How to Build Utility Shelves

Building the Framework Step 1

Measure 2 inches in from each end of 1x4 (B) in stile assemblies. Drill five evenly spaced, countersunk holes for #8x1-1/2-inch flathead wood screws. Drive the screws, then sand the edges.

Step 2

Crosscut 2x4 material to 36 inches in length to make two base rails (C). Break the rail edges with sandpaper.

Step 3

Using a stop block to ensure identical length, crosscut 1x2 material to length for front and back rails (E). Repeat for eight side rails (F).

Step 4

Clamp a straightedge as a guide and crosscut two 36-inch-long pieces of plywood 48 inches wide. Cut two pieces 20 inches wide from each to make the four 20x36-inch shelf decks (D).

Use a Stop Block: Cutting a Consistent Length

When you have several parts to crosscut to the same length, clamp a stop block to your crosscutting jig or worktable at the desired length. Butt each board up to the stop block to make the cut.

Brush on Glue

Use a small foam or stiff-bristle brush to spread glue on narrow surfaces, such as the edge of a 2x4. Either squeeze ribbons of glue directly from the bottle or dip the brush into a small container of glue.

Safety First: No Chopping with a Chop Saw

Power miter saws, often called chop saws in the building trade, are accurate tools that simplify crosscutting and cutting at angles. They cut quickly, but users sometimes try to rush the cut by forcing the blade into the wood, or chopping, which is dangerous.

Let the blade cut the wood at its own pace. Use one hand to pull on the saw with just enough force to lower it; keep the other hand away from the blade, firmly holding the board in place against the fence.

Continued on page 4:  Assembling Shelves


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