General Topics #4: Closet Catastrophe

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Blog entry by Jeff posted 03-30-2007 07:31 AM 1606 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Putting the shop back in order Part 4 of General Topics series Part 5: I got a 'Commission' »

The strangest thing happened to me Tuesday night when I came home from work. Our closet in the loft collapsed… It was nuts.

My second actual project was a simple system of shelves and drawers made of Baltic Birch (Pics coming soon. I know, you’re not official until you post. Working on it.) that i put up in the top part of the closet to increase the storage and organization. The closet is only 5×2 x 7 and the top 20 inches were not really being utilized. So, I whipped this thing out in record time (at least I thought so for a newbie) and used it all winter. I don’t know if it was the weight or just the poorly installed shelf that caused the collapes. Likely both.

When I came home, I proceeded to put away my shoes in one of the drawers and store the lightweight sweater in it’s designated slot. I walked back to the other side of the loft and crash, boom, bang, KT’s clothes were ALL on the floor and the cabinet was wedged in the closet, tipping forward and depositing three of the 5 drawers on the ground.

I couldn’t believe it and then I found that the anchors on one shelf support had just been straightened completely flush with the screw. I was really worried about my cabinet. I have so little of substance to show for my hobby so far and was really bummed. It was really wedged and I was afraid I would have to break it or worse take a sawzall to it to get it out…

I was determined, though, and after moving and working, and more moving and working, and a big hole in the drywall, I got it out unscathed. Actually, for all the wrenching it went through, the cabinet came out GREAT! The drawers (more like boxes with finger pulls; they’re kinda sweedish I guess) that crashed to the floor are completely in tact. A testament to the box joint my friends as they took a 5 foot fall. None of the joints on the cabinet itself broke either.

I was excited as much as I was relieved. I built something that did not and will not fall apart like a cheap piece of particle board, nancy-pants, plastic-veneered, so-called furniture! Thus, I was bolstered into fixing the stupid holes in the drywall right away and have devised a better, stronger, faster design idea which I’m about to work out in SketchUp. I fixed the walls tonight and have the nice Birch plywood on hand too. Can’t wait to get it done. It’s not the Thorsen table but it’s a woodworking project (I refuse to treat it as simple contruction as I will be facing the plywood and trimming the top and bottom of some new supports).

Alas, the cabinet will have a new home somewhere else as the new closet design won’t support it. At least the clothes are out of it and I can take a few photos now for the projects page.

Does drywall dust count as “makin’ dust” when wood is involved later?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

10 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4596 days

#1 posted 03-30-2007 08:01 AM

I say dust is dust.

I just voluntarily deconstructed my first closet organizer about a month ago. Probably was preemptive to its own natural fall like yours.

So I will be interested in what you come up with.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4667 days

#2 posted 03-30-2007 11:22 AM

yikes re: the fall
bravo re: the save!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4600 days

#3 posted 03-30-2007 04:03 PM

YES! Great answer/validation, Giz. Thanks.

Debbie, thanks for the kudos as well. I just learned we will be getting rain from now through Sunday afternoon so there will be little excuse for not taking those pics.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4907 days

#4 posted 03-30-2007 04:07 PM

Nothing puts us back in our place like something we were so proud to make and then gravity finds the flaw.

Good luck on the reconstruction.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4806 days

#5 posted 03-30-2007 04:10 PM

Good luck with your repair job.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4596 days

#6 posted 03-30-2007 05:19 PM

I am curious…. did you bolt into the wall studs?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4600 days

#7 posted 03-30-2007 11:44 PM

Clarification: The shelf on which my cabinet was perched was existing; not of my creation.

The closet was poorly constructed I have learned. On the back wall (60 inches) there is only one stud. It is not even centered. I have no idea why someone would do that except to be cheap… The Existing shelf was supported by brackets that were mounted on that stud as well as at the corners.

In hindsight, I should have known not to trust it. Ha! It’s like an old Geico commercial… “We all do stupid things.”

Thanks for reading and leaving your comments/questions.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4821 days

#8 posted 03-31-2007 05:55 AM

About the easiest thing in the world is to build a closet shelf that will not fall down. To bad we don’t always do things the easy way.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4834 days

#9 posted 04-01-2007 06:14 AM

Only one stud in 60”?! What does the closet back up to?

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 4600 days

#10 posted 04-01-2007 08:15 AM

A brick load bearing wall. These old brownstones are quite interesting. It’s not an original part of the structure for sure.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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