The shelf-maker's guide
Adopt a budget-minded approach to your storage problems by designing and building your own shelving.
Guide to shelving
Create a permanent solution to clutter by building and installing shelves to keep things picked up and stored in an orderly fashion. Basic shelf units are fairly easy to build. Here are a few pointers to help you along the way.
Even with an edge, this common shelving material developed a noticeable sag at 36". A 4x8' sheet costs about $35 at our home center.
With a solid-wood edge added, this inexpensive material ($19.50 per sheet) can handle medium loads in a garage or workshop.
Particleboard with plastic laminate
A layer of plastic laminate (about $2 per square foot) on each face adds a surprising amount of strength to particleboard.
Oriented-strand board (OSB)
When you make rough shelving, note that medium-cost OSB ($12 per 4x8' sheet) offers more strength than particleboard.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
MDF is comparable to the other manufactured sheet goods in strength but has a smooth surface. Our 4x8' sheet cost about $32.50.
With an edge, this choice gives you furniturelike appearance along with visually acceptable deflection up to 36". It's expensive, at $45 per 4x8' sheet.
Baltic birch plywood
This is the winner of our strength test. However, its face has a bland appearance in comparison with solid wood, and we paid a hefty $70 for a 4x8' sheet.
There's no need for edging unless you build shelves in the 48" range. But it's expensive: $3.75 per board foot at our home center.
With an edge, it performs as well as oak, and we paid $4.29 per board foot (select grade).