Under-counter metal wire shelving

The plumbing fixtures looks great, so I am on to the next bathroom project! It is taking some restraint to stay focused on the master bath, but a wise person (my brother) once told me to finish one room at a time. This method yields a greater sense of completion.

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This metal shelf project is pretty simple, but it is step one of two in making a big change to the look of the room. The shelving doesn’t have to look pretty — it just has to be functional and maximize the storage possibilities. I am going to cover the under-counter area with a skirt in my next project, but I want the storage completed first.

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To build this storage unit I used wire shelving from my basement and cut the poles down to the size I needed. I did need to work out a few details to make this work well. If you are working with these materials, here are some comments from my experience:

1) Make sure that you have uniform feet for the poles. I had to pull the footings off some of them (on left in left picture) and add in those little cap dudes (on right in right). Once they are uniform, make sure that you cut them in a way to align the horizontal guide lines. Since the shelves sit on those guide lines you need to be sure that they align across poles.

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2) Once you have a plan for the pole feet to be uniform and guide lines aligned, measure carefully so that when cut, the top of the pole is just below the shelf sleeve. This way you aren’t dealing with a raw unfinished pole top. And it looks neater, too.

3) Wearing safety glasses, use an angle grinder with cut-off blade to cut the metal poles. Or use a hacksaw. I have a lot of tools in my shop and it really surprises me how frequently I use the angle grinder; I love it and all of its brother and sister cordless DeWalt tools. And regarding safety glasses – I’m not proud to say this but I am pretty lax with my safety precautions. However, I always wear glasses when cutting metal. I worked in a metal shop when I was younger and when I didn’t protect myself I got some pretty weird injuries. Once while I was drilling metal these tiny razor-wire coils of metal flew out of the drill press and gave me a gash on my neck. It hurt, but thankfully it wasn’t my eye!

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4) Double check for sharp edges. Metal cuts really hurt both for you while working and for any unsuspecting shelf users. Check if you need to level up the pole ends or remove metal burrs after you make the cuts. I used the lovely bench grinder that I got for my last birthday to do this. I used the grinding wheel to level and the wire brush wheel to remove rough edges and burrs. If you don’t have the machine you can use metal files.

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