Introduction: DIY Shelving Unit

About: Maker, Youtuber, Software Developer

In this instructable I show you how you can build a heavy duty rack with 2x4s, particle boards and wooden dowels. All you need is a saw, a cordless drill and some clamps. But you can speed up the process a lot if you have some power tools available.

Step 1: Cut Everything to Size

The rack is made from 25 mm waterfproof particle board and 50x50 spruce beams. If you live in the US you can use 2x4s and rip them in half.

I bought the particle boards pre-cut, which saves a lot of work. The beams are cut by setting a stop block and cutting all pieces witht he same length at once. You can als use a miter saw or even do this by hand.

Step 2: Connecting the Beams and Posts With Wooden Dowels

The beams are glued to the posts with wooden dowels. This gives a very strong connection which is almost as strong as real mortise and tenon joint. The chalange with this kind of connnections is to drill two holes for every connection which must match excactly.

Step 3: Drilling the Holes Into the Beams

You can mark and drill the holes into the beams by hand. To speed this up, I built a horizontal boring machine. Once set-up I can drill a lot of holes fast and precise.

Step 4: Drilling the Holes Into the Posts

If you drill the holes into the beams by hand you have to transfer them to the posts with dowel center finders. Make sure to mark every connection with a number to make sure you find the matching beams after drilling.

I found this process to speed this up:

  1. Mark one hole on all posts at the same time.
  2. Then drill the first hole.
  3. Put a dowel into this hole.
  4. Move it to a stop block.
  5. Drill the second hole.

This procedure allows you to drill many holes fast and precise.

Step 5: Glue Up

Now it's time for the glup up. Make sure you find a glue strategy that works fast enough. With normal wood glue you get ~10 minutes before the glue starts to set. Normaly I solve this problem by switching to ludicrous speed ;-).

Step 6: Prepare the Boards

While the glue is drying you can prepare the boards. The size of the posts is marked on every corner and notched out with the jig saw. Doing this on four corners of all boards takes some time.

This is actually one of the tasks I did not find something to speed up the process. If you have an idea let me know in the comments.

Step 7: Sanding, Painting, Beautifying

Depending on where your rack is going to be used, you want to sand, paint, varnish it. Since mine is used in the basement I'm happy with sanding.

Step 8: Add Angles

For the assembly I used my shop made anlge clamps from my last instructable. And to make the rack even more sturdy I added a number of them as a permanent solution.

Step 9: Finished!

And that's it. What you get is a sturdy heavy duty rack. I've built a bigger version of this rack for my garage as wood storage, which caries more 1000 kg of wood.