Making some (sort of) quick pantry shelves

We just moved into our new (renovated) house. The kitchen has a pantry, without shelves. I need to get something up quick, and do to moving and putting everything in my workshop, my tools are not available. So, I went to Home Depot and had them cut me up 2 4x8 sheets of 3/4" melamine into 6 74.5"x16" and 6 35"x16" shelves. Upon further reflection I am going to have them cut some more for me and put 12"x16" dividers up the middle of the long run, and 6 more to support where the short run butt's up against them. The room is 74.5"x51" with a 24" pocket door on the narrow end. I plan on nailing 1x3" around the back and sides for support. So, the question is, do you think the 37" run from the wall to the first divider is too long? Will there be enough strength here? Also, any ideas about bettering this, without a table saw, is appreciated.
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I'm not a big fan of melamine and so I would have used ply with something like a Formica laminate on the top surface and exposed edges. Much more durable.
As for the 37in span... it will probably work for a while if you place light items there (e.g. breakfast cerial and NOT drinks or canned foods).
But with heavier food items it will probably sag over time. For a quick fix, I'd consider screwing and gluing one or two strips of "T" section steel to the underside of the shelf to provide some reinforcement. It's not terribly pretty/elegent but it will add a fair bit of strength at low cost and with minimal hand tools.
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jtpr wrote:

Whether 37" will be OK depends totally on what you put on it. Yes, it should be OK with normal stuff, no it will sag if you fill it with canned goods stacked 2-3 high. The biggest mel shelves I have are 16"x48" and loaded with sheets and the like. They are fine.
The biggest problem I see for your shelves is the width. I understand why people want wide ones - they can put more stuff on them; trouble is, the stuff you want winds up at the back behind lots of other stuff. The best width for pantry shelves is wide enough to accomodate something two deep. That means 4-6" for most things. One area of deeper shelves for things like aluminum foil rolls is nice but the depth of even those shelves need only be somewhat over half the length of the stored object...it can overhang the shelf.
The other problem with your shelf width is that it severally restricts access to the area. If you subtract two tiers of 16" shelving from the room width of 51" you are left with only 19" of aisle space. Not comfy. If it were me I'd take the boards back and get them skinnied down...I'd use 8-10" width shelves on one side, maybe 6" on the other. Instead of 1x3 strips I'd make two stand up cases, one for each side...top and bottom affixed to ends and dividers, ends and dividers drilled for KV shelf clips. More work, better result. IMO, YMMV. If you did the cases they would need horizontal nailing boards across the back at the top so that they could be fastened to the wall.
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I should have been clearer about the layout. I am only putting the long shelves on one side with the short ones on the end. "L" shaped. This is because the entryway is a pocket door, so it is 4' wide, 2' of wall, 2'' of door. So when you enter the empty wall is on your right, the shelves on your left and the opposite end.
I know what you mean about the width. I guess I'm doing it to maximize space in a small house. Hopefully during the next year I will have my workshop all set up and I can get something nice built. I only spent $100 on the material, and can recycle it into the shop.
Thanks, Jim
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Nuts, I just realized something else, the pocket door. I won't have any studs to hang one end of the shelve to will I? Oh boy...
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jtpr wrote:

I wouldn't call them "studs" but pocket door frames generally have 1x3s or 4s here and there...
http://www.johnsonhardware.com/2000.htm
http://furiousgeorge.typepad.com/photos/home_projects/pd_frame.jpg
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dadiOH wrote:

And if worse comes to worse you should be able to get a screw into the stud where the two walls meet. That and a molly bolt in the drywall will work if you can find a place for the molly where it doesn't go through enough to hit the pocket door. If not, a couple of short #8 screws just into the drywall (plus a screw to corner stud) should be OK if you slather the back side of the support with acrylic caulk and let it set up well.
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There should be a half stud in the middle of the pocket. Personally I'm not at all fond of hanging shelving on them and will normally run a bulkhead to the floor against the wall that has a pocket. You can attach the bulkhead above the header and normally down the back corner as there should be a nailer for the sheet rock at the back end of the pocket. Measure to be sure. If you have base board there, it'll have to come off. Then put your end cleats on your bulkhead. Be careful when installing the shelves because even with a bulkhead you can pinch the pocket if your shelves are too long or something is out of square.
Mike O.
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Mike, thank you. But I'm not sure what you mean by a bulkhead. Are you saying I should install a stud exterior to the wall attaching it to the header and footer?
Sorry for being dense...
-Jim
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wrote:

Run a piece of material, something as wide or wider than your shelves (your shelving material would work), vertically against the wall with the pocket. You can nail it above the pocket track (if you go that high) and/or at the back corner if there is a nailer. You may not have a plate at the bottom but if you do, you should be able to see it under the door. So if you can imagine, a piece of shelving running up the wall. This is your bulkhead. Instead of nailing end cleats to the sheet rock on the pocket door wall, nail the cleats to the bulkhead. The idea is to avoid hanging the shelves from the pocket wall. The bulkhead will carry that end of your shelves.
Mike O.
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Tue, Nov 13, 2007, 8:48pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (jtpr) doth query: <snip> Also, any ideas about bettering this, without a table saw, is appreciated.
I have no use at all for Home Depot. I put in some helves in my laundry room by using steel shelf brackets, and 1"X13" pine. And, cut the dry wall between some of the studs, then glued in polywood pieces to make shalves - my only regred is I didn't do even more. Works great for canned goods.
JOAT The whole of life is a learning process. - John Keel
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