Introduction: Threaded Rod & Tension Wire Shelf

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I wanted large shelves to organize a small one car garage/shop area. Because I rent the space I didn't want to build something that would be large and bulky to move, so I opted for a shelf design that can be completely disassembled and uses no permanent fasteners (wood screws/ glued joints/ wall mounting). The idea was to use threaded rod as a base to build adjustable shelves around.

Step 1: Drill Clearance Holes for Threaded Rod

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I used two sheets of 1/2" plywood. I cut each piece down the middle to leave four 24" x 48" pieces. I clamped the four pieces together and drilled a hole in each corner using a 5/8" spade bit to form a very tight fit around the 5/8" rods the shelves sit on. each hole was 3" in and 3" over from the corners. After drilling the plywood, 2x4's were clamped to the plywood and 5/8" holes were drilled using the plywood as a stencil for the hole locations. To center the holes in the 2x4's I used two pieces of scap wood that were a combined 1 1/4" inches to center the 3" offset hole. The 2x4s are there to add extra rigidity. I tried using just plywood and the result was pretty bad when I put a sandbag ~50lbs) on it.

Step 2: Assemble Shelves

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Assembly is pretty straight forward. On the bottom I used female threaded rubber feet to screw onto the threaded rod. Over the feet put a nut, washer, a 2x4 , plywood (on top of 2x4), washer, and then 2 nuts. the second nut is used to restrain the tension wire loops. The second nut also helps when you go to cinch down the plywood to the 2x4 by acting as a jam nut and keeping the threaded rod from rotating instead of the nut. A great time saver is to create a "belt" to move the nuts down the threaded rod quickly to locate the shelves. I formed an endless band of electrical tape around the outside of my hand. wrap the tape around the chuck of the drill to create a low gear ratio to move the nuts fast. the electrical tape works great because you can "pull" on it a bit to create a good amount of tension to grab the nut. threading all the nuts by hand would have taken an eternity. This step may require a mallet to persuade the wood through the threaded rod...

Step 3: Add Tension Wire to Increase Rigidity

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Without some sort of reinforcement these shelves would be pretty wobbly. By bracing the shelves with diagonal wire and turnbuckles the shelves become very rigid. I used 1/8" wire and crimp on ferrules and end stops. This type termination creates a sort of noose where the end stop keeps the wire from slipping out of the ferrule.This is definitely the hack way to create wire loops. Technically you should use a thimble to reduce stress/bend radius of the wire, but for a lower tension use like shelving it should work fine. To cut the wire I used a dremel cut off wheel. To crimp the end stops I used vice grip pliers. Keep in mind vice grip pliers are not the correct tool to crimp an end stop onto the wire rope (neither is a hammer). If you intend on using tension wire near its rated tension values you should use a swaging tool. For shelving which doesn't require super high tension using pliers shouldn't present any problems (other than sore hands ! ). I put tension wire on both the length and width of the shelves, obviously leaving the front open so I could put stuff on it.

Step 4: Put Your Junk on It

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Enough said. Use your new shelves for storage.

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