How to Build Heavy Duty Wood Shelves

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If you are thinking about building shelves to give yourself more storage space, you may be concerned about the shelves being able to hole the weight of what you need to store. Fortunately, there are plenty of varieties of lumber with large thicknesses that will make the shelves able to hold items of massive weight. These shelf units are easy to build and can be done in an afternoon

Things You'll Need

  • 2 2-by-12 boards, 8 feet long
  • 8 2-by-12 boards, 3-feet long
  • 11-inch plywood, 8 feet by 2 feet 3 inches wide
  • Carpenter's square
  • Level
  • Drill with screw bits
  • Wood screws
  • Build a frame with the 8-foot-long pieces of 2-by-12 and two of the pieces of 3-foot 2-by-12. The longer pieces of wood will be the sides with the shorter pieces for the top and bottom. The top piece should be even with the top edges of the sides and the bottom piece should be offset in the frame 1-inch from the bottom of the sides.

  • Square the frame using the carpenter's square and level. Once all pieces are square and level, screw the frame together.

  • Measure 1-foot up from the top of the bottom shelf in the interior of the shelf unit and make a mark. This is the bottom of the next shelf. Place another piece of 3-foot 2-by-12 at this location, make sure it is level and screw it into the frame.

  • Repeat this process to install the rest of the shelves. Measure up 1 foot from the top of each shelf to find the bottom of the next shelf up. This will ensure each shelf has a full foot of room to store items.

  • Place the sheet of plywood over one opening in the frame. This is the back of the shelf unit and should entirely cover the side. Once the back is square and even with the sides, screw it into place along the perimeter of the wood

Tips & Warnings

  • This process will give you a shelf unit which is 8 feet tall by 3 feet long by 1 foot deep. If you need a different height or width, just change the size of the 2-by-12 for the sides and the shelves. The construction process is the same.
  • Make sure all angles are even and level. This will make sure that the structure of the shelf unit is secure.

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