Any hardware or supply store catering to farmers and ranchers will have
them. Plain vanilla heavy duty metal utility shelf brackets, that can
support 12" shelfs and be nailed or screwed off to any convenient framing
member. Ususally a strange sort of cream color paint, for some reason. I
hung dozens of them as a kid.
Over the years, I've come up with various solutions when I'm building
shelves... One solution was to put a 2x4 securely attached to at least
every other stud in the wall so that I have a good surface to attach
other things to... I'll then put a 2x4 along the back of where the
shelves are to be located so that it will support the rear edge of the
plank... This gives a 1.5" gap in the rear of the shelf between it and
the wall... Using a 2x4 for the rear shelf support also gives you a
good surface area to put pegs / nails in to use to hang various
tools... For the lower shelves, I'll use 6" cedar fence planks...
They're plenty deep enough for most cans and small items... I'll use
12" planks for the upper shelves (i.e. above head height)... These are
wide enough to be able to hold 5g cans paint and such... For the lower
cedar shelves, I'll cut a 45 degree right triangle out of a 2x4 and
glue and nail it to the rear 2x4 and cedar shelf... For the light
stuff, this isn't really needed, but I want to be safe... The shelf is
glued and either nailed or screwed along the rear edge...
Although you get more strength in compression than in tension, I have
designed shelves that used small wire rope attached to front of the
shelf and angled back to the vertical 2x4 that is attached to the rear
Another solution that I came up with at one time was to make my own
shelf brackets out of 1/2" square steel bar or angle iron... In some
ways, angle iron is easier since you don't need to weld any attachment
plates onto the back of it or drill holes through 1/2" of steel...
Personally, I believe that I should at least be able to suspend all of
my weight from a shelf without it breaking... Steel bar and angle iron
are fairly cheap when you buy them from a steel supply shop... You
definitely don't want to go to Home Depot or Lowes for this... The
steel supply shops sell it in 20 ft lengths, but they'll do rough cuts
for you so that you can fit it in your vehicle if necessary... For the
steel bar solution, I start with a piece of bar that is the depth of
the shelving plus the distance from the bottom of one shelf to the top
of the shelf that is below it... I then put this piece of steel bar
into a bender and bend it at a 90 degree angle at the same distance
from the end as the shelf is deep... At this point, you need a way to
attach it to the wall and shelf, so I either drill 2 holes in the
vertical and horizontal portions (i.e. 4 holes total), or I cut out 4
thinner metal rectangles (about 1.5" x 3/4") to which I weld / braze
these to the back of the bracket... I usually use 1/8" metal for these
or whatever I happen to have around the shop... With a 1.5" wide piece
of metal, you end up with a 1/2" tab on each side of the bar to which
you can drill a hole and attach a screw... At this point, you have an
"L" shape bracket with tabs welded near the top & bottom of the
vertical support and tabs welded near the front & back of the
horizontal shelf support... At this point, I measure the distance from
the ends of the "L" and cut 2 pieces of 1/2" steel bar of that length
plus about an extra half inch or so... These pieces will become the
angled support members... I place them on the sides of the "L" shape
and weld / braze them in place... I then take an angle grinder and
grind them flush with ends of the "L" portion of the bracket...
I have also made brackets out of 1/2" square bar with 2 of the "L"
shapes and a single 1/2" square bar running between the ends as the
angle support... With this solution, you still have 1.5" tabs, but
instead of putting a screw on each side of the bracket, you have a
space to put a single screw in the center of the bracket...
Of course you could use 1/2" square tubing instead of square bar, but
the cost of the tubing is nearly as much as the square bar, so I don't
see a real advantage to it...
With the angle iron solution, you basically just need to cut notches
in the angle iron, bend it at the notches, and weld the ends of the
notches together... You also need to drill some holes in the
non-notched areas of the angle iron for attachment to the wall or
shelf... If you have a angle iron notch cutter, this is a very quick
and easy solution... Personally, I like the look of the 1/2" steel bar
brackets... Being made from 1/2" steel bar, they'll virtually last
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