Open shelving system at the back

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    Antonio Santos


    I’m about to build my first workbench at home, and I also would like to build a similar open shelf system that Paul uses, and that’s behind his workbench. But since I’m a novice, I don’t really understand how does the shelves are attached to the structure, and how is the whole structure attached to the brick wall.
    It’s just using screws enough?
    Paul doesn’t seem to use joinery.

    Thank you, regards.


    I cannot directly answer your question, as I don’t know what was used for Paul’s workshop shelves. However, there are several video series on building shelves in the projects, one of which (hanging wall shelf) is a free project. And at least some, if not all, use some form of joinery, typically either a dado or stopped dado.

    Commercially purchased shelving units often have movable shelves. So instead of joinery, they usually have removable hardware that supports the shelves from underneath. Built-in shelves do not always have joinery either, but that’s a whole topic in and of itself.

    Many years ago when I was at the university, I built my very first set of bookshelves out of construction pine, and simply nailed everything together without any joinery; NOT RECOMMENDED!! I ended up discarding it when I moved out a year later.

    As for attaching it to a wall, it does depend upon your wall material: plasterboard on studs, concrete block, brick, wood, etc. Your best bet is to look on Youtube or Google for advice, as there are potentially a lot of options based on your workshop. One option is to build a French cleat (Paul has a video on building one).

    Colin Scowen

    If you watch the intro to the rolling workbench video, you get a good view of the bottom of the shelves. They seem to sit flat on the floor. The tops are actually screwed to the joists. I have not been able to see any attachment to the wall, but I expect there is one.

    From what I have managed to see, the sides are single pieces, floor to ceiling. Some of the shelves have a backing, probably to keep them square, some don’t. It may be that some were added afterwards.

    Just screws would probably be ok if you are not putting too much weight on them. I have some shelves I built for my CD’s that I used pocket hole to assemble, but you could just as easily drill through from the outside.

    Colin, Czech Rep.

    Mic van Reijen

    He built the shelves shortly after moving to the new space. I seem to remember from pictures in blog posts (or was it in videos) around that time that the shelves sit in stopped dadoes and the sides stand on the floor and are screwed to the (fake) roof of the workshop. The camera rarely goes wide enough to see it but I think its there, e.g. plywood workbench, episode 1, @29:19.

    After building a bench this would be a nice starter project..


    Antonio Santos

    Thanks for the input.
    Looking carefully, it seems to be using a stopped stepped housing dado, I think it would work fine.

    Mic van Reijen

    Seems Paul heard your thoughts – the ne project on wwmc is just up your alley 🙂

    Antonio Santos

    Yes, I just saw it, and so it seems! I’ll be paying special attention to this one 🙂 Thanks

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