The Dale Maley Family Web Site

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6 Shelve unit 36x18x72 inches

Back in 2013, I made another of these shelving units.  Before that, I had made 2 more of them, for a total of 3.


I really like these units because they are relatively inexpensive to build, and are very sturdy.


Back in 2013, I just had finished a project at my Son's house, which was finishing his basement. We bought a sheet of 1/2" MDF to cover the pool table during construction. After construction was done, he had no use for the sheet. I decided to make another shelving unit and consume the sheet, versus throwing it away.  For another $32, I bought (8) 1x4x8's to make the shelf. I already has (4) 2x4x8's in stock for the legs.



Sketchup Design

I made this note back in 2013, but I don't remember why......maybe I was trying to use 2 scrap pieces of the 1/2" sheeting?

"Note that one of the shelves must be made of 2 pieces. I placed a spacer underneath and glued up the 2 pieces. They are shown above as the 8-3/4 wide piece, plus the piece in the upper LH corner."

Now, I remember. You can't get 6 full shelves out the 4x8 sheet, so 1 shelf must be made of 2 pieces.


Quantity of 1x4's Needed

Four legs

I sawed the 4 legs to their 72 inch length. I then used a big square to transfer the shelf heights to all 4 legs. I will later use these marks to position each shelf when I install them to the legs.

Cutting the grooves in the shelf sides

There are several alternatives to which process to use to cut the 3/8" by 1/2" deep grooves in the shelf sides...that hold the 1/2" thick MDF shelves.  One can use a router table, but it will take several passes because you can only route about 1/4" deep max per pass.

Another option is to set up the table saw to remove the 3/8x1/2 rectangle on 2 pieces.  This takes a lot of trial and error set-up on the table saw.


I chose to use the dado blade option. It takes trial and error to set up the table saw fence and blade height, but you can run all the boards through in just one pass.


A while back I bought 2 clamps from Rockler that allow you to clamp a scrap piece of wood to the fence. You sacrifice the scrap wood piece versus running the dado blades into the metal fence.

Kreig Fixture

I used my Kreig fixture to pocket screw the shelves together..........



The special Kreig clamp plyers are really handy for holding the corner in the right position while you install the 1st screw:

Finished shelf frames

Counter-sink Drilling on Shelf sides

I drilled the side boards before assembling them, so I could screw the sides to the 2x4's with #8 by 1-1/4" wood screws...

Starting Assembly

I assembled the top and bottom frames to the 2x4's, on the ground.  Then I set it up vertically to install the rest of the shelf frames..........

Finished framed unit

Finished 6-Shelf Unit

Closing Thoughts

If you are building this shelf unit, select your 2x4's so they are straight and not twisted.  I chose to use up 4 boards in my inventory, and they were either twisted to start with, or twisted over time.  I had to use some bar clamps to straighten them as I assembled the unit.


This is a relatively low cost and quick to make shelf unit.  It is sturdy enough to support heavy tools.



Another Shelving Unit Built in Feb of 2021

On the last unit I built, my son had a 7/16" thick piece of MDF left-over from another project.


My Fairbury lumberyard only had 1/2" thick MDF in stock, so I got that.  I adjusted my dado set to give 1/2 deep and 3/8" wide grooves to set the shelves on.


I forgot how much fun it is to get the very heavy 4x8 foot sheet of MDF and up on top of 2 sawhorses in my garage.  It was also 16 degrees F in my garage, but my Sears Evolve circular saw worked just fine.


On the 6th shelf, I split the difference of 17-1/4" into halves, or 8-5/8" wide for 2 pieces to make that shelf. I added a 1x4" board down the middle of the bottom shelf.





Finished Shelving Unit in Feb of 2021

Sketchup Warehouse

You can download this design using this link.


Closing Thoughts on This Project

These units are fun to build, except for getting the heavy sheet of MDF up on the sawhorses, to saw out the shelves.  I will probably end up making some more of these........it seems like I am always running out of storage space !