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Friday, March 20, 2009

Slimline Can Roller Project

Ever wanted to find a way to store a bunch more cans, especially those big #10 sized ones? Love the idea behind products such as the Shelf Reliance, but maybe you don’t have enough money for one, or better yet, maybe not enough space because of oddly sized rooms? Maybe you’re like me and maybe several of those are true all at once. What follows is a restatement of a post I did last year about some home-made can rotation shelving I built, along with the basic instructions you need to create your own (and you’ll want to).

Last spring I was in an interesting point of my life, as I was “transferring” my job to new workers, and getting ready for a new job. This gave me a certain amount of free time because contractual obligations kept me from doing some actual work. Always one to need to be *doing* something, I set my sights on my garage for a little reworking. I had on one wall a couple of old, decrepit shelves that were really a hazard to the contents, as well as anybody walking near them. They were long past due for replacement, plus, they really didn’t hold nearly what they needed to.

The Beginning, wall mounted rotation, flush and ready to build out the shelves

The Beginning, wall mounted rotation, flush and ready to build out the shelves

For many people, a garage really isnt’ a viable option for food storage. Temperatures can vary greatly, which can destroy packaging, or just destroy nutrients. I do have an enclosed garage however, and with some extra insulation work I have made it able to keep moderate temperatures that actually work well with some parts of our food storage. So I began by getting rid of the old, so I could start on the new. Once removed, I had a nice 70″ wall near the door that I used as the basis of the work.

Things I needed out of my new shelving:

  • #10 sized can rotation
  • Normal large shelving, for storage quite a variety of goods
  • Space to store another fridge/freezer
  • Bulk Bag Storage
  • Bucket/Heavy storage (Wheat bin, etc)

I started out with the can rotation idea. Most commercial systems are designed for the idea that they can sit up against a wall, and be loaded, and unloaded from the same spot. This is ideal for most circumstances. But what I had allowed for something different. As you can see from the picture, the wall in question did not end against another wall. Or in another build, I wouldnt’ have to build it *to* the end. By taking advantage of the ability to access both “sides” of the shelving, I had an opportunity to build something different. See, a #10 can is less than 8″ across. Given a hair more space to make things nice, and the width of a 2×4 that I was already going to use for a framework, I could take a little of the back of my shelves, and turn it into much more usable space. With 10 inches of shelving, in that area of the back that is normally a bane to oranization anyways, I know have something useful.

Face On, You can see just how little space this takes, and how many cans it lets you add

Face On, You can see just how little space this takes, and how many cans it lets you add

The build is really simple, I simply took some 1×1/2 slats, and cut them to fit my 70″ wall, giving a 4″ height difference at the end, what seemed like a good incline. 8″ between rows, then build the opposing wall to match. 1/4″ particle board was laid in my 8″ width. This size fits your #10 can perfectly, with 1/2″ in each side for wiggle room, and just under 2″ on top. That’s the right amount of space so if you have to reach up some, you can. It also leaves space on the end to lift your can over the ’stopper’ that you mount there with a piece of your 1×1, keeping cans from rolling off the end.

With my wall size, this will accommodate 96 cans (I could add one more row at the top, but it’s a little to tall for anybody in the family except me). That’s a lot of food I’m able to move out of my basement, under-the-stairs closet, which I can’t get to most of the time anyways. Given that this is just outside the kitchen <-> garage door, it makes it a nice accessory to the pantry. And since my garage is well insulated, and I know the temperature ranges in it, I can put in a pretty wide range of foods without them being affected adversely.

All told, the materials were $61 for this project, including the wood to frame out the front end shelves which aren’t done yet. Not a bad price for largely increased storage, with can rotation.

From there I’ve been able to build a very impressive set of heavy-duty shelves in front, that enclose the fridge (while letting it breath, don’t fully enclose it or it’ll burn out, and ruin your food!).

In another post soon, I’ll go over those shelves, as well as some of the other shelving I’ve added in odd places of my house to allow me to organize things like food storage.


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