home for my Vintage
Posted by: Bill
Cable 01.14.09 12:01am
into a new house, one of the things I most looked
forward to was having my own Star Wars room again.
I used to have a Star Wars room in the old house,
until my daughters needed a "play room."
Then I had to pack everything up. I've been in the
new house a little over half a year, and it's finally
to the point where I can start dedicating some time
to setting up my room. So before Christmas I build
my objectives for these shelves were threefold:
wanted the shelves to be sturdy.
wanted the shelves to be invisible.
wanted the shelves to be cheap.
those in mind, I headed to Lowe's. I looked at
all their shelving options, and they came up wanting.
Everything was either ugly, gaudy or expensive.
So I decided to build something myself. Not having
exceptional carpentry skills, I had to be creative.
decided that my material of choice would be base
moulding... that wood strip you find at the bottom
of your walls covering up where the carpet meets
the wall. They had hard wood, primed pine and
composite material moulding of the shape and size
I liked, and I went with the hard wood. I figured
I'd be painting it to match my walls anyway, so
why pay extra for something primed? And I figured
the wood would hold up better than any composite
material. Here's the shape I went with:
Clean. Exactly what I was looking for.
was a great choice, but I did run into one issue.
It's tough to find straight moulding. Usually
molding is nailed flat against the wall, so it
doesn't really need to be straight to begin with.
But I was mounting mine perpendicular to the wall.
So any sort of curve would be problematic. I had
to go through the entire stack of moulding to
find seven viable pieces. And I couldn't be picky
about the "back" of the moulding (which
would normally be against the wall)... some had
a single slot cut out. Others had a series of
three or four slots. But none were all that deep,
so I figured it wouldn't matter much. Only people
who come in looking for it will ever see the difference.
the next thing I needed to do was figure out a
way to attach these to the wall like shelves.
At 3" wide they'd be ideal for Vintage figures
Acrylic Cases. But to mount them perpendicular
to the wall would be tricky. Foregoing much better
looking alternatives, for this I chose the simplest
option. I bought up every pack of small L brackets
they had in the store. There were four brackets
per bag, and I bought up all 9 of the nickel-plated
2-hole brackets they had on the shelves. I planned
to screw the brackets to the shelves at 16"
intervals, and then screw them to the walls through
the studs. This was to provide maximum strength
against the shelves collapsing. People who screw
into the plaster when they could catch the stud
are morons, in my always humble opinion.
the first job after acquisition was shelf assembly.
I needed to paint the shelves, then attach the
mounting brackets. So I went and got paint swatches
to try and match my wall. After consulting my
wife and older daughter, we settled on a color
called "Milk paint." Yummy. I found
out that I needed to put three coats of paint
on the shelves to get an even finish. Maybe that
primer wouldn't have been a bad idea after all.
located the studs in the wall, then marked the
starting point of the shelves where I wanted them.
Then I marked every 16" on the shelves, and
attached the brackets. After my first shelf was
done, I noticed a problem. The screws were too
long. The points of the screws stuck out a good
1/8" the bottom of the shelf. This could
prove hazardous to my hands if I grabbed a figure,
but more importantly could scratch up my Oscar's
Cases. My solution... a grinding wheel. I
spent a good 90 minutes one night grinding off
the bottom halves of about 90 screws. My workbench
is still covered in metal flakes. But it worked...
with the shortened screws I only had a few of
the shelves crack on the bottom when the screws
the screws were now pointless, I had to drill
holes in the wood to get them to start. So after
the paint dried I methodically drilled pilot holes
at 16" intervals into all seven shelves.
The shelves were 8' long, so that worked out to
42 brackets. Which meant it was back to Lowe's
to hope they'd restocked... It would be one of
hundreds of trips back to that damn store for
stuff I kept finding out I needed.
the shelves were finished! Next it was time to
put them on the wall. I ran masking tape up the
wall at the studs, reasoning that'd save me from
cleaning up pencil marks later. It was a brilliant
move. I measured one of my Oscar's
Cases, added the height of a shelf, and measured
off the locations of pilot holes. I drilled them
out. Attached the shelves using 2" drywall
screws. Job finished!
I tried to put some figures on the shelves, and
realized I made a HUGE error.
of the figures fit perfectly on some of the shelves.
This is because Oscar's Cases
are hand-made, and sometimes there's a little
variance in the height. My mistake was that I
forgot to include the thickness of the L brackets
in my measurement. This was only about 1/16"
of an inch... but another problem was that I used
one of my shorter cases in the original measurement.
So when you add 1/16" of an inch for the
bracket, and another 1/16" of an inch for
some of the cases, the cases ended up not fitting
no matter how hard I pushed.
I had to take everything back off the wall and
start all over again.
the room filled with black clouds of profanity
for the good part of an hour.
I filled the holes and started over, the second
time went much more quickly. I'll share one trick
with you I discovered when constructing. What
I did was draw a vertical line down the wall where
the middle of the shelves would be, then marked
off where the screws would be drilled. Now here's
the trick... I took my level and marked it at
16" intervals. Then I just put one of the
marks on the original drill hole, leveled the
level, and marked the wall for the next hole.
I figured this would be more reliable than measuring
a grid. I'm usually very accurate in such things,
but one small mistake could lead to badly crooked
shelves by the end of the wall. By using the level
as my measuring instrument, the measurements would
almost self-correct any mistake. They'd always
be level. And it ended up being pretty quick.
hang the shelves I first screwed in the leftmost
screw about halfway. Then I lifted the right side
of the shelf and inserted the rightmost. Then
it was just zip-zip-zip with the other four. Power
drills are nice, once you have a bit that's long
enough that your drill doesn't grind up the surface
of the shelves (that was yet another trip to Lowe's).
second time was the charm... with the new measurements
all my cases all actually fit on the shelves,
and I was in business. The next week I repeated
the whole process to make shelves for my 3POs...
albeit shorter ones since I have fewer. Well,
not the whole process... I didn't need to hang
those ones twice. Total cost of the project was
now all my Vintage carded is proudly on display!
The next task is to build the bookshelves I just
picked up at Ikea, and fill them with all the
rest of my collection. That should only take around
2 or 3 years...
guess is you'd like to see some finished photos.
These first three are of my complete set of 96.
The first is set. The second is to give you an
idea of the depth of the shelves. And the third...
well Julia saw me take a photo of Jasmine, so
she had to be in one as well...
you can see - the perfect width. As an added bonus,
on the shelves with the single groove, I was able
to set the back edge of the cases against the
back wall of the groove, and the front edge above
the front lip of the groove, resulting in a great
deal of stability.
next two are my preciouses... my 3PO run. It brings
a tear to the eye...