The starting of new shelves for the Kitchen Pantry

We recently moved the Fridge from where it was when we bought the house. This left a wonderful area for a pantry.

A friend picked up a bunch of scrap wood from freecycle, and dropped it off in my garage knowing I am always looking for good junk. Part of my new found lumber loot, is a bunch of tongue and groove car siding. I decided to use this to make the pantry shelves.

I did up a plan in Sketchup and showed the wife as she sometimes doesn’t understand my vague handwavings and usage of generic terms.

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Everything so far is being cut on my table saw. It’s really a pain in the neck too, as my garage is so full of junk that I don’t have the proper space I need. I have other saws, a jigsaw, a circular saw, but I can’t cut a straight line with them like I can on the table saw. There’s a radial arm saw in a shed at my folks for me, I just gotta go up and get it.

I started with uprights so I have a good, strong support for my shelves. The shelves across the back will be 2 pieces deep, and I will have a 1 piece deep shelf on the left side eventually. That explains the funky wooden corner. I can run shelves both ways. I pinned the uprights to the walls with some finish nails, but those are just to keep everything from sliding around, the shelves wedged in is what will really hold everything together.

The start of the shelves in the pantry.

The shelves will have a raised nosing for added strength and so stuff doesn’t want to fall off. Not much of a nosing, maybe an eighth of an inch or so. I cut the outside of the uprights at a 45, so the nosing will be cut to match. It will be quite a pain in the butt to finish out the shelves, but I think it will be worth it in the end. The side shelves will also be cut with a tongue on the one end to interface with the back shelves. Not easy to describe, but when I get it done at some future date, a photo will clear up what I mean.

The shelf bracket is cut to match the 45 of the upright as it's taller then the shelf nosing will be.

The back of the back shelves will need to be cut on the left corner so they slide all the way back to the wall. Another pain to cut – probably will happen with both the table saw and a jig saw.

The roughed in shelf. It still needs to be cut in the back left and nosed.

I’ve got the back shelves up, and put a bunch of stuff on them just to get a feel for it. They are all going to come down and get re-hung at a different height once I figure out what exactly goes where. It’s a matter of re-arranging the rest of the kitchen around the holes we opened up and deciding what’s really going to go into the pantry. Items will be measured, remeasured, and then heights padded because somebody is going to make that ONE box that’s an inch taller than all the rest.

Stuff on my shelves! I doubt the kitchen appliances will stay  there.

All in all, I am quite pleased with the progress so far. I’ve scrapped a few big ideas I had, and am tweaking others to make the space work.

I am quite pleased with how well the car siding fits in with our cabinets.

I am trying to decide if I want to leave the pantry open or close it. If I closed it up, I would probably use a bi-fold door that opens to the left. I potentially have 5 cabinet doors that I can free up and use as the face of the bi-fold, but they are of 2 different sizes, so I don’t think that will work very well.

Canned Goods storage

Just an idea for storing canned goods. I see that rack like they use for the Cambells Soup Selects at my local grocery store, and I want something like that for my kitchen.

The basic idea is that the cans sit stacked up in a rack on their side, and you can put the new cans on top, and you take the oldest can out of the bottom. Just like those fridge soda can despensers.

I know I use a lot of canned corn, tomato soup, and canned fruits, but I think that can of cream of celery soup is about to expire. I would need to make a high and low volume set of can holders.

There would be ‘normal’ shelves on the bottom couple of feet for larger canned items like that massive can of baked beans, and the family sized can of cream of mushroom soup. There would be shelf or two up on top for those odd cans like that can of coconut milk – I don’t know why I have it, but it’s good until 2010 so I am keeping it.

The whole thing would be on a tall, narrow drawer that pulls out. I would probably place it next to the fridge, and have it be as deep as the fridge. The cubby that the fridge is in would need to be vented outside – it should be anyhow during the summer, and optionally have it vent into the kitchen during the winter. But that is a different topic for a different day. Heat will damage the food, while canned foods won’t spoil, they will go bad – taste funny, be less nutritious etc. This cabinet will have a couple of computer case fans to pull air in off the floor, and vent it out the top. This should keep the canned goods fairly cool – room temperature at least. Maybe put a thermostat on it so if the temp inside the cabinet is warmer then the intake temp, it will run the fans. I may be cooking and warm the kitchen up enough that it is cooler in the cabinet then in the kitchen. Hmm, I could even run the cold water pipes for the kitchen sink up and down radiator style in the back of the cabinet to keep it cooler. Interesting idea.

Ideally, I would like to cool the whole thing down to like 50 degrees. I wonder if I can canabolize a small fridge and make a cooled pantry. I could hook the thing up on a solar panel on the roof, and when I have sun, it cools, and when I don’t, it doesn’t. It’s not like the cans NEED to be cooled, they will just last a lot longer if they are cool. I read somewhere that food will store twice as long for every 10 degrees cooler it is kept at (or the converse, it will spoil twice as fast for every 10 degrees warmer it is stored at). So bringing the temp from 70 to 50 would quadruple the shelf life of my canned goods.

I am also trying to figure out how do make a can counter so I can tell how many cans of food in a particular slot I have. It would be great to have digital access to this counter so that I can have my pantry make a shopping list for me. It would be internet enabled so I could pull up a list of what i have with my phone, or SMS the pantry asking it what I need to get. A cheap sensor to count cans as I would need dozens of them. Mecanical switches would get very expensive, and be difficult to place to relaibly read any diameter can I put into each rack. Optical switches would probably work. A preasure switch on the face of each slot could measure the weight of all the cans pressing against it. Maybe make a series of metal contacts each hooked up to a resister. I could then read the resistance from one side to the other with a simple R/C timer circut. As more cans are added, the resistance will drop (parallel resistances). I could then have the computer poll each slot, read the resistance, and calculate the number of cans in each slot.

Kitty take bath

No photos tonight, just a funny story.
The kittens loved sleeping up in the passthru, right? Well, they haven’t been up there in a couple of weeks that I have seen. I moved the boxes that they used to get up there. I figured it was safe to put the tank up there.


Katie was making dinner tonight, and I was in the kitchen, slowing her down. The Kitchen door was closed with the cats in the living room. We heard a SPLOOSH! Turn around, and Brother (my male kitten) is in the kitchen, along with about half an inch of water from the microtank. Well, this seemed an opportune time to give Brother a bath. In he went. It took about 3 seconds of doing the backfloat before he realized it was wet. He laced me pretty good! Down my wrist and across my palm.

He is so nice and soft and silky now.

Second load moving into my new place.

Katie and I dropped off my second load of stuff today. This was the truckload that Bill was so kind enough to let me store in his garage for a year and a half. The only thing broken out of all the glass was a chipped mug that could have come from the store that way.
I haven’t decided how to do the living room but I have awesome ideas for the kitchen. Matt and Jessica left a rolling dishwasher for me, so I have a dishwasher now. It isn’t built in so I am going to make a small cutting boad surfaced island to put against one wall to wheel it into. I will get another folding barstool and I can use it as a breakfast table too. I am going to make it nice and tall so it will be a great prep area for me.
The coolest idea is for the computer in the kitchen. I will put each of my 19 inch monitors into the two corners of the kitchen on those wall TV shelves even with the top of the cabinets. They will both show the same screen, and each end of the kitchen will have a wireless keyboard and mouse in a tray under the cabinets. I will use my current Media Center PC so I can watch the food network or have a recepe on the screen. I am thinking it will be cool.
I am also going to build a storage shelf that is strong enough to put the fridge and a chest freezer ontop of so I don’t need to squat down to look into the fridge.

I am going to make another trip this weekend for my junk. I will be moving my fish tanks. That will be a chore. I am thinking all the fish will end up in the planted tank for the time being. I want to put the tv tank into my entertinment center. I think I want a stand for my planted tank and put that between the doors to the bedroom and bathroom. I may break down and buy that instead of building it.g it.