Last January I began the amazing adventure of cheesemaking! I built my own cave to age cheese in and made a couple of wheels of manchego as well as a batch of Belper Knolle (Instructables for all of these to come!). Things were getting pretty exciting in the cave, but I had a condensation problem on the freezer part, which meant that if I put any cheese underneath the freezer it would get dripped on, and start forming mold. I squished all of the cheese off to the side and kept various things underneath the freezer to catch the drips.
I knew this wasn't a long-term solution once I wanted to make another wheel, so I devised a plan to build another shelf that could house a container to catch the drips up top and leave much more room for cheese! Here's how I did that in under $3 of materials!
I started out by measuring the inside of my fridge, because there happened to be extra ridges to put a shelf in. I measured the length and width of the inside of my fridge (16" x 11") and how tall the square dowels I wanted to use could be (1/8") then I made a sketch so I could gather the appropriate materials.
Step 1: Materials
Here's what I used to make the shelf!
- 4x 36" square dowels
- small handsaw
- file (optional)
- measuring tape
- wood glue (water resistant)
Step 2: First Cuts
I then marked 11" sections, or your width dimension, onto 2 of the square dowels (yielding 6 pieces total) and cut them. Be sure to handle your saw safely and wear safety glasses. Go slow enough to avoid cutting yourself!
Toss your scrap pieces, and using the other 2 dowels mark off 16" sections, or your length dimensions, and cut a total of 4 of them.
Step 3: Layout
I took my pieces and laid them down until I was happy with how it looked. I am going to make 2 sets of grooves that mate together so that the pieces all lie flush top and bottom.
I then took a pen and marked both sides of where I needed to make grooves in the wood, taking care to mark both pieces
Step 4: Grooves!
This can take a little bit, but I then went ahead and started making the grooves. I started by sawing about halfway into the wood on both of the marks and in between them. Using a screwdriver (or honestly any flat object) you can then pop off the chunks, leaving a nice groove in the wood.
Repeat this on all of your pieces! It's a bit tedious but only takes an hour or so once you get the hang of it.
Step 5: Test Fitting and Glueing!
Now the moment of truth! Place your pieces back together so that the grooves match up and the whole piece sits flush to itself.
Grab your glue and brush and brush a nice layer of glue onto the grooves of one of your square dowels, and the grooves of the dowels it is going to be fit into. Place the dowel in place and repeat on the rest of the pieces!
I noticed that some of my pieces had a bend to them and weren't being pressed completely down (so the glue wasn't touching the bottom piece. I placed some heavier objects (on coasters) onto the rack so that they helped put some weight onto these sections.
The glue dried in about 10 minutes but I let the objects sit for a little longer (making sure that everything was generally secure).
Step 6: Correct Any Mistakes - and Finished!
I was pretty excited at this point and did a quick test fit in my fridge. Everything fit! Except when I pushed it all the way back i realized there was a small pipe running along the back of my fridge that I didn't notice before. I sawed off the section of wood it was hitting, and replaced the rack in my fridge.
After that I was done! I placed the lid to a tupperware container underneath the freezer to catch drips (I'll probably fix this later to drain somewhere else, but for now it works!) and marveled at all of the extra fridge space I had!
Hopefully you didn't even have this problem in the first place, but if you were unfortunate to have a drippy cheese cave like me this could help!
Best of luck and happy shelf making!