick on the other side of the fireplace. I may have the world's most gracious landlords, but drilling into the brick wasn't on the list of alterations to the apartment, no matter how many holes in the walls I'm allowed to make. And I just don't have the kind of drill that will bore through brick. I've had the brackets for close to two years now, and I'm finally going to do the obvious thing and make a book shelf. Because the actual bookshelf is loaded down with crafting, art, quilt... you get the idea. No books actually occupy the shelves, they sort of sit on top of the shelf, and the children's books live in a bin. To say nothing of the DVD's. Which don't even live here right now.
The brackets have an arm depth of 10 inches, so they will hold a shelf that is at least 12 inches deep. Rather than cart around a 12 inch wide board, which would be heavy, I decided to work smart and got for two pieces of board that could be taken apart in the inevitable event that I move out. My very awesome friend Bill has offered to cut biscuit holes in the sides so they can be fitted together, which will lend some stability. [Bill, incidentally, has the sort of drill and bits that will bore through brick; THOR is molded into the metal casing - I can't make this up] Picking out lumber at a big box store can be risky business. Not that this is a particularly high quality project or anything, but still. Maybe I was spoiled by wood furniture 1 and 2, getting to hand select rough cut lumber from independent mills and then hand milling my own wood. I was crazy excited when I found a piece of poplar with bird's eye stippling, and another with tiger stripes and spalting, which is when a type of fungi grows in the tree and creates any kind of coloration in the wood. I did manage to contain myself. [Girly squealing in the middle of Big-Box lumber store? Yeah right.] My boards did start to warp the minute I brought them out of the store, but then there was a temperature difference of about 20 degrees from inside to out. It was maybe 95 F outside that day. I'm not even going to guess what the humidity difference was. Thankfully, I know people with the sorts of tools to help me deal with that kind of problem.
Hanging shelves is also risky business because you really should hang them from the studs and not just install butterfly wall anchors, especially if the shelves are going to hold anything heavier than a handful of pocket change. Since the whole purpose of my shelf is to be a bookshelf, they're going to need to hold some serious weight, so I'm going to need to find the wall studs and anchor the brackets to those with some very long screws/nails. Which involved a fair amount of banging on the walls, since I'm not going to buy one of those "find the wall stud" gadgets. I started measuring in the corner of the room with a yardstick and banged on the wall until I didn't hear a hollow sort of noise - my yardstick told me the room was framed with 16" on center studs. The bracket on the right side of the picture was super easy to find. The one on the left? Not so much.
I have a shelf for my books now. This is important because I read in bed and my actual bookshelf is occupied by crafting and sewing supplies. So it isn't really a book shelf.... it's a sewing and craft shelf. First world problems, books and craft supplies and blogs.