Zero Point Shelf





Introduction: Zero Point Shelf

If putting holes in the wall was a game this shelf wouldn't net you any points. The image below is a very rough SketchUp concept drawing of a shelf I built. The concept of "clamping" shelving between the ceiling and floor isn't original to me, in fact I've see several variations of the idea; this is just my variation. The point of this method of mounting shelves is - you get the shelf without the holes in your wall, the concept also lends itself to being placed where there is no wall (stud) support.

Special Note: In the following steps I describe how I removed the lip from the flanges, if you'd rather not have to do this I've learned that Simplified Building can bore out the fittings for you (additional cost per flange).

Step 1: Parts List

x15 - type 61-6 1" Kee Klamp Flanges | Simplified Building

x3 - 10ft 1" galvanized pipe | Home Depot

x3 - 1x12x8 | shelves | Home Depot

x2 - 1x6x8 | header and footer | Home Depot

x3 - 2ft 3/4" threaded rod | clamp assembly | Home Depot

x6 - 3/4" bolts | clamp assembly | Home Depot

x6 - 3/4" flat washers | clamp assembly | Home Depot

x60 - 3/4" screws | attach flanges to shelves | Home Depot

Step 2: Remove the Flange Lip

First step is to remove the lip from the 9 flanges that will be used to support the shelves so the pipe slides all the way through. I used a metal hole saw to get the majority of the lip out and then used a grinder to get the remaining.

I forget the exact size of the bit (after the 9 flanges it was useless and thrown away) but it just fit inside the flange.

The flanges were screwed down to the table to keep them secure during drilling

note: the following action likely voids any guarantee or warranty the Kee Klamps have.

Step 3: Cut the Pipe

Using a table saw and metal cutting blade I cut the pipe to length.

The length of the pipe depends on how high your ceiling is and how long your threaded rod is, I cut mine about 9" short of the ceiling, with 2' of threaded rod this gives me plenty of playing room.

You don't want to pipe too long or short - too long and it will make adjusting the clamp difficult or impossible, too short and you wouldn't be able to clamp the shelf between the ceiling and the floor.

Step 4: Clamp Assembly

After cutting the pipe I tried out the clamp assembly - the one shown works but I later decided that the smaller pipe (ceiling half) wasn't needed.

Step 5: Drill Holes in Shelves

After cutting the boards to length I used an adjustable hole saw and drilled out the holes in the shelves for the pipe to pass through. I eyeballed the size needed, the pipe just fits through the hole which is what I wanted.

I clamped the shelves together and marked where I wanted the holes on the top shelf. Leaving the shelves clamped together and using a standard bit (1/4" I think) I drilled a hole through all the shelves. I then un-clamped the shelves and used the smaller hole as a guide for the hole saw, so the holes ended up in the same place on all three shelves.

Using the hole placement on the shelves as a guide I marked where the flanges needed to be on the header and footer.

Step 6: Test Assembly

After all the holes were drilled in the shelves there was nothing left to but test it out.

Step 7: Assembly Notes

I found the easiest way to assemble the shelf was to insert the pipe into the footer and slide on the flanges and shelves separately adding the header last.

Step 8: Sanding

Emily, my niece helping to sand the shelves before the application of polyurethane.

Step 9: Final Assembly

After the polyurethane it was put back together but with much more attention to being level than in the test assembly.

The assembly followed what was described in step 7:

1. Pipe was placed in footer flanges
2. Bottom shelf flanges were slid on
3. Bottom shelf was put in place, roughly where I wanted it
4. Middle shelf flanges were slid on
5. Middle shelf was put in place, roughly where I wanted it
6. Top shelf flanges were slid on
7. Top shelf was put in place, roughly where I wanted it
8. Header was put in place, the unit was clamped lightly
9. Final adjustments were made to the placement of the header and footer, so the pipes are straight
10. Final hight and level adjustments were made to each shelf, make sure the set screws are TIGHT
11. Clamped the shelf tighter in place, it's not moving, don't make it too tight
12. Flanges were attached to the shelves with 3/4" screws

It might seem like a lot but it's very simple and fast. I emphasize the order because I found it was the easiest way.

If you really want it here is the SketchUp file is attached.

Step 10: Notes

  • Galvanized pipe is dirty because of the oil that is on it, you’ll want to clean it off after cutting it to length, dish soap and water worked well.
  • The Home Depot grade of galvanized pipe may not be “pretty” to some people. You could use aluminum pipe or prettier galvanized pipe but it’s a bit spendy and I like the industrial look; fence post is probably to flimsy for this project.
  • The table saw and metal cutting blade I used worked but it binds easily, a chop saw would work better.
  • You want to tighten the clamp mechanism pretty tight, just not too tight as putting a hole through your ceiling would defeat the purpose of this shelf.
  • I didn’t cut the 2ft threaded rod, about 1-1/2” is inside the top flange the rest is inside the pipe. You want to make sure that there is a decent portion of the rod in the flange and the pipe to alleviate the possibility of it slipping out.



    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Paper Contest 2018

      Paper Contest 2018

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    The Screw Jack feet used in Scaffolding towers could work as the threaded adjusters at the top of these shelf posts. The Screw Jacks slide in pipe with a nominal bore of 1"1/2 or 38mm. This Pipe is 48mm in dia and is the Kee Klamp size 8 pipe.

    Nice design, I want to build one for my appartement. Do you think it's possible to put the tighting part of the pole close to the ground instead of near the roof?

    I read at least 40 comments, but I didn't see any suggestion to use *black* pipe. IMO, it is more attractive than galvanized, just as strong, takes many different finishes, and is probably less toxic to your indoor environment.


    what do you mean less toxic? I went with galvanized because it matched other furniture in the room... if you were going to paint the pipe though, i don't think the color of the pipe woudl be a big deal...?

    Leebryuk's right, you can lick it and no problem. However if you burn/smelt or saw galvanized metals do not breathe the fumes. They are very toxic.

    Galvanized steel is just steel coated with a blend of zinc. Don't lick it and there won't be any problems. Hell, feel free to lick it and there still won't be any problems. Now if you wanted to pole dance, there could be a problem because it's not slippery (like a chrome surface.) But at that point it's a personal problem.


    Crap... I lick mine every morning before I go to work... so it knows I love it. :)

    Galvanized pipe is intended for potable water.

    I read all the comments about using PVC, and honestly, I would say that this project is just fine the way it is. Why try to use PVC? It wouldn't look as 'industrial', and certainly wouldn't be as strong.

    Good job!

    If you wanted it to be cheaper, you could probably make it out of 1.5" PVC, it should be sturdy enough and I believe it considerably cheaper. It would also be easier to cut the pipe and take the lip off of the flanges.