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Thread: Earthquake resistant shelving for canned goods

  1. #1
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    Earthquake resistant shelving for canned goods

    Item is ready to go into service.

    The first casualty of the design phase was the idea of "earthquake proof." Mama nature has a way of making bigger earthquakes later, so I let go of that idea early on.

    Instead of a drop edge, each shelf features a shelf lip to both stiffen the shelf and to prevent canning jars from just sliding off the front edge without some pretty serious jiggling going on.

    20220815_164609[1].jpg20220815_165450[1].jpg20220815_170635[1].jpg20220727_002450[1].jpg

    So let's see. Pic one is the finished item upright and ready to be moved to the pantry room. Pic two shows a half pint jar of salmon and a pint jar of potato behind the shelf lip, lips are 1 9/16 tall.

    Pic three is earthquake hangers. One of the metal bits gets attached to the wall, one to the back of the shelving, than the flexible wire with threaded connector to attach the two together. Once the unit is in the pantry room I want to find the studs in the wall blah, blah, the hope is to coil the wire through both brackets twice before closing the threaded connector.

    Pic four was previously posted in the design section here, showing continuous vertical plywood casing, then 8 scale inch wide pieces of plywood as shelf supports. No dados were made in this project, but the pile of plywood in the overcrowded garage is much reduced. Having let go of "earthquake proof" as a design goal, further separating each shelf vertically so the labels on the jar tops could be read for elevated wife approval factor was accepted as a design constraint.

    Pic

  2. #2
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    Finish was ready made shellac, after using a pollisior. I learned on this project that the burnishing with the pollisior goes a lot quicker when I make a very light pass with a very sharp cabinet scraper first. Cuts the burnishing time at least in half, maybe more, at least on this made in USA birch veneer. Couple pics.

    20220810_113152[1].jpg20220810_115024[1].jpg

    In the first pic you can see one of the levelling feet. I checked my local stores and ended buying these on Amazon. The feet are rated 400# each, I expect the finished item, fully loaded with full canning jars to come in around 450-500#.

    Pollisior is from Dons barn dot com and his website documents them well. I like the fatter ones for my arthritic hands. On this project I just used a bare naked tool to burnish the wood, and then applied shellac.

  3. #3
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    Glue up was as for a plywood boat ala Dynamite Payson. If I invoke stern I mean the bottom shelf, bow would be the topmost shelf. There are no through hull penetrations in the finished item.

    First I selected the pieces I wanted for the exterior sides, and then glued on fixed shelf supports for the top middle and lowest shelves times two.

    Then I trimmed the fixed shelf supports back to serve as guides when gluing the two sides to the back panel.

    For glue up the back panel was on saw horses with a vertical side on each edge. I used precut shelves slightly undersized as guides for square and something to clamp to. For gluing the two side panels to the back panel I used fish glue from Lee Valley for the long open time - which I needed to get everything square. All other glue joints were PVA, TB2 specifically.

    20220730_202022[1].jpg20220731_165104[1].jpg20220801_175525[1].jpg

    At this point I was feeling pretty good. I worked to the 1/16 inch and was looking for errors not greater than 1/8 inch throughout.

    Next step once that glue was dry was to tip the fool thing upright (still in clamps), and then glue in the three shelves one at a time without anything going out of square.

    20220802_193015[1].jpg

    There is one spot where my errors stacked to put the exterior case 1/4 inch out. Everywhere else, once this glue was dry, I was within 1/8 inch and that was a good feeling.

  4. #4
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    Next step, with dry glue again but still in band clamps, was to tip back onto the sawhorses and glue in pieces between the back panel and the now permanently fixed shelves while keeping everything square.

    That was somewhat exciting, but manageable.

    I also put in short pieces of furring strip to reinforce the joints between the back and side panels.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Scott Winners; 08-15-2022 at 11:22 PM.

  5. #5
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    With all the glue dry again, on the now stable case the clamps can go away. Next up was to glue in the shelves. For this I cut plywood strips at 7 7/8 inches because I am a rebel, I had WAF for 8" vertical shelf spacing.

    So on the inside of the case, two shelf supports, one on each side, and then one across the back, so the shelf (nominal 16x24 inches) is supported on three sides already. I glued the side pieces in just at the fronts, and the back piece in at both ends but not in the middle. For placing the shelf, I did a continuous glue line along the top of both side pieces and the length of the back piece. Kinda like a helmet. Each helmet should hold together for a little while after it detaches from the case sides and back.

    For the shelf surfaces the jars ride on I got busy with my polissior, otherwise unfinished. The shelf supports are factory untouched, the bottom surface of each shelf is factory untouched.

    I did go round and round the mountain on shelf size in the design phase. The kicker for me was our first purchase of canning jars at a yard sale, for about a quarter the price of new jars. We haven't bought new jars since the first box of mixed dimension stuff at 75% off. Half inch plywood supported on three sides with a drop edge passes the sagulator with flying colors when loaded to double the weight I can put on it with full canning jars, and 16x24 nominal fits neatly onto 4x8 sheet goods. So I got some headroom for earthquakes, and no odd sized scraps.

    20220805_165038[1].jpg

    Once all the shelves were in, next up was the shelf lips. Like drop edges, only the other way around. I intentionally cut all these about 1/8 overlong, weighed them down with part of my Tremont nail collection while waiting for the glue to dry, and later cut them flush to the outside of the case with a screaming tool of Satan. Excuse, with a flush trim bit on an electrified router.

    Once the glue was dry on the (plain grained BB shelf lips), I did the same to cover the edge grain of the plywood between each shelf lip.

    20220808_175753[1].jpg

    There is a view of all four threaded leveling feet in the last picture.

  6. #6
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    Item in finally in service in one of the downstairs bedrooms. Woodstove is on the upper floor. It is 3 inches off the wall to clear the hotwater baseboard heat.

    The wire on those earthquake fasteners is a cold hearted thing to close up. Next time I will put a hardpoint much closer to the top of my project.

    The blessed news is all the canning jars are corralled. None in the kitchen outside the fridge, none in the dining room, none in the living room, none in the garage. And the lids are corralled and the bands are corralled. I would prefer to move this back to the garage in the relatively near future, but having all the canning jars picked up is going to make it much easier to keep going on cleaning up the garage.

    I am fitting 30 wide mouth pints per shelf, and 45-48 regular mouth half pints per shelf.

    20220820_181844[1].jpg20220820_182035[1].jpg

  7. #7
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    We had a Richter 4.8 forty two miles west of town on September 18th, two days ago. I didn't lose any canning jars off this shelf, but none of our paintings came off the walls either. It was the biggest quake I have been awake for in several years.

  8. #8
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    Nice looking project, congrats on weathering your first test of the earthquake resistance.

  9. #9
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    A great precaution. I can only imagine the mess without it. A couple of years ago my sister (also in Anchorage) had all her kitchen cabinets hit the floor. She had to buy all new dishes.

    Are you concerned about cooking the food close to the heat?

  10. Great project! I'm glad to hear it passed the first test.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bender View Post
    Are you concerned about cooking the food close to the heat?
    I am concerned. The original plan was to move the chest freezer from the garage into this unused bedroom, and put two shelving units like this in the garage for canned goods. The freezer does not fit through the bedroom door, so we are kind of at "it is what it is." I did find guidance about home canned green chili at Utah State Uni Extension. The lion's share of those are in the garage, with a few canaries of each in the bedroom to see how fast the color changes at +55dF thermostat setting.

  12. #12
    If you want some ideas about making a kitchen earthquake proof, take a look at what they do in a fair size boat (or ship) in the galley - to keep things from falling out when the boat rocks and rolls in rough weather. The modifications to the electric stove (always electric, never gas) to hold pots in place are also interesting.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  13. #13
    That's a good looking project. Have you thought about the various type of can rotator shelves? Not for canning jars, but for store bought metal canned stuff? Not sure it'd work for glass canning jars, don't know that I have heard of anyone storing full glass canning jars on their sides (probably for a reason....)

  14. #14
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    Had a post office in a retail pharmacy many years ago in Ottawa, a regular earthquake zone. The parcel shelves filled a corner at 90 degrees to each other. After one quake all the parcels on one shelf were on the floor, all the parcels on the shelf at 90 degrees remained. It made the direction of the quake very obvious!
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

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