Way-up-high cantilevered garage shelves

I wanted to make some cantilevered shelves to mount high on the wall in my big garage workshop. I used my garage shelf design, though I made the shelves a little bit deeper.


I made a jig to use on my homemade tablesaw for cutting the angled ends of the boards. But these cuts could also be made freehand with a circular saw, so long as the board is clamped to a workbench or table.


I also cut a bevel on the ends of some pieces of 2x2, using a table saw sled and a small block of wood clamped to it (I don't have a miter gauge to go with this saw)


Starting assembly

This time, I started assembling the shelves by nailing and gluing one of the horizontal boards to the upright, making sure that it's square.

I also glued the joints. Glue is very important because it gives the shelf it's stiffness and will hold all the load. The nails are there mostly to hold it while the glue dries, and as backup if the glue fails.

I'm using just plain old yellow carpenter's glue (just a wood glue).


Next I add the slanted 2x4 piece. One end touches the post (obstructed in this photo), the other is nailed under the board.


I then flip the shelf assembly over to glue and nail a board on the other side. Here, applying the glue.

I also add one nail to the bottom of the 2x2 where it touches the post.


I nailed the first bracket with hammer and nail, but then switched to my air nailer, using brad nails, a minimum of five per joint.


To screw these shelves to the walls, I would typically drill a hole to sink the head half-way into the wood, so I wouldn't need screws quite this long. And if you can screw the shelves to the studs in the walls, this method is best.

But I recently experimented with pocket holes, and figured, if I screw in diagonally from the sides, I won't have to drill away as much of the upright. I'm only screwing these to the strapping behind the sheet metal, so strength is actually limited by the walls.


Just for the heck of it, I experimented with making a pocket hole jig out of hardwood. I drilled a 3/8" (10 mm) hole through a block of hard maple, then cut a notch out of it so the end of the drill becomes exposed if I plunge it all the way in. I also cut a notch on the opposite side of the jig to make it easier to clamp to the wood.

I also made a sort of wooden stop-collar to keep the drill from plunging too deep.


I wasn't using a step drill, so after drilling the larger hole, I still needed to drill a pilot hole for the screw's shank.


Then screwing the brackets to the walls, high above a 8' (2.4 meter) tall shelf (like this). It's tricky working on a ladder. With no place to put the tools down, a tool belt would be useful.


Checking the strength by standing on one of the shelf brackets.

There was no need for this test, but for the video, I figured, might as well annoy the safety trolls.


I used some 3/4" (19 mm) plywood for the decking of the shelves. This plywood used to be flooring in a neighbour's house. By the looks of it, I think it was used for concrete forming before that. But it was free, and it does the job.

I cut some notches out with a jigsaw for the shelf to fit around the vertical shelf supports.


Then washed it with water. The wood came out surprisingly clean.


Getting the decking onto the shelving was unnerving. With the ladder leaning against the wall, getting the plywood around the supports required me to lean backwards. With both my hands holding the plywood, that wasn't a safe thing to do. I extended the ladder a bit longer to get further away from the wall.

Once I had the top shelf on, I was able to lean the ladder against that, then carried the plywood behind the ladder and put it on the bottom supports. Much easier!
I then screwed the plywood onto the brackets.



Testing the shelf for firmness. The top shelf is about four meters (13 feet) off the ground. I had no doubt that the shelves would hold my weight. But looking straight down while sitting on the top shelf was still a bit unnerving!

With the shelves attached to the metal wall and no wood down to the floor, mice will hopefully not be able to climb onto the shelf. I have had some fabric items stored in this big garage get some mouse damage, and I figure, storing stuff up there should be safe from mice. Though I have also been trapping the mice.


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