Spindle Shelf

Yay! A finished project! It may be a new one that I recently purchased materials for but at least its DONE! I do feel bad about my neglected items but I’m more excited about this piece. It’s pretty much on the top of my list of favorites. I built it all by myself (well, maybe a little help from my husband), but I could have done it solo 😉  I found the spindles in a surplus store and got the rest at Home Depot. It requires a little know-how around some power tools but it was pretty easy to accomplish.

Click here for the step by steps so you can build your own!

The totally awesome part about this project is that you can customize it to fit any place in your home. Any height, width, depth… the possibilities are endless. The first step is finding the spindles. I found mine unused at a surplus store but you can find them at any specialty hardware store. Or better yet, a salvage yard would be a good spot to look – reuse, renew!

Here’s a list to get you started:

• Spindles – 12 (or how ever many you’ll need for your piece)
• Planks of wood for the shelves – I used one 10″x1″x8′ piece of pine
• Screw Insert Nuts – 24
• Threaded Rods
• 4 Stud bolts with a wood screw at one end
• 4 top finials
• 4 bottom finials/feet – I used wood drawer knobs, big ones for the bottom and smaller ones for the top
• Measuring tape
• an Allan wrench
• a Power drill
• Power saw – circular, table, miter – whatever you’re most comfortable with
• Paint or stain
• Top coat – I used a paste finishing wax

I don’t want to get too detailed because you can do this a few different ways. There may be even easier ways than how I did it. I’m not a pro carpenter, but I knew I wanted this to be sturdy and this is what I ended up with.

1. Drill into each ends of the spindles far enough for the insert nuts to fit. (all except the the very top ends). You’ll have to match up the drill bit to whatever size inserts you got. Drill and use the same inserts into the bottom finials.

2. With a hack saw and a vice, measure and cut the threaded rods to fit the two inserts and the thickness of the wood for the shelves.

3. Cut your wood planks to the width you want. Then measure each corner for where to drill – I chose to have an eight of an inch of shelf around the spindle, so I measured the center of my spindle and then added the eight. Then mark from both sides to get it even. Drill using the same bit so the screw will fit nicely through it.
(Note: I put most of my shelf together to make sure I like the way everything was fitting. Then I took it apart to finish it)

4. I’m in love with the reclaimed wood look. My wood was pretty much new so to get it to look more worn, I first cleaned every piece with a sponge and mild soap and let it dry. Then I mixed some old brown, exterior, flat house paint that I had and a lot of water in a bowl. On a scrap piece of wood I used a clean rag and wiped the mixture on the wood. I found the effect I was looking for and finished the rest of the pieces this way. Like a stain. This technique only needed one coat.

5. I gave it an hour to dry and then applied the paste finishing wax with a clean cloth on all of the pieces; let that dry a few minutes and then wiped clean with another cloth.

(Note: This project would also look great stained or painted – whatever you want for your space)

6. Then start screwing everything together! Start with the bottom, of course and work toward the top. The top finials for my piece were too small for the screw inserts I used in the rest of the pieces so I opted to use a two-headed screw. I found one that fit into the finial and then the other side just screwed right into the spindle.

There you have it! A beautiful, custom shelving unit that you did yourself. For earthquake, and baby proofing, I screwed mine into the wall behind with an L-bracket. Safety first!

2 thoughts on “Spindle Shelf

  1. Thanks a lot for posting this! I just learned to turn wood on a lathe, and I've been looking around for projects to help me practice. I like the look of this shelf – I think I'll give it a try.


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