Friday, October 17, 2008

Canned Food Shelves

We recently experienced typical Pacific Northwest weather (cold and rainy) so I decided to do an inside project. We are redoing our pantry and I took the opportunity to modify some specialty shelves I had built a while ago.

A picture is worth a thousand words so here are pictures of shelves especially designed for storing largish amounts of canned food. I first saw these in the mid-eighties in a booklet put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and I have built similar shelves many times since then.

The beauty of these is that you load the canned goods from the rear (high side) and they roll down to where you pull them out as needed. This ensures you are always eating the older food first. We used to store our canned goods on flat shelves by the case but every time we bought a new case we would have to move the stuff in the back out, put the new stuff in and then reload the older stuff. This is a whole lot easier.

Each row holds about 30 cans and it is easy to see at a glance that one is short of say, black beans and add them to the list to buy when they next go on sale. These shelves are made from 1x12 planks and that allows you to put a row of normal sized cans down each side and a row of thinner (tuna) cans down the middle. We used to store a lot of tuna but we no longer eat it so we have shelves that are a bit wider than necessary. Long strips of cardboard divide each row but fiber board would work better (and be more expensive).

You can see the basic framework for the shelves (you can click on the picture and it will be very large) – just attach some 1x4s to the wall at the studs with screws. Take a straight edge and lay it at the “proper shelf angle” across the upright 1x4s and mark where you are going to place shelf studs. I originally used nails because I had no battery powered drill/screwdriver but screws are easier. When I first built them, the angle was too shallow and I had to help the cans along the shelf – the current angle is about perfect. Once you add the shelf studs to the uprights you can measure and put them at the same level on your 2x4s that will form the outside of the support structure.

For the outside, build a box out from your wall side with more 1x4s and 2x4s. The picture should explain it well enough – this ain’t rocket science. Once you have the box built you slide one shelf in at a time. Then add a screw through an upright and into each shelf to keep it from sliding out. I staggered the delivery end so that I can look straight down and see what is what.

You will note that each shelf has a lip on it to keep the cans from all rolling out. Just cut a piece of shelving about an inch high and glue and screw it to the end. I originally (because the original plans called for it) used a hole saw to bore 1.5 inch holes under each row at the delivery end “to poke your finger through to pop the can out”. Not necessary – just grab the can. Make sure your shelves are spaced far enough apart to allow the can to come out over the lip.

And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. – 1 Samuel 22:10


If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

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Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 18/10/08 05:03, Blogger Staying Alive said...

Pretty nifty, Joe. Sure could make things a lot easier for people with basements and storage rooms. Good design. Thank you.


At 18/10/08 08:01, Blogger Mayberry said...

Great idea! And simple too. Just my style....

At 18/10/08 13:07, Blogger Bustednuckles said...

That is pretty cool. I live in a trailer so using the wall for support is not viable but I can see it would not take much to build a free standing version.

So, you are up here in the wet zone?
So far it has been pretty mild but if the amount of fur my cats have put on in the last month is any indication, it is going to get cold around here real quick.

So far it really hasn't rained a whole lot but I expect that to hit on Halloween. I can't remember a dry Halloween.
BTW, I am at the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge.
We get some real interesting weather around here that is unique to this area.


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