Live Natural Edge Shelves With Steel Brackets

This is a step by step way to make steel brackets for live edge shelves. There are many ways to make the brackets, some times I make them out of wood, but this time I used some steel I had in stock in my shop. Materials that I used are 2″x 3/8″ flat bar, 1/2″ steel pipe, 2″x#8 wood screws, and some black Tremco hammered look paint.

Materials used to make live edge steel shelf brackets.
Flat steel bar and pipe

First thing I need to do is layout where the holes are going to be drilled, then where the pipe stubs are to welded. I cut the flat bar and the pipe on the band saw, then used the hand grinder to get the sharp edges off.

preparing steel for welding.
Cleaning up the steel

Now it’s time to drill 4 – 3/16″ holes in each flat bar. I also contersunk the holes with a 5/16″ drill bit.

drilling holes in steel for brackets.
Drilling holes in steel flat bar.

Now the welding begins. But not before we layout our marks on the steel so we get everything inline and straight. I keep the 3 flat bars tight together and use soapstone to draw the mark straight across all 3 bars. For the live edge slabs to sit flat, the pipes need to be welded all in a straight line, and be plunb and square. First the pipes are tacked with the mig welder to the flat bar. Then they need to be checked with a square. After the pipes are nice and straight it’s time to weld them on solid to the flat bar.

Welding live edged shelf brackets.

After the welding and the steel is cooled down I spray painted them with Tremco Hamered black paint. This paint works great for small projects like this, and it dries in around 10 minutes. Almost done, we need to make some marks on the wall now so the brackets will be level and straight. Now it’s time to screw the new steel brackets on the wall. This wall happens to be 1 inch thick pine, so I don’t need to find the wood studs. The #8 wood screws screwed into the 1 inch pine should be strong enough to hold my shop books and some wood turnings.

Installing live edge shelf brackets
Mounting steel brackets on the wood wall.

The live edge shelves are now installed on the Pine wall. I used 1″-1/4″ live natural edge Cherry wood that I cut on my sawmill last spring. The boards are not screwed to the brackets, I may do this later on. Black Cherry is one of my favorite woods to work with, it also gets darker with age. There are many ways to make brackets to hold and mount wooden shelving, the track brackets can be used with no welding involved, or you could make the brackets from wood. There are many times I use metal and wood together to build a project, it just depend on what I feel like useing at the time.

Live edge black cherry live edge shelves with steel brackets.
Cherry wood live edge shelves.

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