shelf holes and shelf size

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 02-02-2013 12:03 AM 1042 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3092 days

02-02-2013 12:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Guys, I build an entertainment center for my son. He told me that he did not want any shelves in it because he was going to use it for larger items. Well that has now changed and he would like me to add some adjustable shelves. I have a shelf jig which is nothing but some ply drilled every 1.5 and it has served me very well when I can clamp it to the sides before assembly. Now I have to drill them with the backs installed. Long story to ask what do I do now??

Also is there an easy way to calculate what the overall width of a shelf should be to allow for the angling to get them installed? I’m using 1/2 ply with a 3/4” poplar face frame with these pins. As always thanks for helping out the beginner.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

8 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2314 days

#1 posted 02-02-2013 12:26 AM

The shelves are inside a box and you need to drill holes inside that box right? So if you have enough room to get the drill in there all you have to do is take a 1×4 and cut it to the same inside height as the box and predrill the holes in that piece so when you clamp it inside the box you have a guide for the drill and you don’t have to do th work in the box.

The shelf needs to be about 1/4 inch narrower than the opening.

A picture of it would help a lot.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3312 days

#2 posted 02-02-2013 12:45 AM


Since the backs are already on the cabinet, you can still use your drilling jig, but instead of being able to clamp in along the back, you can cut a scrap strip of wood the width of the cabinet and use that to wedge the drilling Jig in place to hold it so you can drill the holes.

I usually cut my shelves 1/8” shorter then the inside width of cabinet.

-- John @

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2284 days

#3 posted 02-02-2013 02:06 AM

Since you mentioned angling the shelf to get it in place, I am guessing there is a face frame that makes the opening slightly narrower than the inside of the case. If that is true, it is a good thing, because the poplar face on the ply will increase the length of the arc slightly. HTH

-- Art

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3604 days

#4 posted 02-02-2013 02:33 AM

I cut my shelves about 1/8- 3/16” short. The way to drill the adjustable shelves inside is to cut a piece of peg board so it will fit inside, make sure you mark one side as the bottom,put tape over the holes your not going to use and use the left over holes to use as your drill guide, you also need to put a piece of tape(or a depth stop) as a depth stop on your drill bit so you don’t drill to deep and end up going through the cabinet. The only other thing to keep in mind is to hold the drill as level as possible and make sure you peg boad sets firmly on the bottom of the cabinet.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 02-02-2013 01:23 PM

Huff, I think your solution will definitely work for me since the problem unit is only 20” wide I’ll also add some scraps and clamps to the front so the jig can’t slip forward as well.

Well we seem to have some variety when it comes to shelf size, I will have a face frame so I’ll have to make the shelves removable by angling them. I’m going to make a template of the front face out of a piece of hardboard and see what will fit. I realized that without the dimension of the poplar there was no way of knowing what the angled dimension would have been.

Many thanks to one and all for the ideas and help. Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2877 days

#6 posted 02-02-2013 02:23 PM

Just a couple of notes:

Building on Jim’s idea, you could cut the pegboard slightly less that the inside depth of the cabinet so it all but covers the area. Of the holes you haven’t covered with tape, choose one and screw the template in there. When you’re done with the boring part of the job, remove the screw and bore that last hole.

It is possible that Pat’s jig and pins are 5mm, not a quarter. It is nice to have a 5/64 bit on hand. And his jig will be used to make another, just like it, to fit nicely inside the box!

Regarding shelf dimensions: The diagonal of the thickest piece—often the lip—just needs to be a smidge smaller than the span.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4245 days

#7 posted 02-02-2013 02:30 PM

Of course you could always just screw in some low-profile standards.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Belg1960's profile


1072 posts in 3092 days

#8 posted 02-02-2013 09:19 PM

Lee, pins are definitely 1/4” read a warning about that before I started. Using the wedge technique and filling in the space with a complete filler worked perfectly.

Charlie, I had some of those but decided it had to match the rest of the unit. I have one long base cabinet which will get one of them in the rear and behind the center partition, offsset the difference between the facing and the ply wood for the shelf.

Thank you both for your ideas. Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics