Build a Hemingway Shelf System with F2H's General Manager

Build a Hemingway Shelf System with F2H's General Manager

Ben, the general manager of Forest 2 Home, created this beautiful Hemingway shelf system out of 1 in x 6 in x 60 in White Oak. Follow along with the steps Ben has outlined to craft a Hemingway shelf of your very own.



  • White Oak 1 in x 6 in x 60 in
  • Tape measure
  • Stud finder
  • Hand drill or drill press
  • Hand sander or sanding block
  • Wood stain or wood finish if desired
  • Black iron pipe
  • Floor flanges
  • Black pipe couplings
  • Screws
  • Level
  • Bowl of chili!
  • Bluegrass music

Step 1: Decide where you want to put your shelf. Check the location of the wall studs.

Note: Studs are located 16” on center in standard framing) This is important to help determine the length of your shelf and the hole location for the pipe. If you can’t find the studs you can use dry wall screw inserts if needed.

Example: I want to build a 36” wide shelf. So, I will need to drill holes 2” in from the ends of the boards so that my mounting brackets align with the wall studs. (Stud to stud would = 32”) Remember wall studs are typically 16” on center.  You want a good anchor.

Step 2: Once you have decided how long to build your shelf you need to decide how many shelves you want and how high you want your build to be. You also need to decide how far apart each shelf is going to be. This will be important when you go to your local hardware store to purchase black pipe.

Example: I want to build the shelf 6’ High and I want 4 shelves. I would like the first shelf to be 12” off the floor. Each shelf would be 12” apart. This is important because now you know you need to buy 12” pieces of black pipe for the spacing.

Heming way open shelf assembly with industrial black pipe and natural grain wood

Step 3: Drill the holes in the boards for your pipe. Try to make the holes as small as possible to fit the pipe. If the hole is over size the shelves could rock a little.

Natural grain wood shelfs made with Forest 2 Home hardwood lumber

Step 4: Prep the boards for stain or for the finish you desire. Allow 24 hours for the finish to dry. 

Stained Red Oak Wood2 stains of coat on open shelving

Step 5: Measure the distance from the wall to mount the bottom floor flanges.

Step 6: Screw the floor flange to the floor and attach the first section of pipe with the coupling.

Stained Oak Wood being drilled with industrial black brackets

Step 7: Insert the next section of pipe and place the first board on the pipe.

Step 8: Repeat step 7 until your last shelf is attached.

Note: You might need an assistant to help keep the shelf stable until you can attach the top flange to the wall.

Step 9: Add the 90-degree elbow to the top of the last pipe.

Step 10:  Add your short section of pipe and top flanges.

Step 11: Screw top flanges to the wall.

Step 12: Decorate and enjoy.


Note: There are many ways to build this shelf system, but this is the easiest and least expensive approach, according to Ben. 

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