January 6, 2014

More Industrial Look Shelves

Although I was sick over Christmas and managed to fall on icy steps, I did get one project done for the hubs over the holidays. He has this little room shall we say in the basement, and I use that term loosely…it's more like a dungeon than a basement….with a TV, a meat slicer, a red formica table and chairs (awesome find!) and an over-sized couch. Needless to say, this could be termed a man cave but it is more like a "1950's style deli/wine room".  He and his brother recently built a small wall to hang the TV and hide all of the cords etc. It does look much nicer and bigger.
…...but where to put those video games and the cable box? They were hanging out in some old beer boxes which are always tres chic. My husband is a simple man and values function over form. So when he asked me to get him some shelves, I knew it couldn't be too pretty but I have a hard time doing "any old thing will do as long as it is shelves".  I wanted to move the basketball rack shelves down there but he likes them in the living room. I looked for a few weeks and then decided to build something because he was getting a bit antsy. I had seen a few of these industrial look pipe shelves around the web and decided to try my hand at them.
I still need to give the wood one more coat of stain and oil them for protection but for now this is it. I also need to come up with some more wood (I am going to use what I already have in the pallet department I think) and add to the back to further cover the cords. He left that little tidbit out about wanting the cords hidden when I showed him my idea. So all I can say is he okayed the open shelving and then came back and changed up the whole thing. He's the client, so I need to make the client happy right? Especially THIS client.

My shelves are 4 feet long and 12"wide. I measured the largest item (the PS3) which was 13" deep and then figured the 12" plank would suffice. I knew the shelves would not sit completely against the wall so the PS3 would fit nicely with that width of shelving. And yes, the lighting is that bright. A cave it is not. More like you get a pair of sunglasses when you come over for wine day. Not my room.

What you will need:
2 pine planks 
7/8" paddle drill bit
Channel Locks (made in the USA!!)
Vise Grips

4 of everything in this list and it all needs to be 1/2" wide :
18" of 1/2" galvanized steel pipe threaded on both ends
1.5" of 1/2" pipe threaded on both ends
1/2" caps
1/2 "to 1/4"reducer couplers

total cost: $60 

First things first: drill your holes for the pipes to go through. Clamp your two planks together on either side so the holes will line up. then  mark where you want the pipes to go. I used a square piece of wood and placed it in each corner and then marked the top left corner with a sharpie. 

Use your 7/8 paddle drill bit and place the point on your mark and drill. Go slow because sometimes it can seize up if you go too fast. 

Now beat up your wood! Yep, take a hammer, some chain, nails, anything you have laying around and beat it up. When you stain the wood it will look more weathered and old. Remember to do all edges, even the back edge, so it looks genuine. 
Here is a closeup of the dents stained and oiled so you can get an idea of what it looks like. I used some round thinga-majiggys to get the round dents, a hammer (both sides), and my pliers for the edge dings.

Now you are ready to assemble: You can stain now or wait until it is assembled. I waited because I am impatient and I like immediate gratification. I'm working on that this year. I am thinking by tomorrow I should have a handle on that?  Wow, I feel like I made progress already. Normally, I would have said "by the end of the day…" Okay, on with the build!
Take your reducers and screw them onto the bottom of each length of 18" pipe. 

I choose 18" because I wanted my finished  shelves to be about 20" high and with the reducers as feet this gave me roughly about the right height. You can buy larger lengths of pipe and have them cut and threaded to your exact needed measurements….for free!….. and it will actually be cheaper than buying the pre-cut and threaded lengths that I bought. Again with my immediate gratification disorder (IGD from here on in).

Place one plank, beaten side up, onto the pipes and then add a coupler onto each pipe. Tighten down
 using the channel locks and vise grips. 
Vise grips on the left, Channel Locks on the right. The screw type thing on the bottom of Channel Locks allows you to tighten/loosen the locking mechanism to fit various sizes of bolts, pipe etc. for an excellent grip.
To do this hold the pipe with one and the coupler with the other. It does not matter which goes where. Now twist the coupler on by cinching the grips and the locks in opposite directions. Just make sure that whichever is on the thing being tightened, you need to twist it towards the right. 
Remember: Rightsy tightsy; left loosy. 
The coupler is what will keep the took shelf from falling down the pipe.

Add the 1.5" length of 1/2" pipe and tighten with the grips and locks. Add your second plank, beaten side up, and then the caps.

At this point it will be wiggly and not square. And you will start cussing at me. Relax! Do your tightening thing again until it is stable and not moving. This took me the most effort just so you know. You could use floor flanges (you would need 4) and attach them to the bottom of the top plank and only drill holes for the bottom  plank.  However, they are $10.62 EACH!!! so that adds about $45 to the cost of these shelves. But if you like a clean look then go for it. I just wanted you to know that this makes for a substantially more expensive set of shelves.  

 I used Jacobean stain by Minwax and it really brought out all the bangs and dings that I had created.
and it is a nice contrast with the galvanized steel

So there you have it $60 shelves built in 30 minutes. Not bad!
Just so you know, I did not waste my  time styling these shelves any more than this cuz, well, this is real life and this is how my boys want the shelves. Very utilitarian.  There is something to be said for doing what your client wants.  
If I were to do these again, and I might because I love them, I might spray paint the metal a dark bronze. Like these from Roeshel at The DIY Showoff. Hers look amazing and I love the dark pipe.

So quick vote for MY future shelves:
spray or no spray?
…..that is the question.

Always being renewed,

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  1. It turned out fabulous! Hope you are feeling better. I vote spray! :)

  2. where you do you buy your pipes? I cant find all of those plumbing parts for under 60!

  3. These shelves are awesome. I love the real deal industrial pipe look. Perfect for a man's room! I had to hide this post from my husband or he'll want a meat slicer too. I hope your back's doing better.


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