More Shelves Please!

There is very little storage in my 1 bedroom apartment and I'm constantly rearranging the closets we do have for better optimization. You can see the one big(gest) closet we have in this post, but I have yet to make a post all about my closets and their organization (which I do plan on doing).

So I asked my dad if he'd help me build a shelving unit to go above my laundry machines in the kitchen. I thought there was a lot of dead space there and shelves would really help.


So here is the space we are working with. My laundry machines are in a corner of my kitchen right next to the fridge and stove.

We thought it would be best if we had the unit as free standing as possible, because we are not sure what the walls of these buildings are made of (seriously, you try to screw something in there and can pull it out because the plaster or whatever just crumbles).

I also wanted to incorporate a rod to hang my clothes for drying. I never put wet clothes in the dryer (they shrink), and we do have a drying rack, but it's flimsy, even with the chopstick reinforcement!

So that meant 3 shelves, with the top one extending a bit more so that the clothes hung off it would not touch the shorter shelves below nor the machines. And it had to be no more than 6' tall for me to be able to hang stuff without needing a bench.

So with that, we drew up some plans. Ok, my dad made some plans, let's not kid ourselves, he is the master mind, I just give orders and directions ;)

I know this is not the best looking plan, but it's what my dad drew up, according to my measurements (which I was afraid I didn't take correctly, but it fit perfectly in the end!!).

They were gonna be built out of plywood, because it is cheap and pretty enough to just be stained. We love us some natural wood :) But because of that, we needed to think well about reinforcement as plywood is not very strong by itself, especially on a 61" stretch. So we incorporated a support frame that would go underneath the shelves (that's the 2" written on the plan).

He also drew up a cut sheet, to best maximize the plywood we would get.

With that we were off to Home Depot to get our loot. We came back with 2 sheets of pine plywood (23$ a sheet), but my dad had to go get more (because of a design flaw). We picked up some stain as well, and a few other things for an other project ;)

And that was as far as we got that weekend, ha!

Building the Unit

Couple of weekends later I was back home again, and we managed to get a days work done. And then again 2 weekends after that we spent 1 day and 1/2. We did 3 projects all at once, one of which was the Kitchen Mug Shelf I shared last month, and the other is for an other day. Here is how it went down.

Some widths were cut with the miter saw with the plywood balanced on a big box that was in the garage (new BBQ if you're curious). A long level was used to keep a straight line.

Once the narrow pieces (frame reinforcement pieces) were cut on the table saw (no pictures were taken because it was a 2 man job) the radial saw was used to cut them to the right length.

My dad got an action shot of me... Got my work clothes on!

A little tip for this part, if you are cutting pieces that are all the same length, secure a piece of wood in place so that you only need to put it against that piece and not measure every single piece (picture explains it better than me). Good time saver.

Yay. All pieces are cut!

I don't like square edges, so I got my dad to make a rounder edge on all the sides that would show. Well, the bit we used was more oval than round, because the thickness of the plywood wouldn't allow us to use the round router bit.

It was really hard to photograph the round edge, I hope you can see it!!

Then we gave a good sanding to all the pieces before pre-assembly. Fun fact, this was my first time using a palm sander. It's not as easy or as fun as it looks. My hands are small so I can't get a really good grip on the handle, and it vibrates so much that after 5 minutes of sanding my hand had swollen so much that I couldn't take off my ring anymore!

The pre-assembly consisted on making the underside frame of all the shelves. Basically 4 sides all around the edges to provide extra support. So we screwed all 4 sides together to make the frame, and then screwed it to the shelf itself.

We also filled the screw holes with wood filler and sanded.

The bottom shelf I wanted right above the laundry machines (with a 1 inch grace), which meant we needed to cut out a small part where the washing machine lid opens. This also caused a LOT of trouble while making the frame.

As you can see, we had to cut smaller pieces to go around the opening all zig-zag like... And then because the edges were rounded, it could only be assembled one way so the frame indent would be in line with the shelf indent (following me?).

Naturally, we screwed up and made the frame on the wrong side... Double and triple check people! Even the 2 of us made the mistake. In the end we had the shelf all framed up...

Anyway, the other 2 shelves were a breeze to frame after that one!! And that's as far as we assembled it at my parents'.

The last steps were to stain and seal the wood. I chose Minwax English Chestnut (13$) because it was a dark stain but more red than walnut.

We hadn't planned on sealing, but after manipulating the stained wood and staining our hands, it became very evident that it needed to be sealed. I have no idea what kind of sealer we used, my dad just took it from his stash; it was in a non labelled plain can....

We did do a practice assembly in the garage before we headed to my apartment (2 hours away). I thought I had taken pictures while we assembled in the garage, but I guess I didn't transfer them from my mom's camera or didn't actually take them.

Anyway, next time I will show you what they look like installed in my apartment!! I will have to make a 3rd post about how I organized the shelves, too. Stay tuned...Check out part 2 here!

I party at these parties.

1 comment:

  1. A cliff hanger, huh? I love the picture of you in action working that heavy machinery. Looks like you had a great day making some memories with your dad and creating something perfect for your laundry room.


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