11 Aug 2008

They’re unique, that’s for sure.

After staring at my closet for yet another day thinking how great it’ll be once I install some shelves and move the dresser inside, and get a bar of some kind to hand all my shirts on, I realized that I had all the prep work done and it was just pure procrastination preventing me from (alliterating apparently and) doing at least the first two items.

The custom shelf was pretty easy. It doesn’t have to support much weight, meaning the shelf supports themselves don’t have to support much weight, meaning this half-inch right angle piece I had in the back room would be fine tacked straight into the wall.

[Update 8/14 – should have mentioned all the steps here. First I pre-drilled the support at 4 places along its length; it makes the next several steps much easier, not to mention keeps you from splitting the support and teahcing your neighbors some new curse words. Then I tapped the nails into, but not through the wood – ‘porcupine’ boards also make the work go faster, assuming you didn’t pre-drill holes that are too big. Then: found my height, nailed one nail in part way to the wall, LEVELED the support (this is the sort of step I’d normally space on and have to pull out a nail), tapped in another nail, and then hammered all four nails in using a nail set to finish them off. Nail sets are wonderful, wonderful tools, especially when working with small nails and/or tight spaces.

You can try and measure from the floor to the support on both sides, or just use a piece of wood and the level to quickly find the right height. If you’re a little off for some reason, don’t sweat – these shelves are only 3’1″ wide, so a slight grade won’t even be noticeable.]

You can use whatever one-by wood makes sense for you – scrap is great if you sand or paint, or don’t mind how it looks. This is a bunch of old old tongue and groove that came out of a friend’s house and that I knew would be useful for something. In addition to having some character, it also comes apart in 3″ sections if, for some reason, I needed a little more clearance at the front.

If you’re doing something like this in an old house like mine, make sure to take multiple measurements. For whatever reason this closet tapers slightly. The slats are all cut the same, but the two closest to you in the picture have probably 3/16″ wiggle room, whereas the very back slat is jammed in too tightly (you can see where I accidentally gouged some paint on the right while putting it in). Measuring the way back as well as the couple of runs I measured elsewhere would have prompted me to cut one board a hair shorter.

Doesn’t matter much at all – it works great and looks nice as is. I’m thinking of putting a small rolling shelf underneath this one for my shoes.

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