How to Make Shelves - With Photos

alli713

..has a fleece addiction
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Twin Cities, MN
I see this posted a lot on the forums, so I thought I'd make an explanation along with photos of how I make my shelves, so that perhaps some others can understand the process.

Okay, first you'll need:
Wood, pine or poplar boards work best
Wing nuts (sized to match your hanger bolts, 1/4" is most popular)
Washers
Hanger Bolts (1/4" size is most popular)
Pliers

Some people use other means to attach their shelves to their cage, but I've found that hanger bolts work well. Some people also just use hex nuts, but for hand tightening against the cage bars, wing nuts work best. Also, if you use pine, it's so soft of a wood that you don't need to drill pilot holes for the bolts. You can, but it's not necessary, so even if you don't have a drill, you can make your own shelves.

My piece of wood measures roughly 6" x 6". You can use any size, and many lumber stores will cut them for you. Or else ask for their area of seconds, as sometimes they have shorter, left over portions in those bins or racks.

First, picture of supplies:


Close up of hanger bolts. Note that one side looks like a screw, the other half is a bolt for the wing nut to screw onto.


Here in this photo, I've hand-screwed the bolt into the wood to start it off. Note that I've put the wing nut onto the screw, and then the washer, it just takes steps off of my process, but you could skip putting the washer on at this point.
So what you'll do is hold onto the wing nut portion with your hand and while pushing into the wood, twist the wing nut/bolt combo. This will push it into the wood if using pine since it's so soft


After I've started it off so that it sticks into the wood and doesn't fall out, I take my pliers and twist it the rest of the way into the wood. I hold the wing nut part with my pliers and then twist the board with my left hand.


So you will continue twisting the board or pliers until the bolt is all the way into the wood, up to the point so that the wing nut (or washer if you've put it on) is tight up against the wood. You should then be able to twist the wing nut the opposite way to loosen it.

And here's a final close up of the board. I put two bolts in this to make it more stable



I hope this helps and hopefully I didn't make it sound more confusing than it actually is!
 

alli713

..has a fleece addiction
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Nope, you don't need a drill! If you want the hanger bolt to go in pretty easy, you can use the smaller size (whatever the size is that's one smaller than 1/4"). Those go in pretty easy when you just press them and twist into the wood.

The 1/4" ones are a bit harder, but still very easy to twist into the pine.

Normally you'll have to twist harder with the larger sizes, and so sometimes the wing nut will get stuck onto the hanger bolt when you try to twist it back off. Then to get it off, I use two pliers. With one pliers I hold the hanger bolt, and the other I use to twist the wing nut. With a little muscle they normally always come loose.
But this won't happen as much if you drill a pilot hole first.
 

Ash

Trouble....
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Mount Carmel, PA
Thanks Alli! Maybe now I don't need Keith to do my shelves... :hmm: Lol nah, I think I'll still make him do them...

Hey, slightly OT, but not quite. Does Home Depot and/or Lowes charge for cutting the wood?
 
R

Rickman

Guest
A little shortcut: if you put 1 wingnut on upside-down, and another correctly, you can tighten [jam] them against each other, and just hand-tighten the wood screw part into the wood.
Eliminates the use of clumsy pliers, and saves galling of the machine threads!
Probably much easier, too!!
 

alli713

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Yeah, each person is going to find what works best for them. I tried the double up of wing nuts, but found that just the single with pliers works easiest for me.

And yes, poplar is harder, so if you don't have a drill, get pine.

As far as cutting wood, I think it depends on the store. Some charge like 25 cents a cut, others just won't charge. And some stores won't cut your wood. I think if you need them cut, just call ahead or ask at the store.
 
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Rickman

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Home depot will cut - some charge, others won't.
Lowe's won't cut at all! [their loss]
Haven't tried Menards or any other -
 

Spoof

Kung Fu Chinny!
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Our Lowe's has cut stuff for me for free so far. I'm sure it depends on the store.

Great post! I need about 30 made for all of my cages. Thanks for posting!
At that quantity I'd invest in a drill. Having 30 cages with two shelves each I went ahead and got a nice Miter saw, you find all kinds of things to do with it once you get one. :D
 

Ash

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Nice to know about Home Depot vs Lowes! Thanks guys! I'm gonna need about 40' of wood cut down, and I don't think Keith has a saw to do it.
 
N

nicky

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Hey, thanks! That really helps. Everyone says that it's much cheaper to make them yourself. Every dollar you save really helps. Thanks again.
 

Cloverr

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Wappingers Falls, NY
a quick question... I see what type of wood, Im just verifying the thickness of the cut. Do you use 1inch thick? Im thinking about doing a little remodeling of Buddys cage :)
 

alli713

..has a fleece addiction
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Yes, I just use the one inch thick. Thicker will last longer, but I like to replace them before they're worn down anyways to keep their cage clean.
 
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Newt

Guest
Thanks so much for the info! This will come in great for redecorating Jasmine's cage once she's feeling better!
 
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Pookahsmom

Guest
AWESOME I have always wondered how they were made.We got our cages from Quality Cage and ordered them right off the bat'; now we can replace them!! Who Hooo!:thumbsup:
 
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