New shelves for a pantry.....any ideas?

We just moved into a house that has a pantry with crappy metal shelves. The pantry is about 7 foot wide, 18" deep (think closet). The metal shelves that are in there, typical plastic coated wire, cup badly from the weight of the cans, bottles, etc. There is a metal pole midpoint along the width that connects the shelves and prevents sagging. It actually works pretty well, except for the cupping.
I want to replace them with something sturdier. I was thinking melamine shelves, with some type of 4/4 stock screwed to the walls as a frame to set the shelves on. Then maybe a 4/4 hardwood on the front of the shelf to help it stay straight, and maybe a vertical 2x2 mid shelf to prevent sagging. Being melamine, how would I attach the shelves to the frames? Would deck screws, screwed up from underneath, through the frame work? My wife is fine with fixed shelves, no adjustment, she just hates those metal shelves.
Does anybody have any better ideas.....I'm open to just about anything.
Thanks Rob
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RobW wrote:

[snip] Just wondering - what kind of door(s) close the pantry from view?
Would you make the top shelves 12" and bottom ones 16" leaving the first bottom shelf for a work surface where grocery bags could be deposited for unloading?
Are you putting electricity in there? *
How tall is your wife? Can she reach what would be the top shelves? Need to leave space on the floor for her to keep a step stool? Or big packages of dog food?
Any of the shelves (probably mostly the upper ones) going to have a "step" in the back so cans in back will be elevated and easy to see?
Josie
* Just saw a string of tiny Christmas-type lights enclosed in plastic tubing used as light in a fancy glass front kitchen cabinet and was surprised at how much light they threw and how unobtrusive the thin tubing was.
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Your plan seems good to me - I really like melamine for shelving. I have a slab of it on a worktop that I use for finishing small projects in the shop and it stands up to just about anything and cleans up well.
I built melamine shelves in a basement storage cabinet just a few months ago. It was about 6 ft high & 8 ft long, but just 16 inches deep - wanted it to store paint cans etc.
Anyhow, I did almost exactly what you intend to do. Ran supports along the back and side, and had a center support (actually 2 of them) centered on the front. I ran a bead of silicone and a few screws to attach the shelving to the wall supports. For the front supports, I used a 2x2 which I dadoed out about 1 inch and slipped it over the shelf, then I put a screw through it into each shelf (plugged the screw holes later.)
Now I in the process of planning something similar for our kitchen pantry which is an awkward 24"deep x 30" wide with an 18" door. Still trying to figure out the details before I start, but one thing for sure is that I'll be using melamine & making the shelves adjustable - unlike our current fixed ones made out of particle board.
Good luck!
Lou

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.

Do the shelves sag with that beefy front support? That seems like it might be the easiest way to do it.
As far as the doors for the panty, it's bi-fold doors. My Wife (who's 5'8", by the way), seems real pleased with the fixed shelves, and made no request for drawers, so simple might be best. BTW, the kitchen is pretty big, has a ton of cabinets and drawers, so this pantry is literally just for the food stuff.
Just like you did, I was going to use a good size piece of hardwood to cover the exposed particle board, and add strength, then a vertical piece mid shelf connecting all the shelves (just like it has with the metal shelves). When I told her I might add a few of the vertical pieces, to break up how wide the shelves are without support, she didn't seem thrilled. If the metal shelves are fine with only 1 vertical support, shouldn't a wooden one be the same?
Rob
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Hi Rob,
The melamine shelves do not sag, even with double rows of stacked gallon-size paint cans (not all are filled of course). I actually have a front support about every 2 feet since there is a door stile in the very center of the 8 ft span, then a center support on each side of that stile - basically a support every 24 inches.
But, I did not add any additional wood edging to the front of the melamine (just used the iron-on melamine banding). If you add a 1x2 hardwood strip to the front, I think that you might just get by with only 1 center support, but I would try to convice SWMBO to go with 2 supports - especially since you will be stacking a lot of cans on them.
You can make the front supports out of 1x2 instead of 2x2 so that you lose very little and probably keep basically the same strength.
Hope this helps!
Lou

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On 7 Oct 2004 00:11:19 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (RobW) scribbled:

How about using shelf standards and brackets along the back wall. See:
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/print/0,17071,550857,00.html
I would use the "single track" standards, which are cheaper. Brackets for 16" shelves are readily available, at least in my area.
Also, 40-42" (half of 7 feet, with your centre support) is really wide for melamine. It will sag. Better not to go more than 24" and use the 3/4" stuff. DAMHIKT.
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html
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Our kitchen redo came with pullout drawers but just not enough!! Consider pulling out all of the shelves and supports and starting with a clean slate plan the layout of slideout drawers on full extension slides. Drawers can be made husky enough to avoid the sagging. Cabinets around the fridge/oven are deep so I made slideouts about them also, GREAT improvement in accessibility. I made the mistake of "saving" a couple of bucks on drawer slides by getting the not full extension and have been kicking myself EVERY time I use them!
On 7 Oct 2004 00:11:19 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (RobW) wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (RobW) wrote in message

I had a 18" wide by 30" deep "closet" with built in shelves, totally useless, could never see or get to the back of it. Wasted space. I started collecting good 28" slides, Accuride, from abandoned furniture and file cabinets, when I had enough, I demoed the old shleves, lined the cabinet with new melamine, and installed DRAWERS, about 16" apart, which I made out of baltic birch ply and solid fronts. Wife LOVES it, shows it off to all visitors. I know you only have 18" depth, but you might consider some of the space, especially low down, for drawers. Also, when you put a strip down the middle of the front, you will loose a couple inches of access. Not much, but in today's kitchen, every inch counts. Why not put in vertical dividers as needed, this will support all the way, front to back, and help with the cupping? There are several iron-on tapes to cover the front edges of your shelves/dividers, in real wood, melamine, or vinyl. They work well and are easy to apply with a houshold iron (NOT your wifes!)
I have seen sites that give the load strength and deflection of particle board, melamine PB, etc. but seem to have lost the link. Can one of you guys point Rob to this info?
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Melamine works and is easy to clean but beware of cutting problems, you can get a LOT of chipping unless you use special blades and take a lot of care. Even if you're planning to edge it with solid wood, the chips can be a headache.
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net (RobW) wrote in message

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RobW wrote:

When we put in pantry shelves we took some 1X12 softwood shelving and ripped it down the middle. Makes good sturdy shelves that are just deep enough for most things.
--RC
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