$20 DIY Furnace Room Shelves

Before and after images of shelves I installed in my furnace room.

Friday night’s project was to install some basic shelves in my furnace room. Living in a small home means maximizing space is important, so I took this opportunity to create some more areas to store our miscellaneous tools and house supplied.

Since it is a furnace room, looks really do not matter. That provided a great opportunity to install the least expensive, ugliest shelving possible and not stress about perfection.

The shelves are just 1×10 knotty pine cut to 24″ long. Knotty pine is not very nice to look at, but very inexpensive. Since these shelves are in the furnace room, looks do not really matter. The brackets are Everbuilt 8″x10″ metal shelf brackets, screwed to the wall with Paulin #8 5/8″ wood/metal screws. These screws are ideal because they are self-tapping, eliminating the need for pre-drilling and reducing the chance of wood splitting. The 5/8″ length was chosen because that is the longest screw you can purchase without blowing out the end of a 1x board, which is 3/4″ deep.

Lessons Learned

  • This was the first time I sawed a board vertically. I’ve always sawn boards horizontally (i.e. the face lying parallel to the ground). When watching folks on YouTube, like Wood by Wright, I notice they often saw boards vertically (although this may have been for ripping and not cross-cutting). Regardless, this board is quite a bit wider than I normally use, so I decided to try the vertical cut. It seemed easier to saw and keep straight, so will continue to experiment.
  • The screw holes on the 8″x10″ brackets are just about the width of my studs (1.5″ for standard 2x4s). I encountered a fair bit of blow out on the screwholes near the edge of the stud. A narrower bracket, like a 6″x8″ would have worked perfectly, but that would have meant using a narrower board.
  • 1×10 was not the best choice for a shelf. A shelf this deep requires a large bracket, which caused some mounting issues mentioned above. The board is also more expensive than a smaller 1×8.
  • I levelled the shelf based on the top of the brackets, which did not work well. It was hard to align the top of the shelf bracket with the level line I marked on the stud. The second shelf was slightly misaligned, but I was able to fix it. A better method would have been to use the level to mark the screw holes, which would be much easier to align the brackets to.

These two 2-ft shelves cost about $20 to make ($8 for the 1×10 and $13 for the four brackets). I expect had I used a 1×8 with smaller brackets, it would probably be closer to the $15 range. Either way, this was an easy way to add more storage to the furnace room for a low cost.

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