With the basement construction complete, we began our quest to furnish it. In particular, we knew we needed a TV stand and/or media unit to house some of our electronics, DVDs, etc.
I knew I wanted something long, but also shallow in depth. And because I wanted to the basement to feel as spacious and open as possible, we opted to build a simple, open, industrial shelving unit.
Our build supplies list consisted of:
- Three 5′ x 11″ (1 1/2″ thick) wood planks
- Four 10″ galvanized gas pipes (for the top shelf)
- Four 12″ galvanized gas pipes (for the bottom shelf)
- 16 galvanized pipe flanges
- Wood screws to secure flanges
- 6 adjustable furniture glides
I believe our total at checkout was about $220, and the majority of that was the pipes and flanges (they aren’t cheap, be prepared!).
To prep the wood for stain, Eric extensively sanded it and I applied Minxwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. As advertised, the conditioner does a great job of preventing ‘blotchiness.’
After applying the pre-stain with a brush and letting it sit for around 10-15 minutes, we applied a generous coat of Varathane Wood Stain in ‘Carrington’. I’ve talked about it in other posts, but I generally prefer Varathane Wood Stain (vs. Minwax) because it is thicker and easier to control.
One helpful tip (that I’ve learned from my own practice) is toapply stain to the ends/edges of the boards last, and then immediately wipe the stain off. Or, you can apply some stain to a cloth, and buff the color on. In my experience, no matter how smoothly the ends are sanded, they will soak up stain like a sponge. If you apply stain to the ends along with the rest of the wood, and remove everything at the same time, you will wind up with the ends of your boards much darker than the rest.
After staining the boards and sealing them with a couple coats of matte polyurethane, we mapped out where we wanted to attach the pipes and flanges. We opted to inset them from the edges of the board by about 6″. We secured the flanges, and screwed in the first set of pipes.
The next step is a crucial one – we screwed on the flanges to the tops of the exposed pipes (which you see below), which would then be attached to the next shelf. Because the pipes screw into the flanges, you must construct everything in order (board – flange – pipe – flange – board – flange – pipe – etc.). In other words, because of the direction of the threads, you cannot install the flanges to all the boards, and then screw the pipes in.
After securing the middle shelf, we repeated our steps to add the top shelf. Some of the pipes were more perpendicular than others. For the ones that were noticeably angled – and not sitting flush – we ‘shimmed’ the flanges with washers.
You can probably see from the pictures of the finished piece, that the right side of the unit sits up higher from the floor. Our basement floors have a slight grade to them (for waterproofing purposes), so to make the unit level we installed 6 adjustable furniture glides to the bottom of the lower shelf. Not only do they level the shelves and protect the floors, but they can also be adjusted should we ever use the unit in another room.
Since the shelving unit is all open, and since we use it for electronics, I wanted to hide any cords as much as possible. My solution was to use zip ties and route as many of the cords I could down the backs of the pipes. They are still visible, but the overall appearance is much cleaner than having them all over the place.
The decor on the bottom shelf also helps to hide the power strip and other bulky cords.