Friday, 8 January 2010

Heavy duty shelves

Well I’m not going to talk about the snow (I think everyone else has done that) but I did have some time on my hands yesterday so I though it was time I built some heavy duty shelves to house my power tools and other bits and pieces.

Lately I’ve been feeling very disorganised with my tools and I’m going against what I was taught when I was an apprentice:
“A place for everything and everything in its place”
It was important then as I could have been on five different sites in a week and loosing tools cost money and time. In five years of being a site carpenter I never lost a tool – now I’ve not lost any but I can’t find them either!

When I lived at the farm I used to have a small workshop with a set of shelves next to the door, this used to hold all my usual power tools and made them easy to load into the van. This is what I’ve made for my workshop to do the same type of job.

I started by working out the height of the shelves to make sure that the power tool boxes would fit and my tool box that contains my hand tools (which is very heavy) would fit underneath. I also wanted to make sure it could house some stacking boxes to put all my none carpentry items in (electric, plumbing and painting stuff but organised so I can find things).

I decided to build it almost to the door (about 1.1m) leaving enough room to hang a coat on the end. The height would be almost to the ceiling but with enough room to store boxes of nails and tubs of glue. Cutting the 4 timber posts to length I then marked out the ‘housing’ cuts. I used my mitre saw to trench these out, but you could easily do it with a saw, making lots of cuts and then removing the waste with a chisel. The housing joints mean that the shelves can take a lot more weight as they’re not reliant on mechanical fixings.The cross-rails then just have to be cut to length and knocked into the housing joints. I’ve decided not to any glue as the temperature is so low it won’t work very well and I might want to take them apart when its time to move on, so I just used 50mm screw. (The screws I used were self cutting but if you’re using cheaper screws you might have to drill a pilot hole first to stop the wood splitting)With two ‘H’ frame assembled I then needed to connect them up with more rails, I wanted the shelves to be 500mm deep so I took the depth of the two frames off that measurement and cut the rails to length. To make sure they held the frames nice and solidly I notched these rails around the post, they won’t be taking much weight so they’re just screwed into the posts.For the shelves I used some 9.5mm ply I had left over from cladding the inside walls of my shed. (The items I’m storing span the whole width of the shelf so the ply isn’t important, if it was smaller, heavier items I’d use thicker ply.) I notched this around the posts and fixed it down using 25mm screwsAlthough the shelves are very stable I still fixed them back to the wall before I filled them up.

10 seconds after I'd put them up the shelves were full. I think I might have to build some more!

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