Monday, April 16, 2012

Shelf Construction Part Two

OK kids this is the post that makes the last one make sense (especially the pictures). Yesterday we made a pair of ladder framed uprights for the end pieces of our shelves.They are wider at the bottom and the front slants back to make the upper shelves more narrow as we go up. This makes for a stable shelf assembly with a low center of gravity. We also made a back panel to keep our uprights, well, upright.

Today we are going to assemble the frame and make the shelves themselves. Match up your two uprights so the rungs line up. Then take a big framing square and mark where to trim your feet so they sit flat on the tabletop. This also ensures that the back post of your upright stands vertically and does not lean to the front or back. Sand, file or whittle a small bevel around each foot. This really helps keep them from splintering as you drag them around.

Clamp your back panel BETWEEN your uprights and trim to match your uprights. Putting it between the uprights helps keep the frame from racking side to side. Drill through your back posts and back panel posts for 1/4 "x 3 1/2" carriage bolts, fender washers, and wingnuts that hold the pieces together. Alternately, you could hinge the uprights to the back panels but I think the carriage bolts allow less wiggle.This completes the frame.

I used fence boards for my shelves. I cut them 6" longer than the frame so there is 3" overhang at each end. They are 5/8" thick and need stiffening if you span more than 3 feet with them.( If you buy nominal 1" cedar planks you do not need stiffeners.) The stiffeners are just strips of cedar 1 1/2" wide and stood on edge then glued and stapled to the rear of each shelf. If you cut them to fit between the back panel posts, they will help brace the whole frame and keep the shelves from sliding if someone bumps them. I also included a simple system to display plates on the bottom shelf. Just look at the picture and you'll see how it works.

All in all, the finished unit is stiff enough to get the job done without sagging or wiggling too much if you set it up on a level table. My guess is that it weighs about 20 pounds total and it assembles with 4 wingnuts. It looks good now and a few dings and scratches won't even show on this surface. The roughsawn finish of the shelves will also keep my pots from sliding around. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your shelves.


  1. Now that would look just fine in my kitchen, never mind on a stall!!

  2. that would be great in the kitchen!
    Looks great-thanks!


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