Invisible Shelf Pins


Here’s a great way to add an elegant touch to your casework. Adjustable shelves offer flexibility when it comes to storage, but I prefer to clean up the look of adjustable shelves by making my own shelf pins and making them invisible. Notches in the shelf ends hide the pins. The captured pins also prevent the shelves from being pulled out by accident if your carcase is frameless.

Here’s how I make them:

I drill 3/16” x 3/8” deep holes in the cabinet sides for the pins. I like 3/16” because it is plenty strong and the smaller holes are less visible in the cabinet side. You will want to have about 5/8” of pin sticking out to support the shelves. So, each pin should be approximately 1” in length.

Cut 3/16” brass rod into 1” lengths. Brass rod is easily available at local hardware stores and home centers.


Shape the pin on a wheel grinder with the pin chucked in a drill. With the grinder running and the drill spinning in the opposite direction, lightly touch the end of the pin on the wheel and gently arc the drill through about 75-degrees (see second photo) to smooth and round the pin ends.

Shape_the_Pin Shape-the-Pin

Swing the spinning pin in an arc to round off and smooth the rough-cut pin ends.

Polish the pin with fine grit paper. Start at about 400-grit and work your way through the finer grits. 1200-grit will yield a nice satin finish. If you want brighter brass, continue on to a finer grit until you achieve the look you want.

polishing a pin with grit paper

Notch the shelf ends to capture the pins. Set the fence for the pin set back. I place a couple strips of tape as stop points for each cut. Two of the notches are cut from right to left as shown here. The other two are cut from left to right. That’s what the other strip of tape is for.

Notch Shelf_2

There you have it. Shop made shelf pins that are easy, inexpensive and invisible!

Give it a try.

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6 Responses to “Invisible Shelf Pins”

  1. William

    Sent as Bam error. I am unable to see any of the photos except the first one.

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  2. John Ewald

    I am starrting a walnut bedside night stand. This looks perfect for quality in a small space. God bless you for providing the knowledge.

    • Mary Bauer

      I am wondering if you are the same John Ewald who is a friend and master wood artist who lived in Brinnon Washington in the 90’s.