I have received some amazing dolls in swaps and they were tucked into various nooks, crannies, and hidey holes all over my craft room. I wanted to be able to admire them easily and needed a display shelf.
We converted our fireplace to a wood burning stove insert a couple of years ago and the old mantle had to go. It sat out side for a few seasons and was supposed to be cut up and disposed of, but it just sat there and peeled and weathered.
I finally took a crowbar and hammer to it to pry off the top shelf part of the mantle. It was home made and had lots of big honkin' nails holding it together. The wood was gray, cracked and there were spots of dry rot.
I sanded, scraped, chipped out bad wood and finally remembered my heat gun and got the rest of the paint off. I filled the holes including one big one on one side. I still wanted a bit of a used look so I didn't get too crazy with the filler. I purchased some wood shelf supports and aged them as well.
A couple of coats of shellac to seal the formerly mildewed wood, a couple of coats of primer and a couple of coats of paint and there was my new shelf. I hung it high on the wall over my sewing machine and now all the dolls smile down on me...ok the Junker Jane doll has a bit of a snarl, but she's still grateful.
And a pic of the before, after rescue from the elements.