Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who Needs a Stud?

Are you tired of nagging your husband to put up some shelves in the garage, pantry, or closet? You don’t need a man to do this job for you. Any gal worth her salt can find a stud and get this job done in a jiffy. All you need for your working partners are your level and your stud finder.

Get yourself over to Home Depot and buy the materials to get started. Bring along the measurements of the height, width, and depth of the shelving you desire. Purchase two uprights for each set of shelves. Figure they will be about 18 inches apart to decide how many sets you will need. If you want to store really heavy stuff you will need double uprights. For medium weight stuff, a single standard will do. The standards come in zinc, brown, and white. How deep do you want your shelf? Pick out the brackets to go with your uprights. If you need to buy the actual shelf, those are available in pre-finished, pre-cut boards in white or brown. You would buy a ten-inch wide shelf to go with a ten-inch wide bracket. Make sure all the parts fit together properly.

You will also need a pencil, stud finder, yardstick, level, and screws, 1 ½ to 2 inches long. You can use a drill or Phillips Head screwdriver.

Starting on the left side of the wall, use the stud finder or the old hammer trick to find the first stud. This can be anywhere between 14 and 18 inches from the start of the wall. Make several marks down the line of where the first upright will go. If they all seem to line up, you should have found the correct location of the stud.

Now decide how far from the ceiling you want the upright to start. Remember if you are too close to the ceiling those slots will be useless. I decided on 6 inches for mine. Measure the distance down from the ceiling and draw a small straight line.

Take your upright and line it up with the stud marks. Put a level next to the upright and shift it until the bubble on the level is in between the two center marks. Do not use your eye or the ceiling as your guide. No building is ever completely level.

Drill a screw into the central hole on the upright first. Check to make sure the upright is still vertically level. Then put in the other screws. You will know you are hitting a stud when you feel and hear the screw twisting into hard wood.

Now find the next stud. Again, this can be between 14 and 18 inches from your first stud. Put the level horizontally on top of the first upright and draw a line where the top of the second upright should go. Repeat steps for installing the upright.

Repeat all steps until you have installed all of the uprights.

Now decide how high you want each of the shelves to go. Put the brackets into the slats and give a few downward taps with the hammer to install. On my shelves, I still have room for two rows of shelves on top; I need to purchase 8 more brackets.

Finally, put the shelves on your brackets and you are ready to go! I happen to have enough scrap wood in my shed that I can cut the shelves to fit and save myself some money. After I purchase the remaining brackets, this project will have cost me approximately $30.

Above is a picture of the standards I installed today, complete with the spiders on the ceiling, pencil marks, and a wayward hole from a mistake I made in finding a stud. From start to finish, this took 45 minutes. This is a great starter project because deciding where to make a hole is not the life-or-death decision it would be in your living room.

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