How to Build Utility Shelving
By Gene and Katie Hamilton
- Tape measure
- Framing square
- Sanding block
- Handsaw and miter
box or circular saw
- (24) Simpson Strong-Tie
- (12) 8-foot 2x2 lumber
- (1) 4x8-ft. 1/4-inch plywood
- (264) 1-1/4-inch #8 panhead
screws or (3) 1 lb. box of screws
- Wood glue
- Box 1-in. nails
- 80-grit sandpaper
Before You Begin
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Step 1 : Cut the legs, side rails, front and rear rails
Cut the eight 2x2s to the quantities and lengths listed here. Use a handsaw and miter box or a circular saw so your cuts are square.
- 4 legs 80-1/2-in.
- 12 side rails 12-15/16-in.
- 12 front and rear rails 44-15/16-in
Step 2 : Cut 6 plywood shelves
Use some of the 2x2s to support the plywood on a large worktable or on the floor. First, rip the sheet in three equal pieces 15-15/16x96-in. (assumes 1/8-in. saw kerf). Then stack the three pieces together to crosscut them in two equal pieces 47-15/16-in. long. Then cut a 1-1/2-in.-square notch out of each corner so shelves with fit around the posts. When using a circular saw or portable jigsaw to crosscut plywood, the up-cutting teeth tend to splinter the veneer so place the "good side" down when crosscutting.
Most home centers and lumber yards will make two cuts without charge and for a modest charge will make the one additional cut required for all your shelves. This not only saves time and eliminates the need for a circular saw, it also makes transporting the lumber in a car much easier.
Step 3 : Sand the lumber
Use a sanding block with 80-grit sandpaper to sand off splinters and ease the corners of all the lumber. This is much easier to do before assembly.
Step 4 : Lay out shelf positions
Measure and mark the location of each shelf on one leg. Then place all four legs side by side to align the ends. Using a framing square, draw a line across all four legs at each of your marks.
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