The Manhattan Industrial Pipe Shelf




Introduction: The Manhattan Industrial Pipe Shelf

About: Autodesk-er, Manhattanite, Tinkerer

This certainly isn't the first Industrial Pipe Shelf Instructables, but it's a good primer for someone working in a smaller urban space sans workshop. Read on for a how-to on Manhattan making..

Step 1: Spray Paint the Pipes

Before anything, you need to head to Home Depot (23rd Street worked well for me here) and pick up some standard Black Pipe & Fittings in the 3/4" spec.

For this version of the shelf I needed:

While you're at HD, pick up a nice piece of shelving wood. I went with a standard 6" birch plank which I cut down to 52" (width of my desk) with my trusty Black & Decker Matrix (which by the way is the ultimate Manhattan dweller tool, but I digress...)

Next up you're gonna want to head to the closest Blick and pick up some spray paint. Get the good shit.

So once you have your supplies you want to head home and wash the pipes because they are greasy and gross from sitting around with a bunch of other filthy pipes. You can use your sink, it won't stain, but your hands will. Learned this the hard way (pick up some dishwashing gloves that fit you well while you're at HD actually)

Once they're squeaky clean, dry them quickly or else they'll rust and that's a whole other issue. I had some rust on the female end of some of the fittings and it made screwing these things together a serious workout.

Alright, once you have everything washed and prepped, consolidate. Like a good Manhattanite you should have a small, sturdy bag lying around from an overpriced something you bought. I went with Kiehl's, because, you know moisture and stuff. Make sure its big enough to fit your pipes, your paint, small can of stain, a brush and some rags. Along with your (hopefully) pre-cut board head to your closest friend-with-suitable-outdoor-space's place.

Not the awkwardest subway ride you've ever been on.

Once you're on this rooftop/terrace/balcony/backyard/other get to staining. This takes longer and is more nuanced (there are plenty of Instructables on this). When that's drying you can finally get to the fun part. Take some newspaper or another bag sliced down the middle and lay it down with all the nicely cleaned pipes laid on it.

Spray away.

Make sure you hit 'em from all angles.

Step 2: Assemble Pipes

Once everything is settled and dry, it's time to assemble those pipers. You want a set of four 90 degree assemblies and you'll be using those longer double female couplers to put 'em all together.

Putting these together is easy, but does require some elbow grease (get it!?).... Use gloves for gripping.

Step 3: Drill Holes Into Shelf Board

Use a 1 inch spade drill bit for this.

I wanted the two pipe assemblies as far away from each other as possible, but close enough to provide a balanced structure. I chose 6 inches from edges, and dead center; using a pencil and ruler, marked a cut point right in the middle of the board.

This creates a nice "floating" effect, as it won't be touching the wall.

Step 4: Connect Pipes


Screw one of those couplers into 2 of the pipe assemblies. This is somewhat tricky, as you have to get the screw in enough so thats its tight, but not too much that it gets lost and won't peak out the other side of the wood shelf (the drilled hole).

It's then rather fun tighten the pipe assemblies using opposite force away from each to get them nice and tight.

Repeat for each side and make sure they line up nicely on the floor flange side.

Step 5: Get It Up.

Find a friend and get your handy level tool out..

This part is tricky. I struggled with finding the right positioning and getting it perfectly leveled. That said, make sure you use at least four anchors on the bottom and if possible, a few on the top. I only used anchors on the bottom four and dry wall screws across the top.

It's diesel and not going anywhere.

Step 6: Decorate.

Ah, the final and most rewarding step.

After you've tested the integrity of your new shelf you can add your prized objets d'art, maybe that something you bought on your last Europe jaunt, something geek and whatever other random bric-a-brac you might have to showcase.

Now sit back and enjoy the view.

Till next time.

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8 years ago on Introduction cool instructions.....gonna try this one,,


8 years ago on Introduction

Nice project/good design. I just visited my daughter in Manhattan and I was wondering how creative types found space to work on DIY projects. I guess rooftop access is the answer. good job!


8 years ago on Step 6

Wow, great trick, have seen some posts of how to make a lamp with similar plumbing parts, industrial loft style?