Wood Choice for Closet Shelves/Organizer

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Forum topic by FaTToaD posted 10-28-2009 07:30 PM 19765 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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394 posts in 3169 days

10-28-2009 07:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: closet pine storage shelves desert question finishing

A little background info:

We have a large, walk-in master closet in the house we just bought. It originally had a bunch of store bought wire shelves scattered across the walls. I took down the shelves, fixed some holes, and we applied a new coat of paint to the walls and ceiling. Now it’s time to build the closet system itself.

Since the door into the closet is not centered, I want to build one side 12” deep, and the other side 10”. The 12” side will have rods for hanging clothes, while the 10” side will have adjustable shelves and a giant shoe rack.

The question:

I’m pretty new to woodworking so I don’t know a lot about the individual characteristics of the different wood species. We’ve been looking at using pine to build the closet system, mainly because of price and availability. We plan to stain the pine with a dark walnut oil stain. I know there are issues staining pine, but I’ve been practicing on scraps with different sanding grits and some pre-stain conditioners and have had good results so far. My recipe includes an oil based pre-stain conditioner, a couple coats of stain, a couple coats of shellac, and then a couple coats of poly.

We also looked at oak and poplar. The oak was just too expensive, and I’ve heard poplar just doesn’t stain well, it’s better for paint.

My questions is, are there any issues building this with pine? We live in the high desert so we have very low humidity year round. We do use an evaporative cooler in the summer to keep the house cool, though it raises the humidity level quite a bit, the closet does not get any of that air flow.

-- David

3 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 10-29-2009 01:42 AM

Hey David
Let me start with material If you want to stain it dark walnut you can use pine or poplar. With a presealer you can make ether work. what is more typical of closets is MDO , MDF, or melamine it is stable and easy to work with but The MDO and MDF are paint grade materials. As far as putting up typical shelves in closets is that you nail or screw cleats to the wall making sure there level,then putting your shelving on top of that then you use a support bracket If you just installing on shelf or out side supports that go all the way to the floor. This is the old style type of shelving . The newer systems are cleaner and faster.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tjbier's profile


8 posts in 3166 days

#2 posted 10-29-2009 02:52 AM

I built this as a “floating” shoe cubbie. I pre-built it on some saw horses in two sections, thats why the 2 plywoods in the middle. Then outlined it with poplar, and one vertical on the double plywood part, and sreen moulding on all the rest… Just a cleat on the bottom to help hold it up…. I wish I had pics of the rest of the closet. I typically use all 3/4” birch or maple paint grade @ $40 a sheet, but just found some at Menards one side sanded other side not great but $23 a sheet!!

-- Tom.

View Rabbet's profile


35 posts in 3169 days

#3 posted 10-29-2009 05:27 AM

I like to build shelves out of birch plywood with a piece of 3/4” x 1 1/4” wide maple, alder or birch( which ever is available) glued and nailed to the front to give the shelf some additional strength and to hide the plywood edge. These materials are reasonably priced, take a stain very well , and easy to figure how much you need with little waste.

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