5 Steps to Build a Home Office Shelving Unit 5 Steps to Build a Home Office Shelving Unit

What You'll Need
5 shelves (1 1/8 by 10 by 41 inches)
2 ends (1 1/8 by 10 by 9 inches)
2 ends (1 1/8 by 10 by 8 1/2 inches)
2 ends (1 1/8 by 10 by 8 inches)
2 ends (1 1/8 by 10 by 7 1/2 inches)
2 ends (1 1/8 by 10 by 7 inches)
4 dowels (1 1/4 by 50 inches long)
1/8 by 1 1/2-inch brass cotter pins
Table saw
Drill press (1 1/4-inch Forstner bit and 1/4-inch bit)
Sandpaper (120-grit and 220-grit)
Carpenters glue (yellow)

For any home office space, storage is a necessity, and having sturdy, adjustable office shelving is an absolute must. With a little perseverance and a couple of power tools, you will have a professional set of office shelving that you can be proud to say you built yourself.



Step 1 - Cut Lumber and Drill Holes in Shelves

To begin your office shelving, cut lumber to exact sizes as listed above. With the drill press and 1 1/4-inch bit, drill 4-holes through each of 4-shelves. On 1 shelf, drill the 4-hole centers at 10 inches from either end and 1 1/4 inches from either side. Drill from the backside through to the front. Use this shelf as a template for the remaining shelves. For the top shelf, drill 2/3 of the shelf thickness from the bottom.

Step 2 - Mark and Cut Dovetails

Mark one edge of each end (10 total) for dovetails. The end pieces will have the "tail" part of the dovetail. Mark a line equal to the depth of the shelf stock (1 1/8 inches) from the bottom edge. From the left side (looking from the outside of the end piece) and measuring in 1/2 inch, make a mark. The tails should be 3/4-inches wide at the top and tapered at 15° to the edge. The tails should also be set at 1 3/4 inches on the center across the 10-inch width of the board. Set the table saw blade to 15° and 1/16 inch below depth of the shelf stock, and finally, cut the tails as marked. Cut the shelf ends to receive the tails. Sand and chisel them to fit the dovetails. The end tails should be 1-sided and start at 1/2-inch width and centered to 1 1/4-inch to the first full tail for the office shelving.

Step 3 - Drill Dowels

Drill 1/4-inch holes through each of the 4 dowels at 1/2 inch from the center. Countersink the holes to allow the brass cotter pins to sit properly in the office shelving. Use a piece Masonite pegboard for the hole layout.

Step 4 - Finish Shelves

Sand all the pieces. Tape all dovetail joints to allow the glue to adhere properly. Finish the shelves as desired with stain or polyurethane. Allow the final coat to dry for 24 hours.

Step 5 - Assemble Shelves

Remove the tape from the dovetails (Step 4). Fit all the joints together, and glue them with carpenter’s glue. Allow the glue to cure for 24 hours. Starting with the shelf with the 9-inch end, place the dowels through each of the 4 holes from Step 1. Continue in this manner, working from the longest to the shortest piece (the 7-inch one which has holes only 2/3 of the way through from the bottom). Determine shelf spacing, and place brass cotter pins to hold the shelves in place. Finish the previously taped ends with stain. To further support the office shelving, you may decide to attach “L” shelf brackets from the unit to the wall.

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