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1. Alcoves are a good place to put up shelves, there are two ways to do it: the ladder method and the ledger method. The ladder method is stronger than the ledger method and can be used across a wider span because shelves are more rigid.
2. Twin-slot brackets are the most flexible because they can be used anywhere.
3. Invisible screws can be used to make floating shelves to support heavy loads. Check the wall with a detector for wires and pipes before drilling. If the wall is a stud wall, drill into the studs.
If using ledger supports in an alcove, draw a level line around the alcove where you want the lower edge of the first shelf. Start with either the top or the bottom shelf.
Measure the line and cut a 2"-x-1" ledger to fit. Hold its top edge against the line and drill pilot holes. Install it in place (Image 1). You can miter the front end of ledger to make it less visible (Image 2).
Measure and cut two ledgers to extend from the ends of the back one to at least two-thirds of the shelf’s depth. Drill them in place.
Measure down (or up) to where you want the next shelf, and mark guide lines (Image 3). Cut and attach ledgers in the same way as for the first shelf.
Cut and position shelving material on the ledgers (Image 4). If walls are not square, scribe shelves to fit against them.
Nail each shelf to the ledgers every 10 in (250 mm) along the back and side edges (Image 5).
Measure for ledgers as done in the previous method, but cut two long ledgers instead of just one (one for the back and one for the front of the shelf). Cut short strips to fit between them at each end and roughly every 10 inches in between to create a ladder-like frame. Build the frame using butt joints, countersinking all the screws (Image 1).
Attach the frame to the wall at the back and along the sides of the alcove. Use screws suitable for the type of wall. Then attach the shelf to the frame by nailing it onto the ledgers at regular intervals. Hold a level across the shelf in between inserting screws, to ensure that the shelf is level (Image 2).
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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