The developer of our condo seems to have constructed everything but the walls out of MDF (i.e., compressed oatmeal). Still, it seems reasonably sturdy, provided it doesn't get wet.
That said, the sagging bookshelf in our kitchen has been bothering me for some time (and the square peg / round hole wine rack), so I finally decided to do something about it last weekend.
My project goals were:
- echo the existing aesthetic;
- reinforce the shelves to eliminate sagging; and
- improve on the wine rack.
Overall, we're rather pleased with the results.
Step 1: Countersink the Hardware
The first step was to drill small-diameter pilot holes for each of the twelve crossbars. To ensure that holes in each side of the wine rack line up, I inserted a trimmed roofing nail (no picture, sorry) into the first two pilot holes.
Once the pilot holes were drilled, I drilled holes to countersink both the t-nuts and the bolt heads.
The t-nuts were relatively easy - a shallow 3/4" hole with a forstner bit, and a deeper 3/8" hole for the shaft of the nut (ALWAYS work from large-to-small for complex, multi-drill profiles - once a small pilot hole has been made). Countersinking the bolts was similar - a shallow 5/8" hole with a forstner bit to allow for the top of the bolt head (I didn't have a bit that matched both the diameter and angle of the bolt heads), and a 3/8" hole for depth.
Once the countersinks were finished, I drilled out the pilot holes to accommodate the bolts (5/16" x 6").
Step 2: Sizing and Cutting Sleeves for the Bolts
I used black PVC tubing (normally used to drain dishwashers) to cover the bolt shafts. This was for partly aesthetic reasons, and also to create cushioning for the bottles.
Since the tubing comes rolled, I sized and cut each piece on the fully extended bolts to ensure proper length.
Step 3: Wine Rack Assembly, Trimming Shelves
Once the sleeves were cut, I joined both halves of the rack, and trimmed the old shelves to length. I ran blue painters tape around all sides of the cut to prevent the saw from chipping the edges of the faux-bamboo laminate.
Step 4: Fitting and Installation
Pretty self-explanatory. The salient design feature is the length of aluminum angle bracket running under the back edge of the shelves. To make sure the shelves didn't tip forward, I used a file to take about 1/16th of an inch off of the rearmost top edge of each black shelf support. When fully loaded, the shelves don't dip at all.
Overall, a quick and easy project, with end results that I think dramatically improved both the look and functionality of the original shelving.