I have an angled shelf I'd like to remove from an old built-in unit in the house. However, I can't see how it is secured. It is solid wood and is very sturdy. Appears to be some glue at the seams (last pic). Attached are some pictures. Would like to do the least amount of damage possible.

https://ibb.co/BNXqQQt https://ibb.co/7pBgcXN https://ibb.co/8PznNJD https://ibb.co/D72Ypvn

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  • Welcome to Stack Exchange. Thanks for taking our tour. The pix are a little fuzzy and don't really help in understanding the situation. Maybe a clear picture of the total unit and one showing the supports below the shelf would help.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 15:46

3 Answers 3


You can not remove this shelf without damage

In fact, the shelf itself would need to be destroyed to not damaged the supporting edge pieces. Even then, there will be a 'scar' where the shelf was attached.

To remove it, I suggest cutting a section out of the middle of the shelf about 1 to 2 inches wide to split the shelf into two pieces to create room to work and create pieces that you can leverage on and work off the connection. Then use up and down, and in and out motions to work out the shelf, being careful to minimize the damage to the sides and back.

Once the shelf is removed then it will be able to determine how it was attached which may include glue (we can see some in the picture) and dowels, or screws or similar. It might be necessary to cut off the screws since they can't be pulled through without causing damage.

Then it is about prettying it up as best as possible. The location where the shelf was will have a mark and more than likely that wood is not stained, rather the entire unit was finished after it was built. The options to address this are varied based on more subjective things such as how you want it to look when finished.


Hard to tell how it's attached without taking it apart. It can't be just glue, so there must be something else. Could be dowels. Could be screws (in which case, the heads might be visible on the other side of the upright, where the piano book is sitting)

That shelf is a permanent part of the house, it wasn't built to be removable. It's going to be really difficult to remove, and there's no way to avoid leaving ugly scars behind. If I were you, I'd just leave it.

If you insist, then maybe you could use a flush-cut saw (and hope there aren't any screws or other metal in there).


Thanks for the responses. Turned out well enough (the worst part is the wallpaper that is a different color now). I used the flush cut saw to remove the front piece to see what i was dealing with. The shelf was in a groove. Cut the shelf in two with a circular saw. One side came out with a hard pull. The other had 3 screws in so I had to pry it out with a little elbow grease. Much better use of space. Thanks for your help! enter image description here

  • 1
    Choose the answer that best helped you and mark it as correct.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 20:33

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