Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit

Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit

From July 19 2013

Construct a Built-In Shelving Unit at Home 

Want a more finished look for your new shelves? Then consider taking the time to plan and construct a built-in shelf system. Tucked between two windows or between a wall and a window or door, it will take on the look of custom furniture, because you can plan it to fit exactly into your available space.

What you need for this job:
Stud finder Finish nails and common nails
Circular saw Lumber
Drill and ¼ inch bit with depth stop 2 x 2 lumber
Hammer Scrap pegboard
Miter box and saw Scrap wood block
Screw gun Paint/ wood stain and varnish
Trim molding
3 inch wallboard screws
Shelf pins

Step 1: Measure the height and width of the area where you’ll install your


For easy installation, build the basic unit 1-inch shorter than the height of your ceiling. Remove the baseboards. You would have to cut them to fit around the shelving unit and reinstall them when everything is nailed in place.


Step 2: Mark and cut the two side panels 1-inch shorter than your floor-to-ceiling measurement.

Cut the shelving-unit top, bottom and shelves 1 -1/2-inches shorter than the unit’s overall width. Measure and cut four 2×2 frame supports that also are 1-1/2-inches shorter than the unit’s width.


Step 3: Using scrap pegboard as a guide, drill pairs of 1/4-inch holes along the

inside of each side panel.

Space pairs of holes about 9 inches apart horizontally and every 2-inches vertically. Drill the holes 3/8-inches deep and use a depth-stop bit attachment or a scrap block of wood as a guide to make sure you don’t drill all the way through.

Step 4: Paint or finish the wood as you like before you assemble the unit.

Then attach the side panels to the ends of the frame supports. Drive 6d finish nails through the sides and into the end grain of the frame supports.


Step 5: Tilt the unit into position and flush against the wall.

Using 3-inch wallboard screws and a screw gun, screw through the top rear frame support into the wall studs and through the bottom frame supports into the floor.

Step 6: Attach the bottom and top pieces by driving 6d finish nails through the side panels into the end grain of the top and bottom.

Replace the baseboards around the bottom of the shelving unit, cutting the pieces to size and mitering the ends as necessary. Similarly, cut and fit trim molding around the top of the unit. Use a nail set to recess all nail heads. Finally, install the shelf pins in the desired holes and fit the shelves in place.

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