2016 Management/Self Retrospective (Permalink)

1/21/2017, 10:17:52 AM

In order to better myself, I'm trying to keep written notes of my progress as an engineer and manager. The goal is to write about lessons I've learned, skills i've gained, or observations i've made so far, and build on that year after year. I wrote my first entry of this series in my github. Please take a look! If you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know.

Housework - Floating Shelves (Permalink)

3/5/2016, 11:12:9 PM

When we were buying furniture for our last apartment, we got a table that had a arrived with a dented corner. We were able to get a replacement tabletop, and was even able to keep the damaged tabletop. We've saved the piece, and found the perfect time to use it - to create shelves on the wall of our new condo.

I was partially inspired by a video from Frank Howarth, where he built floating shelves for his kitchen ( To attach it to the wall, my plan was to drill 1/2 in. holes into studs on wall, then stick 1/2 in. aluminum rods in to hold up the shelves.

The first step was to take the fairly large table top, and cut it in half. Without any tools, I brought it to Home Depot and asked the building materials associate if he could cut it, and he cut in half for free!

Being my first actual project that could damage the condo, I wanted to practice on some test pieces. I got 2x4s and aluminum rods from Home Depot. First off, I cut the aluminum to length - I took the length of the 2x4, drywall, and the shelf to get a rough 9 in. length

Using a hacksaw to cut the aluminum

I drilled some test holes, and tested the fit of the aluminum.

Test fit of the aluminum in the 2x4

I did a fitting of the shelf on the test 2x4 to get a feel how the shelf will stand. The table conveniently had a lip, which will naturally cover the aluminum rod ends

Test fit of the shelf on the rods

I used electrical wire conduits to attach the shelf to the alumninum rods. I unfortunately couldn't find 2-screw conduits of the diameter that I needed, but 2 conduits worked fine for each rod.

Trying out the shelf-rod connection

Finally the scary part - I found the studs, measured the height, and drilled the holes.

Drilled into the wall

I did not use any adhesive to keep the rods in. We never plan to put much load on the shelves, or pull on them very often, so I didn't think it was necessary

Final outcome

Overall the shelves look great - Because it's from our furniture set, it matches exactly with all of our living room furniture. I may want to cover the bottoms of the shelves, perhaps with sheets of aluminum.

Of course, shout out to Julia Luo for all of the plush that's on the shelves!