Building Frank Lloyd Wright Shelves

Hi,
Many of the FLW houses have built-in shelves that from the pictures, do not seem to have much in the way of support. I remember reading a magazine article a while ago that described one way to build them - the shelves were built like torsion boxes with the rear part hollow. The upper and lower layers of the torsion box slipped over a horizontal batten that was bolted to the wall. The shelf was then nailed or screwed onto the batten.
Could someone who has seen the shelving in houses please comment on how they were constructed?
Thanks, Nick
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I've just been checking out this design myself. Ace Hardware published an ad with a picture of them and generated an incredible number of requests for plans. Their plans are at http://www.acehardware.com/info/index.jsp?categoryId 00489&infoPath00488. Popular Woodworking magazine followed up with an article called "Magic Shelves" by Steve Shanesy in the April 2000 issue pp. 40-44.
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Nick queried:

If I'm thinking of the right Wright shelves you're referring to, they are what I call "floating" shelves; they've also been referred to as "playtex" shelves (no visible means of support).
About a year ago I asked a question similar to yours when I was looking to build a small shelf for a bud vase. My shelf is made of solid wood, rather than as a torsion box, but the concept is similar.
Basically what I did was get 3/4" x 1/4" flat steel stock at the hardware store. From the back side I drilled and countersunk holes every 4-5" for 3/8" X 4" flathead screws. From the front side I drilled and countersunk holes to screw the steeI batten to studs in the wall. I drilled holes corresponding to the screws into the back of the shelf. Then I routed a 3/4" X 1/4" groove on the back of the shelf (the shelf itself is 1 1/4" thick) for the steel stock to hide in. The steel batten is screwed to the wall and the shelf is slipped on to the protruding 3/8" screws.
In hindsight, for the size of shelf I made the steel was probably overkill (I began to think that as I was trying to get the holes drilled through it). The shelf is only 18" long and supports only a few ounces of extra weight besides the shelf itself. But for bigger shelves intended to hold serious weight, it's probably a good idea.
Hope this helps,
Ian
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (Ian Dodd) writes:

[...]
Wouldn't it be much simpler (and as stable) just to drill some deep holes into the shelf (from the back face that goes to the wall), put some threaded rods into plugs in the wall (or in a non-stone wall screw them into studs) and just push the shelf onto the threaded rods, with maybe a very small wedge to keep it fixed>
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Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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