Introduction: Odds and Ends - Interlocked Shelf

About: I am a retired Electronic Systems Engineer now pursuing my hobbies full time. I share what I do especially with the world wide student community.

I have a lot of electronic 'odds and ends' and was triggered by the Instructables shelving contest to organize these using a simple interlocked shelf.

I wanted to manage with 3 pieces of very old plywood (more than 20 yrs old). One 3'X18"X1/4" and two 4'X18"X3/8".

I was aiming for 7 horizontal shelves 4' wide and 4" depth.

While I show the construction process in the next few steps, this project has taught me several lessons:

  1. Avoid using old plywood as the layers tend to peel off while working.
  2. I marked of the grooves for interlocking using one of the vertical/horizontal pieces as a template rather than accurately marking the grooves. Landed up with some misalignment.
  3. Corrected this by widening the grooves and had a very loose fit which needed the grooves to be packed with wooden shims.
  4. I initially thought that the vertical and horizontal members when nailed would be rigid enough. However I had to reduce one horizontal shelf and use the left over material as long gussets at the rear. Working with thin plywood probably needs a full sheet at the rear.
  5. Cutting the plywood leaves edges with burr which needs to be sanded out.
  6. Ordinary plywood is rough and needs putty and paint to get a professional look. Need to do this later.

However, in spite of several ups and downs I have managed to put together a practical interlocked shelf and filled it up with my electronic odds and ends.

Step 1: Starting Point

I started off with my jam bottles and assorted plastic containers in which are filled my electronic odds and ends collected over several years which need to be accessed at random times in a random fashion as my current project demands.

No purchasing any new material, I decided to make do with some 20 year old plywood pieces which were originally shelves in an old house which was remodeled. One 3'X18''X1/4" and two 4'X18"X3/8" pieces

Manage with a minimum of tools. Electric saw for cutting, chisels for minor carpentry and a hammer for nailing the shelves together.

Step 2: Horizontal and Vertical Members

I cut 7 pieces of 4'X 3 3/4" for the horizontal members and 4 pieces of 3'X 3 3/4" pieces for the vertical members.

I planned to have two vertical sides and two internal interlock pieces along with 2 top/bottom horizontal shelves with 5 internal interlocked shelves.

I marked of one each of the vertical/horizontal pieces and used it as a template to mark off the other pieces.

I cut the grooves in the interlock pieces with the saw and finished off the ends using the chisels.

Step 3: Assembly

I first made a trial assembly to check out the interlock joints. I found several miss-alignments and the grooves being wider than required. The over scheme also lacked rigidity.

I then decided to remove one horizontal shelf and use it along with other left over material as a rear support for the shelves. This worked out well and when everything was nailed together the shelves were rock solid.

Finally I finished off the hanging arrangement by providing 3 holes for for fasteners.

A quick job of sanding removed the excessive burr and the shelf was ready for fixing and use.

Epilog Contest VII

Participated in the
Epilog Contest VII

Shelving Contest

Participated in the
Shelving Contest