Before I could get started on any woodworking projects, I needed to start with a workspace.
Unfortunately, our garage was being used as a storage locker. We had a walkway along one side to get through the garage and a couple of walkways to get to the electrical panel/sprinkler control/Pex panel.
So, the mission (I chose to accept it) was to come up with a way to store as much of our collection of items as possible in as compact a space as possible. And while a storage shed of some sort would be nice, we really don't have the space in the backyard to put one up. (Small yard+HOA restrictions=no go)
The solution? A set of sturdy shelves capable of holding whatever I might think to throw at it (or on it as the case may be).
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- 2" x 4" x 96" (50.8mm x 101.6mm x 2438.4mm) kiln dried whitewood studs (nominal)
- screws (120)
- Miter saw
- #8 countersink drill bit
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
- Hearing protection
- Common sense
A simple list for a simple set of shelves. Always keep safety in mind above all else. Even on the simple projects.
Step 2: Cut Your Parts
This project was easy enough, I started out cutting down all the parts I needed. There's really no way to confuse any pieces on this project, so I didn't need to label anything either.
That being said, always try to stick to your plan. If not, think through all your changes thoroughly before you make them. I changed the depth on the supports from 12" (304.8mm) to 18" (457.2mm) just before I started cutting. This required another trip to the hardware store to pick up an additional board after I cut almost everything and realized I miscalculated in my head the additional amount required. (Also, while it didn't come up on this project, it's good to remember to add the thickness of your sawblade to any calculations. While it might seem like you can get  24" long pieces out of a 96" long board, the sawblade will remove a width with each cut, leaving you short.)
Using the miter saw, I cut (12) 18" (457.2mm) long pieces for the shelf supports. For something this short, it makes things quicker and easier to set up a block at one side of the saw that you can push your board up to and make repeat cuts. Measuring and marking after each cut can get time consuming. I stacked these out of the way.
Next, I cut down (6) boards to 72" (1828.8mm) long for the posts. Again, I stacked these out of the way.
The shelf boards were going to be a full 96" (2438.4mm) long, so there was no need to cut these.
*When cutting, watch out for knots in the wood. Always try to avoid locating a knot where you will be screwing into the wood.
Step 3: Drill Holes
Typically I will pre-drill holes in wood as I want to avoid splitting. Since I planned on putting boxes and other flat items on them, I decided to countersink for a flush surface; no snags. And since I was already on a countersink kick, I decided to keep going on the posts as well for consistency.
To that end, I measured out hole placement on the shelves and drilled two holes with the countersink bit at each point the shelf would intersect a support. (Two holes at three locations per shelf.)
Next, I measured and drilled holes in the posts. Two at each location the shelf supports meet the post.
At this point, all the parts are ready for assembly.
Step 4: Build Frames
I placed out my wood to create the three support frames. Each stack required four shelf supports and two posts.
Clamped the shelf supports to the posts and screwed through the pilot holes. Ensure your parts are flush and squared.
I repeated this twice more.
Step 5: Build Shelves
Laying the support frames on their backs, I clamped the shelf boards in placed and screwed them in.
Be careful while stepping around to screw in the shelves. It was hot, I was getting tired, and I just about tripped over the whole thing trying to go from one side to the next. That told me it was passed break time.
I completed screwing all the shelves in and lifted the entire thing into place.
Step 6: Improvements
Trying to keep this project a secret from my wife until it was finished, I didn't ask her to help get the shelves in place. Nor help with stocking the shelves with assorted items. I strained my back a little handling all of that myself.
While I could use my sawhorse setup for a lot of the drilling, I needed to do the assembly on the floor which probably assisted in my back strain. Well, a workbench is a future project now that I have some space.
All in all, I'm happy with how these turned out. Probably a little overkill for what these shelves needed to hold. But I did manage to clear up almost half the garage with just this one little weekend project.