How to Build Heavy-Duty Wood Storage Shelving

Updated February 21, 2017

Heavy-duty shelving is a must in any garage or workshop where large tools, heavy boxes or lots of wood or other construction material needs storing. Building your own wood storage shelving is generally more cost-effective than purchasing a shelving unit and you have the added benefit of being able to customise the dimensions of the shelves to suit any odd-sized item and the wall space you have available.

Measure up 24 inches from the floor and use a level to mark a line 8 feet across the wall. Measure up another 24 inches from the first line and mark a second level line, 8 feet long. Repeat a third time, so you have three level lines, 24-inches apart; these are the positions of the shelves. Find the wall studs and mark their position on each of the three lines.

Position a one-by-two plank along the first level line. Drive a 3-inch screw through the plank, which is a shelf cleat, at each stud point. Repeat with the remaining planks and lines.

Stand two of the two-by-two planks 20 inches apart. Place a plywood sheet over them, perfectly plumb with one of the planks. Drive a 1 ¾-inch screw through the plywood into the plumb plank every 5 inches along the length of the plywood. Remove the plywood and the single attached plank, then place another plank down and repeat with a second sheet of plywood. Repeat with the last piece of plywood and another plank. There will be two planks left.

Place the side of the plywood without the plank over the bottom wall cleat, ensuring the ends of the plywood are flush with the ends of the cleat. Drive a 1 ¾-inch screw through the top of the plywood into the cleat every 5 inches along the length. The weight of the plank on the other side of the plywood will cause it to sag a little at this point. Repeat with the remaining plywood shelves and the higher cleats.

Stand one of the remaining planks upright, flush with the ends of the plywood shelves. Bring the bottom shelf to a level height, then clamp it to the upright plank. Repeat with the other two shelves. Repeat with the last plank on the other end of the shelves. Once all the shelves are level and clamped to the upright planks, drive two 3-inch screws through the outside of the upright planks into the horizontal plank attached to the plywood shelf. Repeat until all the shelves are attached to the upright planks.


If you have a lot of tools requiring hanging, use finishing nails to tack on sheets of pegboard over the ends of the shelves. Adjust the dimensions of the shelves to suit your needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Level
  • 3 planks, 8-foot lumber, 1-inch by 2-inch
  • Drill
  • 3-inch screws
  • 5 planks, 8-foot lumber, two-by-two
  • 3 plywood sheets, 3/4-by-20-by-96 inches
  • 1 3/4-inch screws
  • Clamps
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About the Author

B.T. Alo is media director, chief writer and editor for a U.S.-based marketing and consulting firm. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and communications. Alo's interests include business, investments, electronics, personal finance, health, communication, popular trends and travel.