Upcycling,  Wood

Shelf on a cliff

It started as a simple, heavy-duty, chunky outdoor shelf, but it quickly became a project that couldn’t exist on its own. It was just too ugly. Because of the opening underneath it, all of its structure was exposed and it needed to be masked. I decided to use the decorative little fence I made just a few days earlier to cover up the massy pillar. As to that concrete post it was all attached to, it was part of a farm gate, I guess. It has a hook on the side and the area it adjoins to was a country road in the past. The boundaries changed but the post remained in the ground. The rest of the stone wall was removed but the post seemed to be a job too big for the builders who built the house and everybody who owned the property thereafter. Since it looked like the post was going to stay there forever, I decided to use it as a plant stand. On the left-hand side, I mounted a hanging basket and on the right-hand side, I built the shelf. Along with the decorative fence, it looked like a miniature picture of something that could’ve happened at the seashore. Of course, I had to use my imagination to see that, but it was strangely similar to a cliff created by ocean waves? Because of erosion, the cliff collapsed and some of the structures built on it went down and were washed away. The decorative fence is not continuous and it looks like a part of what was left by erosion. Anyways, this is what I see and that explains the shelf’s name.

I started by drilling an 8 mm hole in the horizontal part of the post. It didn’t have to be any specific spot, anywhere would do. I also drilled holes for the back support. All 3 holes were fitted with plastic wall plugs, I screwed in the front steel bracket and a wooden cleat at the back. For the front pillar, I used what I had on hand – a block of wood, predrilled and fixed with a screw. It was all levelled to some point, not perfectly straight in order to allow rainwater drainage.

Next, I cut the board to size. It was a 50 mm thick (2 inches) board that I saved for a special occasion. I cut it with my jigsaw and predrilled 3 holes. With the screws partially driven and their tips sticking out, I punched corresponding holes in the wooden parts already fixed to the concrete post and predrilled them. The shelf was temporarily screwed in but removed shortly to get its front corners rounded over.

The shelf looked OK, but its front pillar had to be covered up with some decorative detail. I thought about a wooden apron but very quickly I realised that what I needed was already good to go and that was the little fence. It was removed from the garden bench, trimmed, cut in half and nailed to the board.

A shelf on the cliff, made of reclaimed wood, repurposed little fence and attached to a disused concrete post. Super heavy-duty, I believe it would support any weight and it should last a good amount of time. Maybe one day it’ll get a coat of oil or paint, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the look of both raw and pressure-treated timbers in the garden. Sometimes it looks better when it’s a little rusty, mossed and old rather than shiny and pimped up.

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