On Sunday, I built a shelf. A big shelf.

One of the interesting parts of our house is, what I have perceived to be, the lack of storage.  By that, I mean that there aren’t many shelves or closets in the house.  Around Christmas time, I put up a fair bit of shelving to finally unpack all of our books and DVDs  in the basement

Pre-built shelving is also pretty expensive when it comes down to it.  The big chunks of press board also start to deform under load – especially when they get deep.  I’d had my eye on doing some shelving in our laundry room for some time, so I went o Menards, bought five 2″x4″x8’s, three 1″x6″x8′ and fashioned a shelf from a design that made sense in my head.

The result was a shelf that was  ~20″s deep and eight feet long.  Kristin had picked up some free after rebate metal brackets that I was able to put to good use.  When I was putting the shelf together in the basement, I randomly decided that I would use four crossbeams (?) to connect the front and back 2×4″s.  It took me longer than I care to admit to do the math, but I finally realized that this cut the 2x4x8 into three segments, centered 32″s from each end.  I used wood glue anywhere I used screws to minimize the flexing and general wobbliness that home built projects can have.  I also pre-drilled all of the screws.  As luck would have it, studs are centered at 16″s and this made it possible to put the shelf on the wall easily!  Lucky me!

After trying to straighten one of the brackets and having it break in my hands, I reconsidered the 100lb rating off each of them and decided to include at least one 2×4 support.  Two would make it look  symmetrical but one is all that is really needed.  Also, in order to make another support I would have had to cut up one of the 2×4″s supporting my miter saw… yeah, I guess maybe I am lazy and just didn’t want to cut on the ground the rest of the day.  When I make the next batch of shelves for in the back room in the basement, maybe I’ll take care of it 🙂  What made the support more interesting than I anticipated was that, when cut at a 45 degree angle the face of the brace 2×4 was longer than the face of the support 2×4.  That sounds more complicated than it is – but in the pictures you can see where I experimented with cutting a little of the brace off from the other way and it fits up snug without peeking out from underneath.  It just took a few trips out to the garage to get the angle and length of the brace right.

What I would appreciate some input on is how to keep the darn thing square with the world.  The 2x4s were ever so slightly warped, resulting in a situation where only three corners of the built shelf would touch the ground, the fourth corner about half an inch in the air.  For a shelf eight feet long, this seemed acceptable and I just screwed in onto the wall anyway.

It may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but I could lay out on it, it was cheap, and it fits right in with the exposed floor joists.

The truly sad thing?  I spent more time installing a vanity light in my bathroom Tuesday night than building this shelf!


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