Need a long, strong attractive shelf. Advise please?
I am building a new house and am finally getting really close. I need to build a shelf to display antique pottery. It's pretty heavy stuff. The shelf will be 16' long. The problem is....there is an 8'-6" wide area right below the proposed shelf where is a triple wide french door which means I can't use brackets under the shelf to hold it up. I thought about making it a floating shelf, but worry about the strength. So what about putting the shelf brackets on the top side? I can paint them to match the wall so they won't be so noticable. I planned on making the shelf out of a 1x12 or plywood and putting a decorative oak molding on the front edge (which will also give it strength and rigidity).
So I guess my question is....can I use normal shelf brackets on the top of the shelf to support it? Would it help to get steel strips made to go on the bottom side of the shelf below the brackets and sandwich the shelf wood in between the bracket and the strip...using nuts and bolts to attach them instead of just screwing the bracket to the wood? Do they make brackets that were designed to hang a shelf rather than to support one from the under side? I worry that the forces on the bracket are in a different direction than it was designed for.
thanks in advance!