Commercial shelving build

From DIYWiki

22 bays of commercial shelving were built in 2014. What's described is the slow way to do it - steel dexion et al are far quicker, but didn't really suit our requirements.


Job 1 was to work out what size shelves could go where. Most would be stock sizes, some would be cut down to fit odd gaps. This could not be done with the usual steel shelving bays.

The required shelf load rating of the shelves was assessed, according to what would be stored on them. I think it was 30kg per shelf, within the range of budget wooden shelves.

We decided it cheaper and faster to buy ready made slatted shelves, so bought a sample unit. Practical weight loading tests showed that while the shelves were fine, the uprights were for our purposes inadequate. They were not stable with even a fraction of our required load. So we upsized to 36x63mm CLS uprights, which conveniently came with rounded corners. We also moved the uprights from front & back to the sides; this gains more accessible space, and stops things falling off.

We began when timber yards were shut & didn't want to wait, so went to the cheapest of the diy sheds. Buying the uprights required sorting through the wood on offer, much was too warped. Asking the staff revealed they had more in stock, from which we selected straight wood.

Getting it back was fun. We couldn't use a van and didn't want to wait for a vehicle or delivery. Let me put it this way, nylon rope is a lot more stretchy than it looks, and this isn't a good thing. It's surprising how much wood some vehicles can take, but, well, I've no idea how it arrived. Maybe it walked.

Next job was to grade the timber. The best went at the front, the almost worst at the back, and the worst few got cut up for the short pieces later, where almost no amount of warp mattered.

We had worked out what heights we wanted the shelves at, and marked this in pencil on a pair of uprights laid on the floor. The pencil marks went on what would be the rear side, out of view. The slatted shelves were all drilled with clearance holes. Each shelf was placed/held in position on the uprights, and a screw lightly tapped in on each side, then driven in with a cordless drill. Occasionally a screw went into or close to a knot, in which case we drilled a more generous pilot hole for it. Knots are very hard wood.

Once completed, the part-bay was flipped over onto another 2 premarked uprights and the process repeated to make the bay. For the 5 bay unit shown we made 2 double-wide units this way, stood them in place then added the final middle shelves in situ - an awkward job. Then we screwed rear bracing to units 1,3,5, using a spirit level to ensure the unit was upright first.

Next we cut the short front to back brace pieces, 6 for the unit pictured. These need to be cut accurately angle-wise to avoid the end result being all wonky. The old floor the units stand on isn't entirely even, so we fixed them with the unit standing in its final position. The rear screws were driven in, the units put in their final place then the front screws inserted.

The 5 bay units shown are 8' high, 1.5' deep and about 15' long each. Determined misuse could possibly topple them with a fatal result, so each upright was tied to the wall with 2mm iron wire. Mark hole positions, SDS drill hole, insert wallplug, insert screw most of the way home. Any screw that's not tight is removed, the hole plugged with wood and the screw redriven. The iron wire's ends were filed harmless & bent out of the way.

Postscript: The process would have been far faster if we'd had first fix nailguns, but we didn't then.