shelf plans, no time, slow down, hobby, woodworking, practical, useful, stress relieving
shelf plans, no time, slow down, hobby, woodworking, practical, useful, stress relieving

Trying to Catch Some Extra Time

Woodworking Is My Hobby and I don’t Have All Day!

I absolutely love woodworking, but the time I have to spend on my favorite hobby is frequently limited. Lack of time has never dampened my enthusiasm, but it has certainly made me more efficient.  Our title today sounds more like a hair coloring commercial, but when you stop and think about it, time is not only money but time can also be opportunity.

In today’s atmosphere, it seems we are all looking for something free, and I will be the first to confirm there are tons of free plans for all sorts of woodworking projects on the web.  I actually use some of them for examples for this website, but I rarely do so when I am serious about one of my personal woodworking projects.

Part of the reason is the unbelievable amount of time you will spend looking for the exact shelf plans and design you need while pouring through the millions (literally) of websites out there with free plans on them.  Woodworking is my hobby not my day job unfortunately.  Given this, if I want to enjoy my hobby when I can, then I don’t want to be spending hours and hours looking for something on the web when I could be building it already.

Other more subtle reasons exist too, that bear mentioning.  If you do decide the time spent searching for shelf plans is of no concern to you, then be aware there are sites which require you sign up to get plans, sometimes free, sometimes not.  Other sites, charge for more complete instructions or printable ones, etc.  Just be careful, and remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

If you are fairly new to woodworking and to following the directions of shelf plans or any other type of woodworking plan, you’ll be well advised to stick with those which give you the most and best information possible.  Be sure there are step-by-step instructions with illustrations as well as lists of the tools and exact types of materials you will need to

A "safety first" sign to remind woodworkers to protect the ones they love by using and following quality shelf plans and woodworking plans

Safety First – Protect the Ones You Love

complete the project.

While I’ve said it before, it bears repeating that safety is a major factor in many of the woodworking projects you may decide to try.  These concerns invariably center around the quality of the construction and materials used.  Whether you are building load bearing storage or pantry shelves, a piece of outdoor furniture, or a loft bed for the kids, you need to build these projects with the materials that will hold up under the use for which these finished items are intended.

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Illustration from a set of shelf plans exploding the parts so the user can see how each part relates to the whole

How the Parts of the Shelf Relate

How To Build Shelves Is An Easy  First Woodworking Project

Most things are easy to start if you follow three steps, which I call the keys, to your success in woodworking.  A contractor knows he needs

plans before he builds, the tailor knows he needs a pattern before he makes a suit, and a good woodworker knows he needs a set of shelf plans before he tackles a shelf building project.

Shelf plans can be found virtually anywhere.  Free ones and ones for purchase are on the web, there are books in the reference sections of the major home improvement stores, and books abound at your own public library.  If this is your first shelf project, you would be well advised to buy a set of quality shelf plans which will guide you step-by-step through project and will also include lists of the materials and tools you will need.

Some would tell you to pick the design first, but given these trying times, my advice is to determine your budget first.  Once you have determined the price range of your project, then you are ready to begin your basic research for designs and materials.

Your second task will be selecting your design.  Literally, thousands of woodworking designs are available at the click of your mouse.  Your design will be dependent in greatest part on two factors.  The location of the shelves.  Are you planning to build garage storage shelves or furniture quality book shelves?  What will the weight or load be on the shelves you  are planning?  Knowing these facts then frees you to begin evaluating shelf plans for your exact purpose.

Pictured are three small boat hulls standing upright on the sterns' transoms with additional cross members from port to starboard creating shelves.

Books and Ships Ahoy!

Last, but certainly not least, learn all you can about the project you will be building and practice with the tools you’ll use if you are rusty or have never used a particular tool before.  You’ll often find too that you can learn a great deal from family members and/or friends who have shelf building experience.  Asking for and receiving help from others is a wonderful way to solidify bonds with them too.  It opens the door for reciprocal give and take in the future and allows for the sharing our most precious assets, our  time and our knowledge.

Have fun with your project and do take a minute to evaluate the quality and the many choices you will have when you purchase your shelf plans from this premier woodworker from Iowa.


Only If You Want Them To Look Right and Be Sturdy

When you look at set of storage shelves, they appear simple enough,

Sturdy wooden shelves built to bear significant storage weight in the garage or basement.

Sturdy Storage Shelves

even a bit roughly made and requiring no skills at staining furniture.  But, do you know how much weight they will bear?  If you do, do you also know the type material strong enough to hold that weight?  Do you know how far apart the support members must be to support the anticipated weight?  Safety alone is why you need a set of shelf plans.

Do you know what tools you will need to build these storage shelves?  Do you know which and how many fasteners you’ll need?  Will you need a circular saw, or maybe a band saw?  Will you need screws or nails or both?  Again, these questions will be answered for you, and accurately in a set of quality shelf plans.  This is ensure you will have what you need to build a quality project, and that you will  not be buying unnecessary items.

A good set of plans will tell tell you exactly which type of materials you will need.  Can you use man-made products like particle board and plywood, or will you need solid hardwood, or would solid soft wood do?  Some plywoods are as strong or stronger than their solid counterparts, and considerably less expensive.  By now, I am sure you get the picture, with the only remaining questions being, “Where do I find Shelf Plans and About How Much Do They Cost?”

Storage shelves in the garage which appear to be for lesser weights

General Storage for the Garage

You can get free one at various places on the web by searching for them.  Just be sure a professional checks them for you if load bearing is a concern.  Remember, you get what you pay for, so just be careful.  Otherwise the lumber store may sell some individually or in small packages, and carries individual plans too.  There is a link in the side bar that will take you to Amazon where plans can be purchased.  Plans like these will run about $5.00 to $9.00 depending upon the complexity.

Another source of quality plans are the two links that follow.  Both menare true woodworkers and each has compiled literally thousands of home improvement woodworking plans.  These packages bring the price of each set of plans to a penny each, but if you are not planning to build anything more, you may want to just buy the one set of shelf plans for your project.  You would do yourself a favor to at least look at these packages of plans just to see what you’d miss if you were to consider building other things around the house.


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