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During construction of our home, we kept a recess in the middle wall in all rooms for providing shelving in future. In my daughter's room we planned to construct a shelf in the recess for additional storage.

The inside measurements of the recess are 6-1/2 feet x 6-1/2 feet with a depth of about 9 inches inside the wall. We planned to make a shelf with three vertical and five horizontal partitions by dividing the available space equally. The depth will be increased to 12 inches by projecting the shelf out side the existing wall edge. We also planned to use Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) for the shelving as it is durable, light weight, easy to work with and cheaper.

You can see the recess in the second picture. The first and last pictures show the finished shelf with doors opened and closed.

Step 1: Materials

  • 3/4 inch thick MDF Board : 3 pieces (Each board is 8 ft x 4 ft = 32 Sq ft)
  • 1/4 inch thick MDF Board to cover the back : 1-1/2 boards (about 48 Sq ft)
  • Screws of different sizes (bought by weight) : about 200 grams
  • Nails of different sizes (bought by weight) : about 200 grams
  • Door handles : 3 pieces
  • Door Locks : 3 pieces
  • Blum Hinges at 4 per door : 12 pieces
  • Magnetic door locks at 2 per door (Top and Bottom) : 6 pieces
  • Fevicol Synthetic Resin Adhesive : 250 grams pack

Step 2: Tools

  • An electrical saw to cut the boards
  • An electric hand drill for drilling holes in the boards and wall
  • A router to make suitable holes for fixing blum hinges
  • Carpenter's tools like Hand saw, Hammers, Chisels, Plier, A square and vice.

Take care while handling the electric operated tools. Other tools are also sharp and to be handled with care.

Step 3: Measure Existing Opening

Before cutting the boards, take exact measurements of the opening. It is better to take measurements vertically at left and right edges and horizontally at top and bottom edges. Any small variations in what is available on ground can be adjusted while making the shelf frame which will be fitted inside the opening.

Step 4: Workspace

Our portico provides a good working space for the shelving project. It is well ventilated, provides shade (gets sunlight only in the morning) and the hard-tiled floor gives an uniform surface for the final assembly.

Step 5: Measure and Cut Board

First we will make the outer box of the shelf, which will be fitted inside the opening in the wall. We have already taken measurements of the existing opening and we have considered the depth to be provided as 12 inches. Cut the boards to the required dimensions for the outer box only.

Step 6: Make Outer Box

Join the cut boards to make the outer box. You can place the box in the opening and check for correctness. Also make markings on the box so that the orientation of the finished shelf will be in the right order.

Step 7: Horizontal Partitions

There will be five horizontal partitions and three vertical partitions in the shelf. First we will make the boards for the horizontal partition.

  • Cut the boards to the required size
  • Place the boards inside the outer box. Any undulations during cutting can be rectified by carpenter's plane.
  • Measure and divide the boards into three equal parts
  • Mark the width of the board on the division.
  • Make vertical grooves to half the depth of the inner boards as shown in the second picture
  • You can temporarily fix the boards to the inner box

Step 8: Vertical Partition

  • Measure and cut the boards required for the vertical partition.
  • Divide the boards into five parts equally. Also you can place the boards over the grooves we made on the horizontal boards and mark the position of grooves to be made.
  • Make grooves to half the depth of boards in the reverse order, that is opposite to that made on the horizontal boards.
  • Place and insert the grooved portions over the horizontal boards.
  • Adjust alignment with Carpenter's square and fix all the boards to the outer box using synthetic resin adhesive and nails.

Our skeleton frame work for the shelf is completed.

Step 9: Close Backside

To further strengthen the frame work we will cover the back side with the 1/4 inch thick board. The size of the board is 8 ft by 4 ft, so we need to use two pieces to the required size to cover the back.

The completed shelf can be seen in the last picture

Step 10: Fix in Wall Opening

Transport the finished framework inside the room. Slowly lift it up and place inside the opening. You can make minor adjustments for the proper alignment before fixing it to the wall. Holes can be drilled from the sides using electric hand drill and nailed permanently.

Step 11: Doors

Once the shelf is in place, measurements can be taken for the doors.

  • Cut the boards to the required size
  • Mark position of blum hinges at 4 pieces per door
  • Make suitable opening with router for fixing the blum hinges with the doors
  • Fix the doors to the shelf with proper screws

Step 12: Other Fitments

  • Each door needs a handle for opening and closing. Mark the position of handles and fix them using proper screws
  • Fix door locking magnet inner pieces inside the shelf at top and bottom of each door position
  • The outer magnetic pieces can be fitted to the appropriate positions on the doors. These magnets will keep all the doors firmly in position when closed without any bulging.
  • Fix the door locks at the inside center of each door
  • Drill necessary holes for the key-hole. Fix the cover plates over the key-holes so that they will have a clean look

Step 13: Close Sides

As we have seen earlier, the available depth of the opening inside the wall is 9 inches only, and we decided to have the shelf with 12 inches depth. Now our shelf is protruding about 3 inches from the edge of the opening. The sides will be covered by providing necessary supports with left-over pieces of MDF and finally covered with full length boards to make the sides flush with the opening.

Step 14: Finished Shelf

Our shelf is finished. Now we have enough space to store things which were kept around the room. It took us about three days to finish the shelf. The total cost including material and skilled manpower worked out to about 20000 Indian Rupees, that is around 300 US Dollars...

<p>Wow !! That is a lot of work sir.You did a great job. </p>
thank you Sahana...
These look great!
thank you Saiyam...
<p>Those are some nice shelves! </p>
thank you...

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Bio: I like to make things more simple with easily available resources. My favorite quote: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan ... More »
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