Adjustable shelves in cabinets

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  • os1kne
    Senior Member
    • Jan 2003
    • 901
    • Atlanta, GA
    • BT3100

    Adjustable shelves in cabinets

    Over the years I've built a few cabinets, primarily kitchen-style - for kitchen, laundry, garage storage. I almost always incorporate one or more adjustable shelves. I've done this both with evenly spaced holes and shelf standards. Personally, I don't have much of a preference - neither way is difficult and both ways work, but I'm curious to see if there is a preferred method among others on the site.

    Thanks.

    This is the first time that I've done a poll, so I might not get it right the first time.
    64
    Evenly spaced holes
    79.69%
    51
    Shelf standards
    4.69%
    3
    No Preference between 1 or 2
    15.63%
    10
    Some other method
    0.00%
    0

    The poll is expired.

    Bill
  • cabinetman
    Gone but not Forgotten RIP
    • Jun 2006
    • 15216
    • So. Florida
    • Delta

    #2
    I use evenly spaced holes, only in the area (range) of reasonable adjustment. IMO in the mass produced products that use the 32mm system, seeing holes running the full length of the sides is extremely unappealing.
    .
    Last edited by cabinetman; 11-08-2009, 08:10 AM.

    Comment

    • leehljp
      Just me
      • Dec 2002
      • 8469
      • Tunica, MS
      • BT3000/3100

      #3
      My thoughts are like Cabs. I am making a couple of book cases now. (Started them 3 years ago.) This was what I was working on when I cut the end of my thumb.

      I debated whether to put evenly spaced holes starting at 10 inches from the base to 10 inches of the top - so that it could be used for 5 or 6 shelfs as needed. But I finally decided on 5 shelves with a 5 hole range for each of 4 adjustable shelfs.
      Hank Lee

      Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

      Comment

      • LinuxRandal
        Veteran Member
        • Feb 2005
        • 4889
        • Independence, MO, USA.
        • bt3100

        #4
        I will be interested to see Cabinetman's response to this. My preference goes by weight. If I know the shelves are going to be holding computer books (you have never seen some of the collections I have seen, LOTS of weight), I know at the minimum the shelves need to be doubled, and I would prefer a metal standard.

        So for me, it is weight related (but I build for myself).
        She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

        Comment

        • cabinetman
          Gone but not Forgotten RIP
          • Jun 2006
          • 15216
          • So. Florida
          • Delta

          #5
          Originally posted by LinuxRandal
          I will be interested to see Cabinetman's response to this. My preference goes by weight. If I know the shelves are going to be holding computer books (you have never seen some of the collections I have seen, LOTS of weight), I know at the minimum the shelves need to be doubled, and I would prefer a metal standard.

          So for me, it is weight related (but I build for myself).

          I don't understand why my response would be unique. The shelf has little to do with its support. There are a few types of metal standards. There are ones that are slotted for a protruding arm. Then there are the standards that have horizontal slots for a clip on shelf support. Either of those types of brackets can be surface mounted or inserted into an accommodating groove or dado, allowing the face of the standard to be flush with the sidewall.

          I've had the arm types break on occasion. The clip on seems to be fairly stout. Both of those styles have standards that give the cabinet a rather mechanical/industrial look with that much metal showing when the run the length of the sidewall.

          With the variety of shelf supports that fit into holes, a well fitted shelf can be very secure. IMO, the length and material of the shelf and the intended load is more of a problem to solve than the manner of its support.
          .

          Comment

          • os1kne
            Senior Member
            • Jan 2003
            • 901
            • Atlanta, GA
            • BT3100

            #6
            I have had occasion (maybe 2-3x) where a pin has popped out with the "hole and pin" method. This was with older cabinets where some of the holes had "wallowed out". Not a huge issue, but there have been times that I've felt that a metal standard with the clips was more sturdy. I suppose the type of pin would be a factor, as well as the production technique used to drill the holes (using the right bit, etc.)
            Bill

            Comment

            • leehljp
              Just me
              • Dec 2002
              • 8469
              • Tunica, MS
              • BT3000/3100

              #7
              Originally posted by os1kne
              I have had occasion (maybe 2-3x) where a pin has popped out with the "hole and pin" method. This was with older cabinets where some of the holes had "wallowed out". Not a huge issue, but there have been times that I've felt that a metal standard with the clips was more sturdy. I suppose the type of pin would be a factor, as well as the production technique used to drill the holes (using the right bit, etc.)
              I don't like direct hole insertion types. I use one of two kinds of the hole type:

              A. Ferrels in the holes that the pin fits into. If done right, the ferrels have to be tapped in and there is no "slop" that causes wallowing.

              B. Caps (my name) with threads inside them, similar to ferrels but more robust. The pins have threads that screw into the caps. The Caps have to be tapped into the holes and are fit much more tight.
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

              Comment

              • twistsol
                Veteran Member
                • Dec 2002
                • 2912
                • Cottage Grove, MN, USA.
                • Ridgid R4512, 2x ShopSmith Mark V 520, 1951 Shopsmith 10ER

                #8
                I use evenly spaced holes almost always. I've used metal standards in a couple of instances and I don't like the look. In one case I had to make sawtooth wooden shelf standards to match the others in an old house. It was very time consuming but you'd never know the built in side board was ever six feet narrower.

                If the shelves will be visible, as in a glass front cabinet or book case, then I use brass or nickel ferrels in the holes.
                Chr's
                __________
                An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
                A moral man does it.

                Comment

                • LinuxRandal
                  Veteran Member
                  • Feb 2005
                  • 4889
                  • Independence, MO, USA.
                  • bt3100

                  #9
                  Originally posted by cabinetman
                  I don't understand why my response would be unique. The shelf has little to do with its support.
                  With the variety of shelf supports that fit into holes, a well fitted shelf can be very secure. IMO, the length and material of the shelf and the intended load is more of a problem to solve than the manner of its support.
                  Originally posted by os1kne
                  I have had occasion (maybe 2-3x) where a pin has popped out with the "hole and pin" method. This was with older cabinets where some of the holes had "wallowed out".
                  Cabinetman, since you do this for a living (verses hobby that some of us do), I figure you may have had more experience both with what works, and WHY people ask you for x style. (we want this to replace this type of thing)

                  The wallowing out in the second quote is my concern.
                  She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

                  Comment

                  • cabinetman
                    Gone but not Forgotten RIP
                    • Jun 2006
                    • 15216
                    • So. Florida
                    • Delta

                    #10
                    Originally posted by LinuxRandal
                    Cabinetman, since you do this for a living (verses hobby that some of us do), I figure you may have had more experience both with what works, and WHY people ask you for x style. (we want this to replace this type of thing)

                    The wallowing out in the second quote is my concern.

                    When planning the project with the client, the method for installing shelves is discussed. My preference is holes with clips. I use a sharp brad point bit and get good clean holes. As mentioned, there are "ferrels" which in the trade are called "grommets".

                    Since those grommets are small and hard to handle, I made an insertion tool. It's pretty simple. I screwed a metal shelf clip onto a block of wood. Slide the grommet on and tap in with a hammer. The grommet doesn't get damaged. In the picture below, is the tool, and a chrome and brass grommet. Some suppliers carry different lengths.
                    .

                    .

                    Comment

                    • jabe
                      Senior Member
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 566
                      • Hilo, Hawaii
                      • Ryobi BT3000 & Delta Milwaukee 10" tilting Table circular saw

                      #11
                      I used to rout the sides of my cabinets to accept shelf stds., it was time consuming. Then I tried holes with a homemade jig, it was a little faster but, did not save that much time. Now I use holes exclusively, only because I got a Blum minidrill press that drill 7 holes at once. I don't drill holes the full length of the cabinet sides, it looks bad. I think the metal stds. are more durable if you constantly rearrange your shelves but, most people don't so holes are OK. So whatever works for you stds. or holes both are good choices. Cman, I like your grommet tool idea.

                      Comment

                      • dbhost
                        Slow and steady
                        • Apr 2008
                        • 9253
                        • League City, Texas
                        • Ryobi BT3100

                        #12
                        I'm probably the weird one here, but I like the evenly spaced holes to run the full length of the uprights, top to bottom. Just use it as a design feature...
                        Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

                        Comment

                        • JimD
                          Veteran Member
                          • Feb 2003
                          • 4187
                          • Lexington, SC.

                          #13
                          I have jigs for a plunge router that make the nicest holes. But these days I usually use a jig I got from Rockler that spaces the holes at 32mm intervals. I don't poke the holes the full length because I don't want to drill holes I won't use. Appearance is secondary but I agree leaving 6-10 inches without holes looks better. I typically center the jig on the cabinet side and if drilling all the available holes looks about right, I figure good enough. If not, I slide the jig and pin it and drill some more. The drilled holes are not as clean as a spiral cutting bit in a router will make but they are typically good enough.

                          Jim

                          Comment

                          • os1kne
                            Senior Member
                            • Jan 2003
                            • 901
                            • Atlanta, GA
                            • BT3100

                            #14
                            I agree that the plunge router seems to do the nicest job (can't speak about the Blum 7 hole tool), but the Rockler jig is hard to beat - fast, easy, flexible (can do cabinets that are already assembled, etc.)
                            Bill

                            Comment

                            • JimDantin
                              Forum Newbie
                              • Nov 2009
                              • 52
                              • Prospect, KY
                              • BT3000

                              #15
                              The grommets add an elegant touch to the holes and prevent the unfinished hole interiors from being visible. I woulod choose that design over all others for fine cabinets.

                              I strongly dislike the routed-in metal tracks in any cabinet or furniture that is used inside my home -- the clips are ugly and intrusive. In my shop or work areas, however, anything goes!

                              Comment

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