Friday, August 16, 2013

Food Storage Shelf

This is the story of how I built my self rotating can rack. It is 6'6" tall, 34" wide and 8" deep. It holds 430 various sized cans.

I built mine out of used wood that was given to me.

To build one just like mine, you will need:

2 4x8 sheets of 3/8 " plywood
1 4x8 sheet 1/4"tempered hardboard
4 8' long 2X4's 
3 8' long 2X2's
2 8' long 1x2's

There will be a little bit left over, but I tried to keep that to a minimum. If your math will let you come up with all the parts you need using less wood, feel free.

You can adjust your own measurements to fit your available space, and needs. The important things to remember are:

For every 12" of shelf, there should be a drop of 1". 

The diameter of a soup can is 3" 
The diameter of a vegetable can is 3 1/2" 
The diameter of juice/stew/fruit cans is 4"

Here are the steps I went through:

Cut plywood to make shelves:

I cut:
7 - 28" x 18" 

These will be the receiver shelves

2 - 28" x 13"
3 - 28" x 14.5"
2 - 28" x 15 " 

These will be the feeder shelves

Make sure you use a push stick whenever you use a table saw:

A close up of the bottom of my push stick reminds me why I'm glad I used it instead of my fingers.

Next, I ripped a 2x4 into five equal strips roughly 3/4" x 1 1/2".

I set the angle of the saw at 3 degrees and beveled one edge of each strip.

These piece will serve as a can stop on the receiver shelves. I cut them to 28" and glued one to the front of each of my seven receiver shelves. 

Although wood glue is pretty strong these will have continual repeated jarring, so I turned them over and put several small brads in each one, to hold it in place.

Next, I split the 2x2's into 4 equal strips roughly 3/4" x 3/4".

I used a miter saw to cut them into 18" lengths. I needed a total of 90 pieces 18" long. These will be the can guides that create chutes on the shelves.

I paired up a receiver shelf with each feeder shelf and numbered them with a Sharpie to keep them straight. The two with the 13" feeders will be on the bottom, so they were numbers 1/2 and 3/4. The 14 1/2" feeders came next, 5/6, 7/8 and 9/10, finally, the 15" feeders 11/12 and 13/14. 

Using empty cans as guides, I laid out chutes, and glued the guides in place, making sure that the guides on the feeder shelf lined up with the guides on the receiver shelf.

At this point, I had 7 matched sets of shelves.

I used both glue and nails (brads) to hold everything together. I stacked them all up, put a heavy weight on them and left them to dry over night.

Now, I needed a frame for the shelves.

I had 2 2x4's that had been ripped up the middle to create approximate 2x2's although they were slightly bigger one direction than the other. I decided to use them as my four legs.

Now, I needed shelf supports. I cut 2x4's into 6ths, by first cutting each one into 3 equal width strips and then cutting each strip down the middle.

Back to the miter saw, I cut my shelf support into lengths 18 1/8" long with a 3 degree angle at each end.

I cut one the way I wanted it, then used it to set up a jig, so I could just slide the wood up to the jig and make the cut.

I needed 28 shelf supports.

I cut the legs to 6' 6" long.

I cut 4 pieces of 1x2 18" long as braces and glued them to the legs, to create two sides. I put one brace at the top, one 6" up from the bottom.

Then I put the shelf supports in place. I started from the bottom, put one end of a shelf support where I wanted the front of the bottom receiver shelf, and put the back 1.5" higher. (1":1' slope ratio) 

I used an empty can to mark the space I needed between shelves, and put the back end of a support there, then put the front end 1.5 " higher again.
I continued like this, all the way up the side, until all 14 supports were in place,

then, I lined up the other side and using the first side as a guide I made a mirror image. 

Two more pieces of 1x2 34" long this time at the top, and two at the bottom gave me a skeleton frame.

I cut a piece of tempered hardboard 70 1/2" x 33"for a back, not necessarily vital, but it keeps the cans from banging against the wall.
I also stuck an extra piece of 1x2 on each side, on the outside, so I would have something to hold on to when I lifted it up the stairs. These aren't necessary, but they don't hurt anything and they made carrying it much easier.
I also put a piece of plywood on the top, 33"x19 1/2" so I could stack things on top of it, also optional.

Once I had the frame upstairs and put into place in the pantry, I started putting the shelves in.

I had them all numbered, so I just had to start with "1" and work my way up.

This isn't to scale, but from the side, imagine it looking something like this:

Once inside our pantry, I can't back up enough to get a full length picture of it, but here is as much as I can fit in the picture.

So I have a rack that works kind of like this:

My cost out of pocket was $6.21. I paid $2.49 for a bottle of glue and $3.72 for three packages of nails at $1.24 each. I had some other nails on hand that I used as well. If I hadn't had those I would have paid $2.79 for another box of nails.

I didn't have any idea what I was doing so it took me about a week to build, working on it until I got tired each day. Someone who knows their way around a woodshop could probably turn this out is two good afternoons.

This was a good size project for me to get done and I have to admit, I am pretty proud of myself, LOL.

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