Pipe Based Unit with Boxed Shelves

As the nerd cave comes together in the basement, I wanted something along a blank section of wall between two windows. I had been dreaming up a small shelving unit for some time before FINALLY putting pencil to paper and coming up with a rough plan for this pipe based shelving unit.

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

I came up with a rough sketch – I have ZERO skill when it comes to drawing to scale, mind you… and planned out some basic measurements. Then on a Saturday when I had some free time, I took a trip to my trusty Lowe’s.

All of my supplies were black iron piping in a 1/2 inch size. I was able to get away with using pre-cut long pieces (by adjusting my pre-planned measurements a bit) and shorter pre-cut nipples.

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

I purchased: (all are 1/2 inch in diameter)

  • 4 floor flanges
  • 4 10 in. long pieces
  • 4 8 in. long pieces
  • 8 10 in. long pieces
  • 12 24 in. long pieces
  • 4 elbow connectors
  • 16 tee connectors

If you look CLOSELY at my original sketch, these measurements are different. That is because I didn’t want to have to pay for extra cutting. I figured I’d make it work, and I did!

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

I was lucky enough to have the lumber required on hand at The Burrow to make the shelves. At home, I took everything down to the basement and assembled the pipe bases. This aspect took some time as all of the threads go in one direction – so as I tightened one pipe it would loosen in another connector! I eventually worked it out enough to be stable.

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

Once I was pleased with the width the bases were apart, I took some measurements and went out to the garage and cut the beautiful plywood down to size. I fit the shelves into place and voila! The shelves were complete. But as I stood there and looked at them…. they looked.. wrong. I knew I didn’t want to spend more money for more pipe, so I took an hour or so hiatus from the project to think about how to fix the height issue that developed from my change in measurements.

Then… I HAD IT! I removed the shelves from the bases because I was going to ATTACH hanging shelves to the bottom! I cut two pieces of plywood for the sides and a longer piece for the bottom, and then using my handy Kreg Jig, I put pocket holes in the bad boy and made a pretty sturdy hanging shelf. Then I repeated the process so I had two! After they were completed and dust free, I took them downstairs, screwed them into place, and reset the shelves on to the bases.

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

When I look at the unit as a whole now, I feel much better about it. My plays fit perfectly into the hanging unit and the very few records I have fill up the taller shelf nicely. As I start to transition my nerd stuff into the cave, I have no doubt this handy little unit will hold it all nicely! I still may paint the plywood and I still have a few boxes of nerd stuff to unleash upon the world, but for now – I am content!

Life in the Burrow: Pipe Shelf

If you’re ever dissatisfied with a project, just take a break for a bit… when you come back and look at it again, you might get walloped¬†with a stroke of genius to complete it just the way you wanted it done!



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