How to Put a Plate Groove in a Shelf

Updated February 21, 2017

Plate displays can be an attractive addition to your home. But to prevent the plates from sliding off the shelf, cutting a groove into the shelf is necessary. With the right tools you can make quick work of this project.

Measure 2 inches out from the back edge of the shelf at both ends of the shelf and make a pencil mark at each location.

Place a straightedge or yardstick on the shelf, connecting the two marks. Trace a line along the edge with the pencil.

Set a router to make a U-shaped groove, 1/4-inch deep. Place the router at one end of the shelf and cut along the line to the other end.

Sand any rough edges along the groove with fine sandpaper.


Depending on the angle you wish the plates to be, the distance in the first step can be increased or decreased.


Use care when working with any power tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler
  • Router
  • Fine sandpaper
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About the Author

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.