Monday, April 21, 2014

0 Pantry Shelves - Don't Get Lazy

One of the biggest issues in doing renovations on a house is trying to justify completing projects in places that are not in the public space - those places that we hold invaluable to our day-to-day, but are never seen by visitors. One of those is the workshop - as I get more tools, leftover materials, paint cans, etc, the more it all just piles up till I can reorganize - again.  Another one of those is our back hallway.

That second "before" photo is pretty blurry, but you get the idea.  These are from when we first moved in, before I tore the tile out for Becky to lay in the kitchen where the old peninsula was. Before we tore those awful shelves and closet doors out. Before we painted. Before a giant rental power adhesive scraper just about took off my toe.

Since then, it's been a dumping ground for recyclables, baby stuff we don't need yet, old beer mugs, all sorts of random crap.  It's been on my list to get some shelves back up so we can actually use the storage space and not just have things laying on the ground, so last week I went and bought all the materials to get it done:

2 sheets of 2'x4' 2/4" plywood, cut into six 16" boards
3" and 2" all purpose, self drilling wood screws
A pack of anchors & screws
(6) 8' length of 1"x2" cleats.
A roll of self-adhesive wood veneer stripping

The back section was simple in the planning - there's three walls, so I just put a back cleat up, starting at 42" off the ground (that was the height of the bullet cans we have, so I figured that's a good height to fit things under the bottom shelf), and spacing the shelves equally from that point to the ceiling (which was about 13").

Rather than buy extra cleats and have scrap, I used the leftover 24" sections from the closet's back cleats, and decided that 12" out from the wall would be good enough for the sides of the shelves to hold them up. BUT what that meant was that I could only screw into the corner stud, and had to put anchors in the ends of the boards. The above photo shows the three step process. First, I screwed the piece in using a 3" wood screw into the corner stud, making sure I had the piece level (bottom piece).  Then I drilled a pilot hole through the wood and into the wall. I then took the wood screw out and set the piece to the side while I added an anchor (middle piece).  Then all I had to do was reattach the piece with the wood screw and add my anchor screw.

I somehow don't have photos of it, but just a little bit on prepping the shelves - I sanded the plywood down with a 220 grit sandpaper, added the self-adhesive wood veneer to the one edge that would face out, and then added two coats of polyurethane. I used the spray poly for the first time, since they're just back hallway shelves, and I have to say I'm impressed. I think that if it were used for a more public piece of furniture, I would have done 3-4 coats, but it went on super easy and dried evenly. Pretty great stuff.

Moving on. The closet took a little more planning and a lot more time, and some wise advice from a friend. Originally, I went the lazy route. Rather than cut around the two waste pipes and one water pipe in the closet (one of which is on an angle, therefore making it more difficult to measure), I was going to just place the shelves 5" out from the wall and brace them in the middle once I got the flooring in. In my mind this would be easier. But, with some prodding from our old pal Jeremy (who cut the countertops and has been my go-to for carpenter advice), I was convinced that it would actually be harder, more expensive and less effective than if I just cut around the pipes and had the back cleat to hold the shelf up.

Now, that all being said, half of this mistake was necessary. In order to mark the boards and get an accurate cut, I would have had to put these in place anyway. The only problem was that I now had to move the cleats back to the wall where they would reside, and ended up with more drill holes in the cleats that is necessary.

I marked the pipes on the three shelves and brought them out to the garage for cutting.

For the straight pipe and the water line, I used a 3" and 2" hole saw, respectively, to create the round front, rather than trying to create that curve with the jigsaw (though, I did break the jigsaw blade anyway).

I then used the jigsaw to cut up to the curves. It took some trial and error to get the width totally right, since I wanted a decently tight fit around the pipe. You can always cut more out, but can never add back in.

The waste pipes were off the wall enough to sneak the cleats behind them, so I only had to cut short ones to go on the other side of the water line. I also had to then move the side cleats back to the wall, since they were 15" long, and would have hung out over the end of the shelf, which would look stupid.  I used the same anchor process as the other shelves.

As you can see, I didn't get as tight on the water line, since that actually gets hot, even with the insulation I didn't want to push it.

Much sturdier. Still get a little bit of sag simply from how long they are, but if it gets bad, I'll go with the original plan and still add some support in the middle, maybe just in the form of some gas pipe.  To finish off all the shelves, I added 2" wood screws to the sides and back, drilling down through the shelf into the cleat, to hold them in place.

On the other side of the closet, the walls flare out, so even though it was a simpler install, and they fit tight at the back wall, I was left with a good 1/4" - 1/2" at the front of each shelf. I'll probably add some trim to the front of each shelf to hide that, even though I spent the time putting the veneer on.

While I was at it, and had the poly and veneer, I took the kitchen peninsula shelves out and finally finished those. I cut them so long ago, but never did anything to finish them. Now they look better and will wear much longer.

While I was on a roll, the last thing I did was swap the crappy aluminum storm door that was on the band garage - it was falling apart and we don't even have screens for it, so it's just glass - just an unnecessary barrier, really.  I instead took an old wood screen door that was originally between the back hallway and the garage (again - unnecessary barrier), switched the hinges to the right side, and added that - it fit perfectly.

I'll just have to fill in all the old holes and paint it with some exterior paint to protect it from rot, but it looks much more classic and less trashy than the other door. I also never noticed that doorbell till this very moment. Huh. I wonder if it is attached to anything...

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