Changing furniture sometimes requires modifications to the room and when I received Oliver Clarke’s amazing OOAK stove I knew something had to be done. The Roper stove I removed offered a lot of display space. What to do?
I considered a hanging pot rack but I have one in Crown Jewel Manor and it displays pots and pans nicely, but not much else. On the Roper stove I had a utensil holder, spices, a bean pot, etc and I liked the character of having kitchenware on display. To achieve that, I needed shelves, but what kind of shelves?
How could I realistically display my cooking utensils on a shelf? A cook doesn’t reach up to pluck a whisk from a utensil holder sitting on a shelf over a stove. That’s when the idea of “S” hooks came to me. I had used them in Crown Jewel Manor for copper ladles and spoons and imagined shelves with utensils hanging from “S” hooks and a box of matches, a few pots and maybe an old tin sitting atop the shelf.
With this loose plan in mind, I rummaged through my stash to see what I had to work with. First I had to decide on the wood and this was easy. With shiplap on the walls any planked wood would be a good match and I had leftover sheets of Midwest grooved flooring (the same flooring I used to create the wardrobe shelves in Bob’s room; see previous post). With the grooved side on top, I cut the flooring to the desired length and sanded the side edges and front edge to slightly round (bull nose) the edges.
Next, I found a bag of wood brackets but they were a bit too long. Using my Easy Cutters I sliced off the thickness on one side of the bracket and did the same for the other, ensuring they were both the same size. Perfect!
Next, I had to decide what to use for the bar to hang the utensils on and how to attach it. I had wood dowels but they were too thick for the micro size “S” hooks I had so I kept searching the Imaginarium and came up with thin brass rods. I purchased the rods many years ago at a hobby shop, intending to use them as brass arms on mini chandeliers. To my surprise, they were not hollow as the shopkeeper said, and therefore unsuitable for chandelier making. Each measures 12″ in length and approximately 2mm in thickness. Thicker than wire and very strong. I used heavy duty wire cutters to snip the rods to the desired length.
Using my pin vise (hand drill) I drilled holes into the brackets and inserted the rods. This was a bit tricky as I had to ensure both holes were proportional in each bracket, otherwise the bar would be crooked. I opted not to glue the rods in, in case I ever wanted to slide them out in future to remove them.
At this stage I had a loose shelf and two brackets connected by a brass rod. Deciding whether to paint or stain was a challenge. In the end I opted to stain because I thought the paint would look too stark against the natural stone. I can always change this at a later date… you can paint over stain, you can’t stain wood through paint.
Next I glued the brackets to the bottom of the shelf. I left the rods in place to ensure the precise placement of the brackets on the shelf and aligned the back end of the brackets with the back edge of the shelf. The decision to attach the brackets before staining was intentional… glue does not adhere to varnish and the stain markers I use are small and flexible enough to get into tight spaces.
For stain, I used my trusty Varathane markers! I love this stain because it’s consistent, there are no fumes and it does not fade as the others I had tried. For this project I chose cherry to match the other furniture in the room. Working from left to right, I swiped the shelf from side to side in one stroke to keep the stain uniform. To ensure the best adhesion when gluing the shelves to your wall, do not stain the back of the bracket where it will contact the wall! Leave it bare. One of the great things about these markers is you can varnish the wood right away!
I signed and dated each shelf in an inconspicuous area and used a soap and water cleanup satin varnish.
When the varnish was dry (15 minutes) I sanded the surface of the shelf lightly and added the final coat of varnish. I then repeated the process and made an identical shelf. In this next photo you can better see the grooves on the top of the shelves.
The biggest challenge to this project was attaching the shelves to the stone wall feature! Each shelf had to be permanently attached to the wall to ensure it would not fall off… and destroy the minis on the shelves. First, I dry fitted the shelves to determine their placement… the protrusion of the stones (and the recesses in between) were the deciding factor. I had to ensure the shelves were level and spaced evenly apart and that I had a solid area behind each bracket to glue the brackets on. This was not an easy feat!
Next I had to choose a glue. Liquid Nails seemed like the best option but the viscosity was too thick… it would have oozed out from behind the shelf edge creating globs above and below the shelf. Being a perfectionist, that was not an option.
Ultimately I mixed Quick Grip with a tiny bit of LocTite and it held beautifully! I used a paper plate to mix the two with a cocktail stick and applied the mixture to the back edge of the shelves and bracket with a needle tool. Not all edges of the shelves abutted with stone but the brackets did and that ensured the adhesion is rock solid.
The result, as you can see, offers tons of display and storage space! One of the great things about “S” hooks is you can add and remove them depending on what you want to hang and when and because I did not glue the rods into the brackets, I can slide them out at any time.
The shelves however are going nowhere. They’re rock solid and I don’t have to worry about them falling on Oliver Clarke’s amazing OOAK stove!
The kitchen in Bob’s House is beginning to look lived in and I am taking special care to outfit it with everything a mini cook would need to prepare meals. My father would be proud of the detail… he loved to cook and I plan to fill the kitchen with foods he loved to make but first I need to find my set of J. Getzan knives. My father had only the very best kitchen knives. He took excellent care of them and taught us how to care for them and treat them with respect to avoid injury. He always said a kitchen was not a kitchen without a set of good, sharp knives. Wise advice from a sharp man!
Next up, A Fascinating (True) Story Of How A 19th Century Sea Captain Makes His Way Into Bob’s House!
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IGMA Artisan Robin Brady-Boxwell