The idea is to mount a board on the wall (ideally screwed/bolted to each stud) that has a bevel cut into the top sloping toward the wall. Larger items such as chalkboards, easels, bookshelves, etc. can be easily mounted on the rail and locked in place and moved around without any hassle to any location in the room.
The best thing about this system is that you can create new or modify many existing items to work with it and have nearly infinite possibilities and combinations.
Step 1: The Prep Work
In my example, it is 48" from the floor to the bottom of the rail. The spacing was to accomodate the light switch in the room, but otherwise, there were no obstacles. I found that when my daughter was younger (shorter) this was a little too high for her, but she has grown into it. Mark a level line along a single wall, or all the way around the room as we did.
2.) Select materials.
I used 1/4 kiln dried Douglas fir to keep it economical. For light duty I do not see why MDF wouldn't work, but if you are going to be hanging moderate to heavy items, use a real wood or even a hardwood like oak for strength.
3.) FInd your wall studs.
I like using a rare earth magnet: it picks up the nails/screws that hold the drywall in place. I have had better results with it than the sonic stud finders and it never requires batteries.
Step 2: Elbow Grease
I took my 1x4 stock and ripped a 45 degree bevel on one edge. When I mounted the rails, I put two 3" screws into each stud. It is important to plan ahead so that joints overlap on top of studs. All in-line joints were scarfed as well.
Note the grain direction in the photo. The bevel goes with the grain. This will result in a stronger "tooth" on top of the rail. if you cut the bevel across the grain, it will still work, but you are weakening the board unnecessarily as the wood will tend to break between the growth rings.
As you begin to mount the boards, you will need to decide whether to putty over the screw heads (like I did), plug them, or leave the heads exposed. At the very least, ensure the heads are counter-sunk flush with the surface of the rail so that any hanging objects don't get caught up on the screws.
Step 3: Finish Work
Step 4: Accessorizing and Final Thoughts
The safety of your system is up to you after all.
Some ideas I have had for add-ons going forward are:
- small desk (for grade-school years)
- general purpose shelves
- attaching floor furniture to wall (we do live in earthquake country)
- guitar/instrument wall mount
- shadow boxes
The list goes on and on.
Some recent magazines have used this same basic system (multiplied x 100) to clean up a garage too. I thought that was awesome, since we built this before that was published.
Have fun and let me know what you think. We are always entertaining ideas for other add-ons to build or upgrades!