Storage shelf mitosis

Mucking About With Things The Diary of Lupin Pooter TØØLS
Measuring the length of the shelf upright before cutting.
Measuring the shelf upright, trying to figure out the best location for my hacksaw cut.

Storage, storage, storage. Utterly tedious, once you’ve made your plan and purchased the storage hardware, and yet at the same time so necessary.

Recently, I erected some shelving in our storage room (which was actually intended as the bedroom for a domestic helper), as much as I could shoehorn into the space. Each shelf units consists of two uprights (which have horizontal and diagonal braces in a barred-Z-shaped arrangement) and four shelves (“layers” in translated-to-English Chinese). A layer is made up of two crosspieces with protruding tabs that wedge into divots in the uprights and the shelf itself, which rests on ledges that extend into the center of the shelf.

Some pics from a Tmall seller showing a similar (but taller, hence having more braces) shelving unit and how the crosspieces latch onto the uprights.
Some pics from a Tmall seller showing a similar shelving unit and how the crosspieces latch onto the uprights.

The uprights are designed to accept crosspieces on either or both sides, so you can daisy-chain n shelving units together with 2 + n uprights, which leaves you with at least one leftover upright. There were some shelf components (pairs of crosspieces and the rectangular shelves themselves) remaining as well, so I decided to try splitting the upright and turning it into an approximately half-as-tall shelving unit.

After the cutting came the filing.

The middle horizontal brace was positioned halfway down the upright and, since I wasn’t going to try to slice straight through it longways, that ensured that one of the “daughter” uprights would be shorter than the other and I’d have to bolt a length of angle iron onto it to discourage any flexing at the cut end. The actual division of one upright into two was accomplished using a hacksaw fitted with a carbide-grit blade (this one, I think).

Cutting the thin steel was quick, but left sharp edges. At that stage of the project, a bench grinder or an angle grinder might’ve come in quite handy. Alas, I as-yet have neither, so manual filing (with ballpoint-pen-refill-sized needle files) was the (time-consuming) route taken.

Ferrous splinter cleanup helper magnet.
In addition to metal confetti, the magnet-in-wet-paper-towel trick picked up a few hairs of the feline variety.

The half-shelf has since been assembled and reinforced. The reinforcing part consisted of attaching a few cut lengths of angle iron and drilling a handful of holes in the shelf half-uprights. Try as I might to catch or channel the metal confetti produced in this step, it got around. The subsequent cleanup was eased somewhat by repeatedly running a strong fridge magnet wrapped in a wet paper towel (shown above) over the floor in the vicinity of the shelf.