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Building Pantry Shelves

July 5, 2007

In the course of winding up our new home construction last September, I had to make some trade offs in terms of what we would get to finish, and how the money got spent.  I wiped out the entire finish carpentry budget to help mitigate some cost overruns in other areas, and as a result, for months we have had zero storage space.  Oh, closets abound, but lacked shelving, and just piling stuff inside and forcing the door closed with your shoulder is not the proper design point.    This past weekend, with some help from my parents who arrive for a visit, we built out the pantry.

I worked with 12″ wide MDF shelf boards, applying 3 coats of white paint.  Pre-painting while the boards are laying flat on saw horses is a real time saver.  I learned that lesson quickly.  I decided to dado the shelves into the verticals, and was shocked to find that a 10″ stacked dado blade cost $100.  I decided to gang 3 carbide blades together and just make 2 passes instead. 


Here is the end result of the cut, awaiting the next shelf board.  I fired the nails through the dado slot, so the shelf hides them, minimizing the number of holes to fill and repaint.


I made most of the slots fairly tight, and cut the shelves ever so slightly long, and drove them into place with a hammer and block of wood to protect the end of the shelves.  The pressure exerted against the verticals served to add more holding power to the nails.  The edges of the boards are subsequently dressed with 1 X 2 painted pine, which is glued and nailed in place, adding greatly to the rigidity of the structure.


It is difficult to get a complete shot of the finished product as the shelves span seven feet in height and are inside a walk in pantry.   Perhaps, if I had a wide angle lens, and were more skilled in photography. 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2007 2:29 am

    Great job Mark. They look excellent.

  2. July 6, 2007 2:59 pm

    Those look awesome man. I’m telling you – when we build our house, I’m hiring you as the general contractor 😉

  3. Gene Lewis permalink
    February 23, 2012 8:52 pm

    This was the best looking design I found on the web, even though it is dated from 2007. Very nice job.


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