Building a Storage Shelf Unit

I needed some shelves to store the accumulated junk that collects in a garage so to give some room to still make things.

The storage unit was constructed from CLS 2×3” and 12mm MDF. The CLS is more than adequate in strength and the MDF will provide a nice flat surface for the shelves.

I got the 2 full MDF sheets cut into five pieces each so I ended up with 10 pieces approx 485mm by 1220mm. By placing two piece side by side I will have a unit with five shelves 2.4m long with no waste.

CLS Timber 2×3”

I built the frames to support the shelves first, cutting five pieces of 2×3” at 411mm. Then I turned to the longer uncut lengths of 2×3”, these will be retained at 2.4m to avoid waste and to fit the length of the cut MDF. I marked, piloted holed and countersunk holes in ten lengths. These will make up the back and front sides for the five shelves. The shorter 411mm pieces will then form ribs to tie everything together, I had some spare 2×2” PSE so I used this for the two in between ribs.

Once everything was marked and ready I glued and clamped the wood and started building the frames. I screwed the ribs in with 4.2x75mm drywall screws screws 4 per rib. The drywall screws cut well into the wood and as they are slightly narrower than normal wood screws are less liable to split the wood. All the angles were checked with a square to ensure the frame was as true as possible.

Once all five had been build, I then sanded the frames with a random orbital sander and finished with Danish Oil rubbed over with a cloth (danish oil soaked rags can be a spontaneous combustion risk so extreme care must be taken).

I then cut 100mm blocks to secure to the 2×3” uprights to spread the load – these were finished with Danish Oil like the frames.

Then I turned to making the legs, I cut the 2.4m CLS’s down to 2m25cm to fit under the ceiling and sanded them, then wiped over with Danish oil.

To assemble, I screwed three 1m50cm vertical battens to the wall with 5 3”x10 screws each and brown wall plugs also used some instant grab adhesive both on the wall plugs and on the reverse of the battens. Then cut smaller blocks and screwed them to the battens to ensure the legs were slightly out of way of the edge of the floor were the concrete was not quite so level.

Then I fixed the back legs to the battens

Then onto the build, I marked one leg with the shelf height measurements and secured that to the end batten ensuring that it was exactly level. Then done the same with the other two back legs.

Then I piloted holed the shelves at the back to make construction easier.

I then stacked all five shelves on the floor and got the two of the front legs ready.

With some assistance, I lifted the top shelf to the mark on the back leg and clamped it, then checking its was level i clamped it on all sides. I only marked one leg as I knew my concrete floor was not quite level and I wanted the shelves to be exactly level regardless of the floor. The shelf was then secured with 65mm drywall screws.

I then repeated the process for all five shelves checking to ensure they were all perfectly level. Then I fixed the front middle leg to provide additional support.

Then onto the support blocks, these were piloted holed and then fixed below the shelves with plenty of glue and 2 65mm drywall screws.

I then added some extra 65mm drywall screws through the legs into the frames, 4mm pilot hole to prevent the wood splitting. Just to add a little extra strength.

Then the MDF shelves was laid into the frames and secured with 42mm drywall screws.

They fitted well as I allowed an extra 2mm to the ribs to ensure I would not be planing an entire length of MDF.

The MDF was finsihed was Black Bison Furniture Wax, this gives a good water resistant finish and will prevent knocks to the shelves. The front CLS a quick sand to remove the pencil marks and another wipe over with danish oil.

Here is the finished unit, full of garage clutter, it is exceptionally strong and holds a vast amount of stuff. All made with simple wood work skills and much cheaper than an equivalent sized and strong unit. The unit can be disassembled be removing the legs leaving five shelves that can then be moved and rebuilt.

costs (I had plenty of drywall screws, wall plugs and glue over from the build)

65mm drywall screws x500 £7.28, 75mm drywall screws x500 £7.64, 42mm drywall screws £3.82, Danish Oil £9.49, CLS x26 £52.80 (I used some spare 2×2” for some of the ribs), MDF 12mm x 2 full sheets (£16.48ea) £32.90, 500ml wood glue £4.11, wall plugs (rawlplug brown uno) £4.49, 3” x10 twin screws £2.24 (to fix battens to wall), Toolstation Solvent Free Glue Screws £1.57, 180 grit sanding sheets £3.80.

total spend £130.14

tools list

mitre saw, impact driver, drill, drill bits, countersink, philips screwdriver bit, J cloth (for danish oil application),random orbital sander, pencil, square, tape measure and hammer.