Shelves, how to turn my frown upside down? A reminder of what assumption did...

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GarF

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Ran into a problem today making replacement shelves for an alcove in what's soon to be my mother in law's house. The previous owners took their shelves and brackets away with them but left three lengths of twin slot supports on the wall. Easy enough, I thought, to replace the brackets and scribe new shelves into the space. In anticipation of a LOT of books, I have got 18mm ply which I'm going to beef up under the front edge with a 16mm thick batten and dress the join on the front with a D moulding.

Imagine my surprise when I started templating today and found that the middle support is higher than the side ones! Not just a bit out either, the resultant gap at whichever end is tipped up is about half an inch. This presents something of a problem and an urgent second think.

Possible solutions....
1. Outer supports are near enough level -> scrap centre support entirely, sagulator indicates this could work but would have to be careful about load
2. Remove centre support and move outer supports closer together to distribute span more evenly (alcove is 1800 mm and current supports at centre and about 150mm in at each side)
3. Reposition centre support- if fixings are asymmetrical I might be able to flip it end for end and keep it centred while finding solid locations to drill new spots in the wall, otherwise move to one side and accept loss of symmetry
4. Scrap the adjustable element and use battens all round the alcove instead
5. Pretend I didn't notice and have shelves with a frowny face
6. Cut a housing for the middle bracket in the underside of each shelf- possibly the easiest fix provided the strength was still adequate.

I think option 6 might be the least sweary. What I also learned today is my 600mm level isn't long enough. Given a raft of other tasks coming up I'm not sure whether I'd be better off looking for a longer level (Stabilo?) or a self levelling laser that would let me get a line right across a room - likely use for decorating and fitting furniture/storage type tasks rather than framing or construction.

Any thoughts on this and whether I could get away with cutting out a third of the thickness of the shelves over the middle bracket would be much appreciated.
G
 

Cabinetman

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I wish I’d thought of that! Half an inch, it’s worth just drilling new holes in that centre support. The other solution which you didn’t mention (not as good as Dr bobs) is to add some bits of wood under the shelf for the outer supports. I like the idea of the beefed up front on the plywood, and for books I certainly wouldn’t do away with that centre support.
Spirit level not long enough? just put it on a batten which is the right length.
 

GarF

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Slotting the holes hadn’t occurred to me. My only reservation is in disturbing the fixings (which could be as dodgy as the alignment) and accurately removing the right amount of material from every hole. The discrepancy at the midpoint should be about 5mm
BA79B682-FCF6-4B3C-B651-1149A64D428B.jpeg

I originally discounted packing both ends because the thickness of the front edge is supposed to hide as much of the brackets as possible. As shown in an earlier effort which also demonstrates the hazards of fixing to an uncertain substrate- but no one worries about the pantry.
 

Terry - Somerset

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Do it right and start again.

There are work-arounds, but every time you look at it you will know (even though other may not) that you did a less than optimum job.

BTW - providing reinforcement at the front seems a good idea!
 

TheUnicorn

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I would just rehang the offending support, ie option 3. I definately wouldn't remove it entirely, you're bound to see a sag over time and you'd add extra strain on the remaining fixings. I would also give a good firm pull on all of the existing fixings, if they are not attached firmly enough It is better to know now than when you have the contents of the shelf in place. I would agree with cabinetman on putting your level on a batten, as long as you are confident it is straight that would be fine
 

smackie

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Are the vertical tracks mounted directly on the wall and not hanging from a solid top rail? If so, eewwwww. That’s a terrible idea. And moving the middle rail by 5mm vertically isn’t going to be easy at all unless you fully patch and repair the old holes.

I’d really look at something like the Elfa track and mounts if you want to keep this configurable and want alignment. Same sort of shelf mounts but located on a top rail so they’re impeccably aligned (and solid). Very flexible.
 

GarF

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Smackie, it is elfa track, and very solidly fixed to a proper actual brick wall. So you’re correct, making a small adjustment wouldn’t be a small undertaking , as new holes would need to be well away from the existing ones. Going back today with a longer straight edge and some string to measure the actual discrepancy. Half the battle is it’s round the corner from our house so I’m limited to the tools and materials I’ve taken with me and the things you find you need are never to hand, or else forever walking backwards and forwards.
 

smackie

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Smackie, it is elfa track, and very solidly fixed to a proper actual brick wall.

Oh god, is it the cheap Elfa that doesn’t have the pseudo-French cleat at the top to hang the vertical rails from? I have nightmares about that stuff. The chief advantage to using the full Elfa system (and I use it in the garage) is that once the top rail is fastened to the wall (and it works really well on brick), then it’s rock solid and aligned for the length of the wall. The holes in the vertical track are then used to guarantee spacing for the shelves. You usually only need one fixing 3/4 of the way down.

This is what I mean by the top track mounting.


Cheers

Scott...
 

J-G

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I've not previously heard of 'Elfa' - I know that type of adjustable shelving as [Spur] and consider it the best 'utility' shelving system there is. You do need to take care when fitting - particularly if there are more than 2 vertical bars. It's no good just marking a horizontal line on a wall and aligning the tops, after fitting the first, the second & subsequent bars should be positioned using brackets and a level. Never measure down the wall for the next screw position - always fit the top screw and then (having secured the wall bar vertically) use the screw holes in the bar to mark the wall with a smaller masonry drill. Once marked, remove the bar, or pull to one side, then drill and plug the wall.
 

gcusick

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How about removing all three vertical rails and re-fixing them all away from their current fixings, and correctly levelled?
 

paulrbarnard

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Knock the house down.
Slightly over kill to demolish th whole house.
All that needs to be done is run a cut down each side of the support into the cavity wall with a masonry disk cutter. Then chisel 5mm out of the brickwork at the bottom and let the section drop down the 5mm. If you over doit jack it up to the right point with some tapered wedges. Fill the cuts with some good adhesive, skim over with some plaster, repaint and the job is done.
 

Terrytpot

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This doesn't strike me as the level of insurmountable problem that I'm generally beset with. I'd remove the central vertical bracket, draw horizontal lines through the centre of each point that had fixed it to the wall with a pencil. Sit a straight edge across a pair of shelf brackets fitted on the outer uprights and then offer up your central upright (also with a bracket attached to it) and raise it up under the straight edge until all brackets are level with each other and then referencing your pencil lines on the wall, mark where you need to make the new holes in the central upright. Now all thats left is drilling new holes in the middle upright to use the existing wall fittings and throw it all back on the wall..simples :)
 

Phil Pascoe

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If you need to move the vertical by only 6mm - 8mm (too close to the existing holes), take it out, drop the bracket by one or two notches, raise the support, check bracket's level with the end brackets, mark the support level with the tops of the other two and cut it off there. Refix it. No one will notice the bottom of the middle is one is a bit higher that the others.
 
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