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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Momma needs a new pair a shoes! No actually, the last thing in the world I need is a new pair of shoes- I need a place to put the ones I already own, along with the clothes they match so I intend to re-invent my smallest bedroom (126"x 136") into a monster closet... Take that! man cave! lol This will be the girl version.

I would rather build my own junk pressboard components than pay a fortune for pre drilled junk pressboard components I have to put together and hang myself anyway.
I want to use melamine sheets, ripped to size with an iron on edge, for cost and because I need a smooth finish to not snag delicate fabrics. I don’t have a wood shop, so I need the build to be relatively quick because I don’t have anywhere to leave a half finished project for long periods and don’t want to make a huge mess sanding and finishing real wood, to say nothing of the cost.

My joining skills and tools are limited to pocket holes, dado, splice or dowel.

The walls in the room are ½ sheetrock over wood paneling over original plaster and lath. ( I bought the house with paneling, and the cost, in time, effort, mess and haul away made it more reasonable to just sheetrock over the whole thing) so anchoring is a question...

So here’s the lay out of the first two walls I want to start on- its the best I could do.. picture the #1 down the left hand as a wall....

DAMN IT_ I did the layout with dashes and arrows, but its not working, every time I post it deletes what it thinks is extraneous spaces, making it a jumbled mess- this is what happens when you use punctuation for an architectural drawing... will use periods for blank space.

ß---------------------- 126”--------------------------------à
__ .................___________________ ..............................._
1 ...\ entrance ß---------48”---- -----à ............closet.... /
1 ......\........................................................................... /
1 .........\..................................................................... /
1 ............\............................................................... /
1
1
1
1
1 136”
1 total wall length
1
1 104” to door clearance
1
1
1
1
1 RADIATOR
---------------------------- WINDOW-----------------------------

What I would like to do is put up:
1) a 12” wide shelf along the whole length of the entrance wall (126”) and adjacent left 136” wall, just above door height (to store out of season shoes in their boxes)
2) a double closet rod (cut from 1 ½” EMT ) on the 48” section between the entrance and the closet, one at 44” height and one 36” above that.
3) on the 136” wall (vertical columns of #1 in the “drawing”) I want to put up a single closet rod anchored to the wall opposite the entrance on one side and assemble a set of shelves (picture a book case type build, from the floor to the top shelf that will rap around the room) to anchor the closet rod on the other side, just inside the clearance I need for the door.

Lets start with #1 and #2. on the wall where I want to put up two 4’ closet rods (minus width of materials to mount them to) which is the top horizontal line in my "drawing", 126" total length, 48" between doorways...

If you were to look at it straight on (mickey mouse drawing attached in photo) we’d have a shelf across the top of both doorways the whole way across and a vertical just inside each doorway to fasten the closet rod flange supports. I don’t want to build real walls with sheetrock and 2x4- I was hoping I could construct a box- like a book case, 48” wide by 84.5” high, out of melamine ripped to 14” (closet rods would be mounted 12” on center away from the wall). If I rip the melamine down to 14” each sheet would leave me with a 6” strip that I would plan to use for the horizontal supports across the front and back of my box, and screw them to the studs in the wall.

I can put as many horizontal supports on the back (wall) side as I want, but in the front, I will be limited to three- one at the top, one about 3” above the lower rod and one at the top, and I’d prefer if they were 3” wide, not six- I don’t want to have to finagle around them to hang my clothes. My questions are many…

1) do you think it could work to begin with, or will all the tweaking in the world not help? the materials just crumble under the weight? do you think melamine will hold closet rod flange brackets, or will the weight of the clothes on the rod just rip the screws out of the melamine? What type of screws work best in this material with the least likelihood of ripping out? if I epoxy the EMT into the closet rod flanges once all is said and done, would it help improve the integrity or be a total waste of my time?

2) would you use pockethole screws or dowel the joints? Im thinking Dowels will be stronger in this material. Im not sure pocket holes would work in melamine at all… Im worried about the material splintering/crumbling with screws even if I drill guide holes. I can put two dowels in each of the 3 front supports and 4 or five vertical from the top edge of the two sides into the surface of the high shelf that runs the length of the wall. Are more dowels better? Or am I just weakening the materials by drilling more holes?

3) how should I keep the bottom square? Do you think a front and back support will be enough? Or should I create a way to fasten it to the floor also to keep it square, like another support on the inside perpendicular to the wall that I can fasten to the floor or a couple corner braces?

FYI- I have a set of closet rod supports- the ones that look like a triangle with a “U” curve coming off one corner that the bar sits in - if I put one near the center of each bar… is it necessary? Will it help? I also have a bunch of small metal corner braces sitting around in my “spare parts” bins…

4) finally (Almost), the top shelf, that will run the length of the wall… It will be 12” deep. I know the "box" I want to build for the closet rods will be 14 deep, the clothes hangers will extend past the edges of the box (good for finding things), and I can add a 2” rip to the front top to bump out the top shelf at that point- I don’t want to make the top shelf 14” the whole way across because my average shoe box is 10” deep and I don’t want to have to stand back to see what’s up there. This 12” shelf will have to be 126” long- INCLUDING the 90 corner where it will turn the corner over the entry door. Melamine is 96” long. So Im gonna need two pieces for each wall- This wall will be the side of the “L” shaped shelf that needs to come into the corner, I think- there is no way to support it otherwise. Now the problem is, where do I put the joint for the two pieces of shelf? Can I dowel them edge to edge, put the 96” piece square against the corner at the entrance door, so the joint will happen 6” inside the right side of my closet rod “box”? I can mount a shelf bracket on the wall perpendicular to the closet (shelf will go above door casings, so plenty of clearance for door if I mount bracket on adjacent wall) should I put a third 12” shelf bracket centered under that seam? Is it necessary? The shelf itself will probably be greater than the weight of the shoes I put on it- I like sexy girlie shoes- figure 40 lbs total at the extreme-
 

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Your project was a lot to digest, and a bit confusing. If you could provide a brief description with a better sketch to make it clear what you are asking. I am addressing a few of the points you brought up.

1) do you think it could work to begin with, or will all the tweaking in the world not help? the materials just crumble under the weight? do you think melamine will hold closet rod flange brackets, or will the weight of the clothes on the rod just rip the screws out of the melamine? What type of screws work best in this material with the least likelihood of ripping out? if I epoxy the EMT into the closet rod flanges once all is said and done, would it help improve the integrity or be a total waste of my time?
Melamine works very well in case work. If you use coarse thread screws in the hole one time. I would recommend using a cordless drill to drive the screws. They develop more torque and are more controllable speed wise than an electric drill. Drive screws on slow speed and when near tight, just bump the trigger to seat them. Don't drive fast or over spin them.

2) would you use pockethole screws or dowel the joints? Im thinking Dowels will be stronger in this material. Im not sure pocket holes would work in melamine at all… Im worried about the material splintering/crumbling with screws even if I drill guide holes. I can put two dowels in each of the 3 front supports and 4 or five vertical from the top edge of the two sides into the surface of the high shelf that runs the length of the wall. Are more dowels better? Or am I just weakening the materials by drilling more holes?
I would not use pocket hole joinery. I use rabbets and dadoes with Melamine. I only machine a depth of 1/8", which will give a good glue joint. Melamine can be butt screwed, if a countersunk pilot hole is made. Use a coarse thread #7, 2" to 2¼".






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Bracing is not an issue until you span more than 4'.You need a 1×2 under the shelves on the back wall.You can find studs with a nail and hammer. Once you find one the rest should be either 24" or 16" away from it and each other. You can use 1×2's or 1×4's for the ends instead of brackets. Put liquid nails on them and they will be fine without studs.

Then glue and nail 1×2's to the front edges to cover the raw edges and you'll have all the support you need. I would use mdf instead of melamine but you would have to paint it (for looks). This isn't that daunting of a task though if you use a roller and pre-paint them.

Making adjustable shelving is not that hard either. Just take a 1×4 and put a line down the center of it. Mark off whatever spacing you want the holes to be 1 1/4" is standard but 3" is less work. Make a drill stop by drilling through a 2×2 (or similar) or use a collar. You want 2" of a 1/4" brad point bit showing. Now drill the holes in the 1×4 as straight as possible. It's very important that you mark top on the 1×4 and always keep it oriented that way. Now just clamp the 1×4 flush with the front and back edges of the shelve uprights and drill away. By orienting the board the same way the shelves will be level no matter how far off your layout was. You can also just buy a jig for doing this. Home Depot or Lowe's will have a box of pins for about $5.

Hope this helps.

Edit: Forgot to mention- with adjustable shelving you either need one fixed shelf in the middle or else attach the bottom rod by screwing it from the other side ( so the uprights won't bow.You can also just use a shelf above the lower rod. I also just realized that you should know that with 12" shelving you must use 14" cleats to mount the rods to or you won't have room for the clothes hangers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys. My Closet is almost done.

I Didn't trust melamine without opposing forces on both sides- so where I built a center shelf unit, I used it. Where I had a freestanding wall of 4" closet poles I used 2x3s. So much for clean edges.


for melamine verticals that would have support on both sides to keep the panels true, my experences follow:

DOWEL melamine. Period. You can pockethole INTO melamine if you use self tapping screws from a pockthole in lumber and clamp tightly before driving them.

You can NOT pockethole from melamine- period end of story, just doesn't work- the stuff crumbles under even the slightest partial turn of the screw past the initial countersink of the pockethole. FORGET IT.

You CAN store 126 pairs of shoes in 32" of closet space (24" deep, a little extra high- 78"). PAIRS- that's 252 individual shoes, all accessible in narrow pull out racks. It may not mean much to you- but I am in ecstasy. Its unheard of.


It aint pretty because I wasn't sure it would work. The trigonometry of high heels almost fried my brain, toss gravity into those angle calculations and I almost gave up- I will explain it when I take photos...
I wanted to try it before I went nuts on materials for a true build-

there are 43 shelves at 10"x 21" in two pull out shoe units- that's a TON of lumber, and a ton of wasted height if I used 3/4" lumber- so I used 3/16 hardboard and figured I'd live with the deflection if the calculations all worked out (remember, different height heels require different angles and shelf spacing)

Photos to follow. From a woodworking standpoint its a hot mess- scraps and raw 2xs- but from a functionality standpoint- its incredible
 
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