Recommendation for shelf bracket

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by MasonJar, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I'd like to mount my modules on the wall when they are not at the club. I want to have them up and over any desks, work tables, etc, so I have selected a height somewhere about 54" or so (the club works with a 45" height for operating).

    So - - any recommendations for a bracket suitable for holding ~30+ pounds of module that is 24" deep? Cheaper is better, so if you have plans, they are welcome too!

  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You didn't say what the length of the module is. Assuming the 30# is spread over at least 48 inches (24 inches deep), one of the track-mount shelving systems would probably be the easiest. Double slot track and brackets is the sturdiest - a 16 inch bracket should do fine, assuming a rigid support point on the bottom of your module. Ideal spacing for the track and brackets would be 16 inches on center, but more important than the spcing is making sure the slotted track is mounted to the studs in your walls, and not just the wall board. Fastening that amount of weight to just the wall board is inviting trouble - as in module crashing to floor when fastners pull out or wall board breaks. Use a stud finder to map out the studs behind the wall board before you start drilling. They should be spaced every 16 inches or 24 inches, except near the corners, doors, or windows where anything goes.

    Hope this helps.
  3. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    What he said... :thumb:
  4. zedob

    zedob Member

    Ditto on the double slot rails. I tested mine by putting most of my weight on them. I also used 3" sheetrock screws into the studs. Very stable.

    There is one peeve. The brackets do not lock in at 90 degrees to the rail (YMMV). I just screwed 1 x 2's to the brackets and used shims to adjust the 1 x 2's.
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks guys.

    Yes, the modules are 2x4 feet.

    I have considered the track mounted brackets. Two things I do not like are 1) cost ;) , and 2) having to attach the entire track for just one bracket. I suppose I could cut it into short sections, but would this still provide proper weight distribution?

  6. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    Home Depot carries a brand that has 12" double slot wall standards/tracks. I used these to support my entire shelf layout. Mine are spaced every 16", since there is not a separate frame on my foam shelf layout design. If you have a full frame under your modules, you do not need to space them that closely. Here's an early construction shot showing the 12" wall standards and brackets:


  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Eric -

    Very cool. A picture is worth a thousand words! I will check Home Depot for those.

    My modules are 2x4 with a full frame, so I think I may ge away with one bracket in the middle and one at the end, supporting the joint between two modules.

  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    For the long term health of your module and wall, please screw the standards to the wall studs - do not use the plastic expanding sockets in the wall board. As weight is put on the edge of the frame furthest from the wall, you have a 2 ft cantilever lever arm against the standard mounting point. Wall (gypsum) board that is not backed by wood at the mount point cannot sustain repeated loads like this without breaking down. If the plastic plug doesn't pull out eventually, the wall board will crack - more likely the further your mount point is away from a stud.

    If you mount to studs only, your standard (track) spacing is going to be driven by the stud spacing - usually 16 or 24 inches, depending on construction practices and codes in your area when your house was built. 16 inch spacing is more common than 24 inch. The biggest problem is that stud spacing is often less than standard next to windows, doorways, and corners, making the look of the installation awkward.

    I have heard several reports that the tips of the brackets did not line up in such a system. It may be the fit of the particular bracket in the track, or it may be your wall is uneven and the standards are not all in the same vertical plane. In either case, the wider the bracket, the more noticeable any variation will be. It might be worth carefully checking your wall with a level, and shimming (I use cedar tapered shingles cut to width with knife) before screwing the standards down tight. Differences in bracket tip height from bracket fit in track can be adjusted with some careful filing of the bracket.

    Fred Wright
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks for the tips! Luckily, the walls where I plan to put the brackets are unencumbered by windows or doors, so I am hoping that the standard 16" spacing will apply...

  10. pomperaugrr

    pomperaugrr Member

    You absolutely want to mount the wall standards into the studs. That is what dictated the 16" spacing on mine. The brackets are designed to tilt a shelf back toward the wall, ever so slightly. I picked up a bundle of second quality cedar shingles at the local lumberyard. The taper on these is perfect to counter the tilt of the brackets. The foam benchwork came out nice and level. This should work for your modules as well. I would also recommend not using drywall screws to mount these. They have very low shear strength. I used 3" deck screws and these things will not be going anywhere.

  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Lee Valley offer a lumber storage system that might fit your situation. The 18" bracket will support 300lbs. at its tip, or 600lbs. distributed along its length. They look like you could safely park a '49 Buick Roadmaster on them. They are, however, a bit pricey. They show a number of different systems at various prices on pages 124 and 125 of their printed catalogue or you can check out their web site at They have a store in Ottawa at 900 Morrison Drive, 'phone (613) 596-9202.

  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Thanks... It is Lee Valley's pricing that started my search for something a bit more affordable. Great store, and great stuff, but some of it is a bit much... ;) :D

    At this point in time, I am thinking that I will make my own brackets from ripped 3/4" paint-grade ply, and shim them level as per Eric and Fred's advice above.

  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    It occurs to me that if you start with the metal shelf brackets in Eric's picture, and then cut out plywood brackets that could be screwed to the metal shelf brackets, you would not need to shim anything. If you mounted the metal shelf bracket, seated it "home," and then used a level and clamps to level up the plywood bracket as you drill and mount it to the metal bracket.
  14. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    I use plywood brackets as you suggested, but it is much easier to mount the plywood brackets to the flat metal single slot brackets than the u-shaped double slot brackets that seem to dominate the market today. In my method (originated by John Lutz in 1977 Jan and Feb Model Railroader), the metal shelf brackets both hang the layout and reinforce the plywood. The main drawback to single slot brackets (besides availability being less these days) is the naturally-occurring much greater slop in the horizontal direction. That gets taken care of in the Lutz bookshelf system by the backdrop material and the bookshelf above the layout, assuming all are tied together with screws and/or glue.

    Otherwise, if the shelf if just sitting on the single-slot brackets (unfastened), they have a nasty tendency to flex in the horizontal direction, causing the whole shelf to tumble, especially when heavily loaded. You don't want to know how I know this (or how many tumbles it took dense ol' me to learn)!
  15. DixonRobertson

    DixonRobertson New Member

    I ended up with 2" foam over home-made webbed girders, but here is another option I considered (from Model Railroader magazine).

    Attached Files:

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