Shelving Dreams

Saturday, Sept 26, 2015

This week, I kept having tiny house shelving dreams. After work last Wednesday, I came home and worked on the shelves next to the closet for about three hours. In that time, I finally came up with a great idea for adjustable shelves with trim on the front. I also designed as much of the shelving as I could without actually getting started. However, for some reason my brain kept trying to continue the design while I was asleep.

Luckily, I finally finished installing the shelves yesterday. I’m really glad that is done, partially because they really look great, but mostly because I was getting really sick of dreaming about those shelves.

I wish I could say that the Tumbleweed plans offered any help in building the closet or my shelves. However, once again, that is not the case. In the plans that I bought, Tumbleweed provides a nice exploded diagram of the shelving that is supposed to go between the kitchen counter in the living room. However, that is shelving I decided not to install so that my kitchen counter could be a little bit longer. I asked Tumbleweed if they could create a similar exploded diagram for the closet and shelving area on the other side of the great room. They promised to provide something and I patiently waited several weeks for them to sketch something up. After delaying building my closet and shelves for several weeks, the response I finally got back from Tumbleweed was, and I’m not kidding here, “Build a square frame from a 2 x 3.” That’s pretty much all they said. No drawings. No other useful instructions. Honestly, I don’t even know what part of my closet or my shelves I would have built out of a 2 x 3. Their response made no sense to me at all. My guess is that they were in a hurry and didn’t actually read my original email to see what I really needed. However, as with my front door, I think it’s probably good that Tumbleweed didn’t help me with this because it forced me to design it myself and that meant I got exactly what I wanted.

To get my design to work, the first thing I had to do was make the shelves 1/8 inch wider than the pine 1 x 12 boards I purchased. That is because the space for the shelves is exactly 11 1/2 inches wide but evidently, 1 x 12 boards are actually only 11 1/4 inch wide. To make the shelves wider, I decided to cut some strips of 1/8 inch wide pine out of my scrap shelving material and glue and nail those strips onto one edge of each shelf. That took a little bit of work, but actually turned out really well. By the time I glued on the strips and sanded them down, you could barely even see that they were there.


1/8″ Strips Added to Stack O’ Shelves

Shelves Ready to Go

Shelves Ready to Go With Lip on the Front

Next, I set about drilling holes for the shelf hanger pins to make the shelves adjustable. I’m not quite sure why I decided to make them adjustable. Maybe I just wanted the project to be even more difficult than it already was. In any case, the way I did it was to get a long strip of wood, mark a spot every 2 inches and then drill a hole through each one of those spots so I could use that strip of wood as a template on each of the four corners. The idea was good. The only problem was that the space inside the shelving area was pretty tight and I found it really difficult to drill holes in there. In fact, the space was so small that my drill wouldn’t even fit in there and still be perpendicular to the walls. I almost thought I was going to have to give up on the adjustable shelving idea when it suddenly occurred to me that I could use my impact driver to drill the holes instead. That actually worked pretty well. The only problem was that I had to drill 140+ holes and had to become a bit of a contortionist to do to the ones in the back. I was pretty glad when all that was done.

Drilling Shelf Hanger Pin Holes

Drilling Shelf Hanger Pin Holes

Once I had the holes drilled, I ran into a new problem. It was only when I tried to test one of the shelves inside the space that I discovered that the shelf hanger pins I bought were actually 1/16 inch thick and when I had them in, my perfectly sized shelves – which I had painstakingly added 1/8 of an inch to – no longer fit in the available space. As a result, I ended up spending the next 45 minutes chiseling out little spots for the shelf hanger pins on the side of each shelf. However, once I had all the spots chiseled out, I tried out one of my shelves and it fit perfectly. That felt pretty good.

Chiseled Spot for Shelf Hanger Pin

Chiseled Spot for Shelf Hanger Pin

First Shelf Test Fit in Place

First Shelf Test Fit in Place

After I got my shelves to fit the only thing left to do was to add trim to the closet and shelving area. That took me about another hour and once it was done, the whole shelf and closet area looked pretty good. Actually, I’m really happy without turned out. It’s kind of like my front door. Every time I look at it, it makes me happy.

Finished Shelves

Finished Shelves

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