Hand making metal industrial shelf brackets.

Hand making metal industrial shelf brackets.

There are times when you just have to know how and why things are made the way they are or how the product came about in the first place. So, I have decided to show you how I make my brackets and why they are designed the way they are!

I am not saying I have reinvented the wheel here there are plenty of people who make these things but to be frank a lot of people make them wrong! They put the piece attached to the wall up the back of the shelf instead of holding it up from underneath! This way it supports the shelf, and the bracket won’t get pulled out of the wall by its own weight. My opinion obviously, but I am right as I have made them and tested the brackets both ways!

All handcrafted bespoke furniture needs to have the strength and durability proven before people sell it. Otherwise, everyone might as well just buy mass produced products from China made by robots from cheap materials that will need replacing in a year, rather than buying tried and tested pieces hand made so you know it will last a lifetime!

Anyway, if you want to know how I do it then read on! If not, then go and see what my brackets look like and buy some if you want something handmade and strong to hold up your books or nick-knacks.

First things first, what are these industrial shelf brackets made from. Mild steel flat bar 40mm wide and 5mm thick. Its strong enough to make sure that the brackets once bent and welded will hold a lot of weight for books or anything else you want to put on shelves. I work out how wide the wood that they will be holding up is then I add 15 cm for the piece that goes down the wall and then 2 cm for the lip that curls round the front of the wooden shelving. Why? Well because I need to cut lengths for the whole bracket before anything gets bend into shape. This way I know each bracket is made from one solid piece of steel!

bracket parts cut to size

Make sure that all the places that need bending are marked using something that will stand all the manipulation that is needed to make these industrial brackets like a sharpie. Then, while still in flat form I drill the two holes for the wall fittings to go through also if the shelves will need to anchor to the metal itself then we need to drill a hole where the shelf will sit on the bracket so we can put a screw in to hold it tight.

I drill the metal at this stage so I don’t have to fight with the bent and welded metal once the bespoke shelf holders are fully manufactured, to drill the holes. Trust me, I learned all this from trial and error! I learn from all my mistakes or otherwise there isn’t any point in making mistakes!

Where all your markings are you need to cut half through the flat bar thus making it easier to bend the pieces into the right shape for the finished article. This way the metal pieces will bend easily but will still be a single piece of metal. This does two things. Firstly it keep the brackets in place for welding and even though its cut through somewhat it still means its all one piece so therefore stronger than cutting all the piece separately and welding them on. I use my trusty angle grinder, Makita made obviously using a 1mm cutting disc and cut half way through (roughly) and bend into shape. Cut all the bends at one time then bend them all together and finally weld them as a group as this way your time is not spent walking between benches and different tools!

Bending is not always easy but I'm a big lad I can make it happen!

Jim bending half cut flat bar

line them all up for welding making sure all the bends have gone far enough so each bend is 90 degrees!

Bent industrial shelf brackets waiting for weld

Once they are all checked for the right cuts and bends weld them up. I use a MiG 180 from R Tech for all my MiG work. I like them so much as a welding rig I bought two!

Weld up every bend to add to the metals natural strength to give you a solid MiG weld joint where its really needed to keep them as strong as possible to hold up those Handmade rustic wooden shelves.

welded up metal shelf brackets

Once all the welding is done then we have one more thing to do. Double check all the angles are right so they sit on those walls perfectly and then dress them all with a sander to make sure all sharp edges are taken care of and any over weald is smoothed out!

this batch of industrial shelf brackets are done!

Once these are made I either paint them or don't it all depends on what the customer desires! They are very simple and when made right and with dedication to craft everyone is happy! (I hope!)

I think they look great on walls in man caves kitchens or kids rooms!

These are in the living room at my house because if I don't believe enough in my own products to use them every day how can I expect you to love them to?

Comment below if you want me to do more blogs about how i make things or to tell me your thoughts on what I do.

Buy your shelves and brackets now!

2 comments

  • Hi Jim. Although I haven’t purchased from you yet. I watch your work closely and think it’s great. Keep the blogs going. It keeps it real and is good to share: v

    Vickie
  • I really like your blogs – almost as much as I like your shelves!
    I was never sure whether they were just bent or cut right through and welded from separate pieces so it was interesting to see it’s actually somewhere between the two!
    Favourite sentence was:
    “I learn from all my mistakes or otherwise there isn’t any point in making mistakes!”
    :-)
    Made me laugh – but ultimately so true! We learn so much more from failure than from success!
    Keep up the good work – in both what you do and how you tell us about it.
    I’m off to buy some more books so I can order more shelves…

    Lee

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