Shelving Materials and fixings advice required

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8 Aug 2014
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I just had a new cloakroom built and want to put some shelving and hanging into it. I have an idea in my head and can picture it quite clearly so hopefully my explanations make sense. The room is about 70cm deep, and 190cm wide. The door is in the centre, so it therefore gives two sections to work with each being the 70cm wide and about 46cm deep. The walls are a mixture of internal stud walls and insulated plasterboard against concrete brick walls.

My plan is to secure everything straight onto the walls, not using any carcass and thus maximising the space. I intend to put one shelf on each side at height of the top of the door (there is a high ceiling). On the left side of the room, under the shelf I plan to install a wardrobe rail running the 70cm width to hang coats on. Under that, there would be a couple of drawers for housing hats, gloves, scarves and shoes etc. On the right side, I will have a second shelf with about 45 cm clearance to the top shelf. Under that, I will split the area into two sections. On the left, farthest from the door, will be a tall space for storing Step Ladder and Ironing board. On the right area, another couple of shelves and a section on the bottom for storing the hoover.

I have all the (fes)tools , but would be a relative novice at this kind of project, but certainly happy to give it a go and feel I can do a decent job. I think the long thing, (can't remember it's name!) is supposed to be for ripping sheets, not set it up at all yet. I’m not too sure of some things though, so would appreciate any help and input you guys can supply.

My plan would be to buy a couple of large sheets 2440*1220 (18-20mm thick) and rip and cross cut them to suit my requirements. For the shelves I was thinking I should cut batons about 75mm from the sheets and secure these to the walls to give support on both sides and the rear of the shelves. The baton on the long back wall for the top shelves will run the full width of the room and in the open area I will put some extra coat hooks on. I was going to secure a wardrobe hanging rail like this one,-hangers-and-coat-hooks-used-in-crown-sports-lockers-wooden-lockers/89 to the batons on the left side.

I’m nervous about securing the batons to the walls, what is the best way to secure shelves to them so they don't fall down? I hate plasterboard! For the stud walls, I was going to use some plasterboard fixings, but which ones would you recommend? For the walls with the insulated plasterboard, as they are up against concrete walls, I was thinking I should go in a few inches to get into the concrete and use long raw plugs. I have never experienced this insulated plasterboard before. How easy/difficult will that make it? I was also considering using some adhesive such as Tec 7 along with screwing them in. I don’t envisage anything majorly heavy being stored, but I do want them secure and with young kids in the house, you know they will be hanging out of them! 

Now what kind of wood I should use. I want it to be sturdy and solid and most importantly to look well. I am strongly thinking of getting some of these panels of finger joined solid Oak and ripping and cross cutting them up to suit the sizes and requirements using this online tool . However, I’m not too sure how these sheets will fair out when they are cut. Would I be ruining them? Being finger joined panels will ripping and cross cutting them weaken their strength, specifically for the batons? Someone told me I wouldn’t have the tools to handle cutting this kind of wood, but surely Festools are up to the job.

Failing the Oak panels, my alternatives are Veneered MDF or Birch Plywood. If I went with the MDF I presume I would have to seal all the edges somehow. Would iron on edging be sufficient or should they be painted/varnished/specific treatment? Would you have to do every single edge with it? I have used it once before for a simple desk and it worked out ok when I varnished it. I’ve no idea on the Birch plywood, never seen it, never used it and no idea how I should treat it, but it looks like a decent material. I was not really wanting to put cheap melamine up and I’m not really sure that MDF would be a good option either. Any opinions or advice greatly appreciated.

As I will also be building a couple of drawers, I was wondering if MDF would be a decent medium for building the frame? I would be dovetailing the joints using a jig, and put a front panel on it to match whatever material I went with for the rest of the room.

PS, hope the links work, I couldn't seem to be able to hyperlink them

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