Cheap, easy to make and incredibly strong shelving

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Blog entry by mhfinefurniture posted 08-18-2013 11:53 AM 3728 reads 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Last year I embarked on project that included redoing the storage room in my shop and also building a gambrel style shed on my property. After completing this, I was looking at needing about 120 lineal feet of storage shelving for both. I didn’t want to go with a built in 2×4 constructed shelving unit as they are not adjustable, a pain to build/paint ( I have done it before) and more importantly I can’t take them with me if I ever move. I looked at the local borg and it would have been about $1k for what would have worked for me (which was too much), couldn’t find anything suitable on craigslist, so I decided to come up with a strong, easy to build, cheap, and removable storage shelving and this is it.

Each torsion box shelf is made from about 1 and 1/3 sheet of 7/16” osb, pl premium (or liquid nails), 1” brads, and ¼” by 7/8” crown staples.
I started out by ripping the 4×8 sheets in half and then ripping 3” sections. After that I cut the 3” sections to length.

Next I glued and used 1” brads to secure the sides using a template.

Apply glue to the top.

ecure the edges with staples.

Draw a line where the ribs are by using the brads as reference marks.

Now standing on top, staple the top to the ribs.

Now flip it over and repeat on the other side.

After the glue cures you can leave it as is or finish it further with routing, sanding and painting (which I did).
So just how strong is it? I don’t know but I gave it a test with the weight of my grizzly shaper (392lbs)

I made the end posts from laminated 2×4’s that where left over from my project and then used dowels to join them together. I used conduit hangin L brackets that I sourced off ebay to secure the shelves to the posts.

Once you get set up in assembly line mode, it all goes quickly. Painting is what too took the longest, but I think it makes for a better product and less dust.
Thanks for reading.
Matt Hensley

-- Matt,

5 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3632 days

#1 posted 08-18-2013 01:11 PM

Great solution and looks very nice. Thanks for the write up and photographs.

P.S. Agree painting makes it look much better—kind of like a completed project.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3530 days

#2 posted 08-18-2013 01:32 PM

great shelves,looks nice.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 5425 days

#3 posted 08-18-2013 07:56 PM

Very impressive!


View Jimbo817's profile


19 posts in 3097 days

#4 posted 08-18-2013 09:56 PM

This is one of those projects that you slap yourself in the forehead and say, DUH! Why didn’t I think of that! Great idea. I’m going to use it.

-- Measure twice and cut once, after you sharpen your pencil!

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2764 days

#5 posted 11-04-2014 12:50 AM

I love the torsion box demo with the cabinet saw on top!!!!!

I use torsion boxes for just about every work surface I build.

Nice job.

-- Brad, Texas,

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