Friday, 2 November 2012

The Handyman's Pocket Book: How To Fix Shelves.

CUPBOARD SHELVES.  The simplest way is to screw a batten to each side and let the shelf rest upon these.  They must be square, and you can use the try square at D, Fig. 1. A, B, and C show alternative treatments.  The screws should be countersunk.  Generally it is better not to glue the batten (unless the cupboard is of plywood), otherwise it may cause the wood to split.

When the shelf is thin (3/16 in. or 1/4 in.) you can use the special moulding made to hold drawer bottoms.  It is suitable for lights thing only, or when the shelf is quite short.  The moulding is shown at E, Fig. 1.
The metal supports shown at F can be used.  They are screwed to the cabinet side.  You can rest the shelf on them or drive screws upwards through them into the shelf.

CUP SUPPORTS.  When the sides of the cupboard are thick enough you can use the cups shown at G.  They are handy in that holes can be bored in the cupboard side, enabling the cups to be put in various positions, thus making the shelves adjustable.  A shallow hole is bored under the shelf near the edge to enable the shelf to fit right over the cup.  Another way is to cut grooves across the sides, as at H.

WALL SHELVES.  The fixing depends upon the sort of wall and its shape.  When there is a recess you can generally fix battens at both ends to hold the shelf.  When the shelf is to go into a corner you have one wall to which battens can be fixed.  If the shelves must be in the middle of a wall you cannot have any end battens at all; there is nothing to fix them to.

For shelves to be fixed in a recess the simplest way is to fix battens at each side and let the shelves rest upon these.  If the walls are of brick you can obtain a firm fixing by the use of rawlplugs.  In some cases it may be possible to nail into the mortar, but it depends largely upon its age.  In a new house you can generally nail quite easily - in fact builders often nail up picture rails, battens, and so on after the mortar has set but before it has completely hardened out.

MAKING SHELVES LEVEL.  In a brick wall it is easy to make the shelves level.  When the wall has been given a surface coating of cement or has been papered, however, it is necessary to measure up one side and use a spirit level.  If you know that the floor is level it is simple to measure up at each side.  Otherwise the best way is to square a line on one side, and hold a long batten in line with this.  A spirit level held on top of the batten will show when it is level, and it is when only necessary to make a pencil mark at the other end and square a line level with this as in Fig. 2.
A set of shelves resting upon battens is shown in Fig. 3.  As a rule there is no need to fix them, but a nail could always be driven downwards at each end into the battens.  For shelves to support medium weights only, and not longer than about 4 ft., the end battens alone are enough if the wood is not less than 7/8 in. thick.  Otherwise a long batten can be fixed to the back wall to prevent sagging.

A stronger form of shelving is that in Fig. 5 in which end pieces are used.  These are grooved to receive the shelves and the whole thing assembled first.  It is fixed to the wall with screws driven through the ends into rawlplugs.
Handyman012 - Version 2
USE OF BRACKETS.  When you have a wall at one end only it is necessary to have a bracket at the other, and this can be of metal or wood as in Fig. 4.  If the wall is of wood you can screw the metal bracket to it direct, but this may be difficult if it is of brick because the holes may come in awkward places.  If may be that some of them are so close together that the holes will run into each other or a new hole may be needed right at the edge of a brick.

The best way is to fix a wood batten to the wall and screw the metal bracket to this.  The screws fixing the batten to the wall can be in any convenient position.  A wood bracket is given at A and B, Fig. 4.  Note the notches in which the sloping piece fits.  The whole thing can be nailed or dovetailed together.

A similar idea can be followed when you want a series of shelves, except that one continuous upright is required to take all the brackets.  Fig. 6 shows the use of iron brackets, and Fig. 7 the wood bracket idea.  In both cases the shelves are notched at the end so that they fit around the upright.  Unless this is done there will be a gap at the back.  Fig. 6 shows at A another way of supporting the shelves.
When shelves are required in the middle of the wall will no end walls to support them you can use any of the ideas in Figs. 5, 6, and 7, except of course that brackets are needed at both ends.