Modular Shelving System Questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Modular Shelving System Questions

I'm planning on building several modular shelving systems, like this:

I haven't done this before. No matter what I ask here, there always seem to be a few experts! So here's my questions:

1) Is there one you'd recommend? So far, I've looked at and like systems from Knape & Vogt, Elfa, and ClosetMaid, but I'm not sure which to choose.

2) All have an optional hang rail, which the slotted standards can attach to. Some say if you're using the hang rail, all you have to do is hang the standards from it. Others recommend screwing the standards into studs at all the pre-drilled intervals as well; in which case I don't really see the need for the optional hang rail in the first place. What's going on here?

3) I found a step-by-step guide of how one person built their shelving system, with this picture:

Saying, "with a few wood screws of various size, we drilled through the shelf bracket and into the plywood shelf to ensure a secure fit." Hmm. That looks like an awfully long screw on the right. I'm thinking it might be tricky to find just the right length to get decent bite into the shelf, without accidentally poking through the top. And of the entire build, minor a detail as it may be, those screw heads sticking out just look unprofessional; with them not fully countersunk and at odd angles to the underside of the bracket. Is there a better way to do this?

4) Finally, I'd like to build one shelf that will essentially be a box with a drawer inside. Except the drawer will not have front or side panels, so that when pulled out, it can be used as a desktop. I want it to travel smoothly until it reaches the fully opened position, then "lock" into place, so that it takes some force to push it back in from that position; more than what's likely when just casually working on the surface. I do not want to have to press a release lever, or anything of that nature. I know I'll need drawer slides, but I haven't used those before either, and I don't know what kind might have these properties.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:14 AM
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I'll answer #4 first, because I know the answer. You'll want keyboard slides/keyboard drawer sliders. They will slide smoothly and have a detent near the end of their travel so they bump over the detent and resist closing until you push firmly just like you are looking for. Home Depot has some and they come in varying lengths although individual HD stores seem to carry different stock in my neck of the woods. I'm sure Lowes or whatever other cabinet/big box hardware store you prefer will have them too.

#3 - Trigonometry or trial and error for finding screw lengths if the holes in the shelf supports are predrilled. If the holes are not predrilled you'll still use the same methods, but with more chance of it being wrong
The screw heads don't look that great, something like a panhead screw would look better, IMO

#2 - I'm not sure what the point of the hang rail is, maybe to get more money from the customer? Or perhaps for certain situations where you can only fasten the shelf standards at intervals, like for instance if you were hanging shelves in front of a window, you could place the hang rail at the top of the window and support the tops of the shelves, then screw them into the wall below the window. Just speculation, but it seems reasonable.

#1 - No experience with installing this type of shelf but they seem common enough, all the kinds I've ever seen have probably been the cheapest brands as they were used for basement storage rooms.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 03:28 AM
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I think the best practice is to hit as many studs as you possibly can. The hanger rail has two purposes - it's to allow installation without getting the standards into studs because the hanger will presumably intersect a stud somewhere. And, it's supposed to distribute the weight more evenly.

I think that if you mount the standards to studs, and try to hit a stud each vertical foot, using a nice long wood screw, there is little purpose to the hanger rail.

In my experience, these shelf/desks aren't that great, though. If you want a small desk, you are better off doing an Ikea Galant or similar system and then just hanging shelves for books, etc.

"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 04:25 AM
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Used a closet made to build my wife a clothes room

Studs studs studs, u never know what u may wish to put on it in the future, put it in right the first time!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Blink: Keyboard slides are just what I needed! I found a good one, interestingly from one of the same companies that makes the other stuff, so combined shipping is an option. And you're right, pan head screws and some good guessing/trig should do a neater job.

Dave-H & HD Blazingwolf: One of these shelving systems will be light duty, another will hold heavy power tools. But I'll go ahead and use more screws driven into studs than I think I need for each.

Dave-H: The retractable desktop, and the shelving system it will be attached to, will be partially used a packing station; and will be in a shallow closet like this:

Once or twice a week, we'll open the doors, extend the deskop, and pack items without having to clear other desks. All the packing materials will be right there in easy reach on the shelves. Then when we're done, just slide the desktop back in and close the doors; and everything is minimized and out of sight. So fortunately, no need for full desktop quality. We'll probably find other quick tasks it'll come in handy for too.

Thanks everyone, I have a better handle on this now! I think these are going to be great.
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