Easy Shelving For Your Home
As we have often mentioned, our father was quite the wood worker. His shop was a sight to behold with tools of every size, shape and form. We once watched him convert a gorgeous old inlaid-wood, console television into a portable, glass-shelved bar cabinet. Whoops, sorry about that – we forgot – dad wanted it to be called “the glass cabinet.” Whatever floats your boat, dad! Anyway, not only was the conversion ingenious, the workmanship was nothing short of magnificent. Our father is gone but the cabinet still remains in our family.
To begin the conversion he removed the top of the cabinet and gutted the inside. Then he completely refinished the top – including the underside – and returned it to the cabinet as a hinged unit. He used special hardware that was capable of holding the heavy cover in the open position providing easy access from above. The television face panel that resided immediately behind the front doors became history when the entrails were removed. The cabinet ended up with a hinged top and a pair of doors in the front. They accessed a large open area that would be perfect once it was filled with several glass shelves.
We can remember watching him install two slotted metal channels on the inside of each side panel. He said they were called “shelf standards” and that they were perfect for creating an adjustable shelf system. He told us that small shelf-support brackets could be inserted into the slots and that they would provide support at either end creating sturdy adjustable shelves. The glass shelving was hefty quarter-inch safety-plate. It was really amazing. When the top and front doors were open the shelves glistened as light traveled from one opening to the other.
Isn’t it funny how you remember certain stuff? As years went on we remembered his creation and when we needed shelving we almost always turned to metal uprights.
Dad loved intricate projects that required patience, attention to detail and the hand of a master craftsman. But, the metal shelf brackets that he used on the inside of his glass cabinet proved to be one of the easiest and most efficient systems that we had ever seen at the time – or in the forty years since. You just can’t find a shelf system that is any easier to build. And don’t forget good looking and inexpensive too.
We don’t know anyone who wouldn’t love to have extra shelving somewhere in their home. Think about it for a second. How about an extra shelf or two over the washer and dryer to hold laundry products? Or, over the wet bar in the family room to hold glasses. What about in the home office to hold books or equipment. Inside closets, in the garage and on a bedroom wall, shelving gets the clutter off the floor and makes things easier to find?
Installing the uprights onto the wall with molly screws or toggle bolts is sufficiently sturdy for most loads. However, we think that the best installation occurs when the standards are screw-mounted directly into wall studs. Nothing could be stronger. With the latter installation the shelf brackets would probably break before the uprights would pull away from the wall.
Normal stud spacing for exterior walls is every sixteen-inches. And although there may be the same spacing on your interior walls, don’t be surprised if the interior studs in your home are spaced two-feet apart. To prevent shelf sagging and evenly distribute the load, the uprights should not be more than two-feet apart. Check your wall stud layout carefully with a stud sensor before beginning installation. Many walls contain randomly placed studs that can ruin your chance for a uniform layout.
The most important factor to remember when using metal uprights is that there is a pattern to the notch layout. If you intend on cutting shorter pieces from longer lengths make sure that the notches are all at the same distance from the cut. Then, be sure that the notch patterns all run in the same direction.
Begin installation by installing a screw at the top of the first upright. Leave the screw loose so that you can use the upright as its own plumb bob. This will help to make vertical installation a breeze. To find the plumb point simply swing the upright from side to side. Once it comes to rest make a mark and swing it again. When you are pretty sure you’ve found the right point, install the rest of the screws. You can then horizontally align each of the following standards with a level – placed one top to another.
Standard ninety-degree shelf brackets range in depth from six- to eighteen-inches. Angled brackets are also available that can be used for shoe racks or to hold magazines. Shelving can be stone, wood, glass, plastic, metal – you name it. Imagine this: two or three polished brass uprights mounted on a wall. Next, mirrors are placed on either side of the uprights and between them too. The mirrors bring the finished wall surface almost flush with the face of the uprights giving them a recessed appearance. To complete the project, half-inch thick, glass shelves are laid in place. Sexy huh!?!