Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to DIY rather than buy. For some it is for the satisfaction that comes from doing the work, others are motivated by money, or lack there of, and some just feel like a challenge. Mitch and I fall at different places along the spectrum depending upon the project. For the project I'm going to blog about, I was motivated by money (lack there of) and Mitch was motivated by me. He really had no interest in this other than to quiet the nagging wife.
I wanted an industrial shelf for the dining room. I had some 100 year old barn wood in the garage that I wanted to use for the shelves, I just needed to decide upon the frame work. After months of pinterest shopping, I decided to use plumbing pipes and fittings. The pipes by the way are called nipples. Let me jump off topic a bit to share with you how I know this, and if I've shared this here before, forgive the repeat. When we built the wall to wall table out of a hollow core door in the sewing room, we used plumbing pipes and floor flanges for the legs. Mitch went to a plumbing supply store to order the parts we would need. He needed some measurements from home, so he got those and called back to the store. The man had a question about whether I wanted black pipes(nipples) or galvanized. So rather than go back and forth with the questions, (also to embarrass me) Mitch put me on the phone with Mr. Plumbing Supply Man, who said to me, so you need four three foot nipples? Whaaaa???? I had no idea what the man was talking about. I had to say nipple out loud to a complete stranger on the phone. Yes, I am 12 years old.
So, back to the shelf. This time I ordered the fittings from an online source called Ron's Home & Hardware.Even with the shipping cost, it was cheaper than buying from the big box hardware stores. Once again, the nipples came from a local plumbing supply store. This is not going to be a tutorial, because to be honest, it was a bear of a project. To the point, I was nearly ready to just call it a loss even with around $100.00 in supplies.
I'm sure there are ways that it could have been less difficult, we didn't find those and just kept at it. The thing that makes it nearly impossible, is the fact that you are attaching threaded pipe into threaded fittings. OK, that's all well and good, but no matter what order you attach those pieces, at some point you are going to be turning pipe one way to tighten it and that same action will be loosening it on the other end. Also, some pieces tightened more than others making it pretty darn unlikely to ever get the thing square. The saving grace for this whole project is the fact it is attached to the wall, so the loosey-gooseyness of it is not evident.
We did not screw the flanges to the floor, only the two in the upper back to the wall.
We had to work on this one two different evenings. Not necessarily because it took a long, long time, but because we had to walk away from it for a couple of days to keep from throwing it in the back yard. I've seen similar shelves made that are not a closed system. Each shelf is attached to the wall instead of having the vertical supports at the back. That looks like it would the way to go. It would have its own complexities, but not quite the same as the beast we built.
I love the shelf and am so glad we powered through, but I don't think he'll be volunteering to help with another. I found this post very helpful in the midst of our shelf building.
You may notice that the fittings and pipes are different colors. Remember I said they pipes and fittings were purchased separately? I decided I liked the variation, so I didn't change anything. Just something to be aware of if you consider building your own.
Like I said, this is not a tutorial, but a few tips in case you want to jump on the crazy train.
Check local plumbing supply stores for prices. Plumbing fitting are kind of pricey. Ron's hardware has really good prices too.
The parts will likely be filthy when you get them. Wash them first with a little soapy water, and still wear old clothes.
Have pipe wrenches handy. They were very useful in all the tightening and loosening that went on.
Throw out notions of perfection. It probably isn't happening with this one. Rustic is the word my friends, rustic.
Most of all, don't let me discourage you. Just keeping it real.