How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving

How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving

You know when you have a wonderful idea, but for one reason or another it takes you seventeen years to implement that idea, and when you finally do make it happen, everyone else and their mother has already implemented that idea or is in the process of implementing that idea – so it looks like you’re just joining the herd?

That’s been my luck with this project.

Good thing gallery rails are far more classic than a momentary trend!

Gallery rails are commonly attached on top of shelving, cabinets and mantles as a decorative detail that can also prevent any items from falling. My obsession with gallery rails began 5 ago, when I came across an antique federal-style desk on Marketplace that had a brass gallery rail along the back perimeter.

The desk, unfortunately, was out of my budget – I’m talking thousands of dollars – but that didn’t stop me from dreaming about adding this beautiful brass gallery rail to every desk, chest of drawers, dresser, sideboard, credenza and shelf.

The problem? I couldn’t find a source for the various brass parts. For one, it took quite some time to figure out the technical name for this type of hardware. But once I discovered that it was called a gallery rail, my search picked up pace.

After much research and comparisons, I purchased my brass gallery rail parts from a company called Paxton Hardware, because 1) They had the best pricing. 2) I liked their selection the most. 3) Ground shipping was free on orders over $99.

Speaking of cost, my order totaled $113.48, and before you cry out, “THAT much for a couple pieces of metal?!” allow me to point out that this seemingly small detail has had an undeniable effect on the overall feel of the Greystone kitchen. The brass detail elevated the shelves to a whole new level, taking them from basic to charming, custom, nostalgic, high-end.

How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving

Materials and Tools

  • Brass Gallery Rail
  • Measuring Tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Hacksaw
  • E6000 Clear Adhesive

How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving

General Information

First, the gallery rail system consists of two main components: shelf rail posts and brass rods. Posts can be 1) center posts, 2) end posts, 3) corner posts, or 4) wall mount posts. If the brass gallery rail will run along the front of your shelving, use end posts or wall posts on each end, and center posts in the middle. If the brass gallery rail will run along the front and sides of your shelving, use corner posts and end posts.

Posts should be spaced equally across the front. Typical spacing between posts is 8-12″ apart. The open shelving in the Greystone kitchen are actually two different lengths because of the appliance garage in the corner. So on one of the shelves, the spacing was approximately 9 inches, and on the other it was about 9.5″. This small change is not noticeable to the eye. Please note, however, that if your shelves have a difference bigger than 1-2″ then the difference will be more noticeable.

Moving onto the rods, they come in 36- and 72-inch lengths. If your project requires more than 36″ of rod, I recommend purchasing the 72-inch rod rather than two of the 36-inch rods. It’s less costly that way. If the 72″ rod is not long enough for your application, you can joint it to another rod inside of a post.

For this project, I used four end posts, two center posts, and a 72″ rod that I cut down to necessary lengths.

How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving


  1. Determine the layout of your brass components. The post base diameter is 5|8″, and posts should be approximately 1|2″ from the edge. Mark the locations of the posts on the shelf.
  2. Using the measuring tape, measure the length of your shelf. Mark the correct length on the brass rod using masking tape, so you know where to cut.
  3. Using a hacksaw, cut the brass rod to the necessary length.
  4. Slide the posts on the rod.
  5. Apply a small amount of E6000 Clear Adhesive to the bottom of each post and position the posts on the shelf using the markings you made in step 1.
  6. Allow the adhesive to cure between 24 and 72 hours.

How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving


How to Add Brass Gallery Rail to Open Shelving

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