Does anyone sell spring-loaded shelves?
December 5, 2008 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Does this exist? A shelf that is mounted via pressure.

I have a weird alcovy space in my kitchen that would be perfect for a much-needed shelf. I'd rather not have to do any drilling or whatever, and wondered if there was some sort of shelf-equivalent to those curtain rods that stay up through pressure from a spring inside.
I suppose I could buy a bunch of those, stick them up and lay a board across them, but that might be a little wobbly. It seems like an obvious product, except I can't seem to locate one. Can you help?
posted by CunningLinguist to Grab Bag (18 answers total)
This only works with shower curtain rods because shower curtains are light and harmless when they fall. A shelf mounted this way seems like too much of a liability to actually exist.

What's so bad about driling? Are the walls brick or tile, or something else that's difficult to repair?
posted by jon1270 at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2008

You could get a board that's about .25 to .5 inches to wide for the space. Slide the board in diagonally and then rotate it to the horizontal position. You'll probably need to use some significant force to get it in there.

Essentially you'd be wedging a too-wide board into the space.
I've done this before; It should work pretty well.

(Warning: I am not a carpenter. Proceed with caution. If your wall is made out of some soft material I could see this technique causing serious damage.)
posted by oddman at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2008

How wide is it? In high school I had locker shelves like this. The Container Store might be able to (expensively) help.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:13 AM on December 5, 2008

You could try using some of these on the bottom of any old shelf
posted by zeoslap at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2008

I can't imagine any use for a kitchen shelf (dishes, canned foods, appliances, pots and pans) that wouldn't involve more weight than a pressure-mounted shelf could safely bear. To put up a shelf in a simple, nondestructive way I'd recommend getting some strips of 3/4" wood and using lots of skinny finishing nails to mount them on the 2 sides and back of the alcove such that your shelf can rest on top of them. Depending on the width of the space you might want to put some screws or nails down through the top of the shelf and into the supporting strips on the sides so that shelf doesn't fall down when it bows due to the weight it's supporting.

When you remove the shelf and strips, the finishing nail holes will be unobtrusive, barely bigger than thumbtack holes.
posted by contraption at 10:42 AM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you want one shelf hanging in the space, I've got nothing.

If this is like a closet sort of space, and you want floor-standing shelves to fill it, you could do something like these shelves.
posted by chazlarson at 10:44 AM on December 5, 2008

Best answer: Instead of spring-loaded shower curtain rods, use the twist-to-extend rods that you put in doorways for doing pull-ups on. Those can most certainly hold weight. (I think Ikea actually sells shelves that work that way, too.)

Or hang shelves from the top of the nook (planter fashion) with piano wire, fine chain or good cord.

Or.... post a picture of this space for better ideas. :)
posted by rokusan at 10:51 AM on December 5, 2008

You can put a board vertically against each wall, with one end on the floor, and cut off at the same heights. Then put the shelf on top.
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on December 5, 2008

What about a "tension shelf" like an etagere? You might be able to get an assemble yourself one that you can build and omit the other shelves, if you really just want one shelf.

I'm picturing the ones that go over the toilet and stay up from tension on the floor and ceiling.
posted by soelo at 11:04 AM on December 5, 2008

Some serious epoxy glue and plywood would probably work too.
posted by 517 at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2008

Ikea's Broder shelving does this.
posted by misterbrandt at 12:19 PM on December 5, 2008

(On re-read, that system doesn't work as you describe, but achieves a similar end result)
posted by misterbrandt at 12:21 PM on December 5, 2008

I haven't seen a commercial product like this but it would be a simple matter to fix something up out of a shelf of some sort and a pair of spreader clamps. Bessy clamps are a good brand. You might end up needing to cut the bar to length.
posted by Mitheral at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2008

I'm thinking turnbuckles.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:19 PM on December 5, 2008

I'm going to go back to what Jon said. What's so bad about drilling?

I say this because I'd be real worried about most of the clamping options suggested punching a largish hole right through your plaster.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:49 PM on December 5, 2008

I can think of a number of ways to do this semi-satisfactorily, but I would always consider them a kludge -- and a future collapse risk if someone unknowingly overloads it.

There are a wide variety of ways you could support a shelf with minimal drilling, but I really don't see why drilling is an obstacle for you, unless it's concrete or something. The right way to do this is to support it for the weight load that it is likely to bear. Use the right fasteners and avoid a disaster (I'm thinking jar of pickles all over the floor, etc.). One of the simplest and oldest ways to do this is to install a piece of support trim on which to rest the shelf. Use appropriate fasteners from your hardware store based on the type of wall you're working with. You can do things like countersink the screws so they are less visible, even though the trim will be underneath the shelf. And it will last decades.

Basically, if it's a weird alcovy space, it's probably a perfect place for a properly and permanently built-in shelf or shelf set. So do it right and make it last, I say.
posted by dhartung at 1:01 AM on December 6, 2008

Essentially you'd be wedging a too-wide board into the space.

If you do this, maybe put something on either side for extra friction. Rubber feet? Sandpaper strips?

Perhaps you could drill and tap holes in the ends of a wood shelf (not recommended for fiberboard), put a rubber stopper or cork at the end of a screw or threaded rod in the holes, position the shelf and turn the screws from the side until they hold it in place? Three on either side would be enough to hold a fair amount of stuff, as long as the material is thick/strong enough and the screws extend into it far enough. YMMV, use your best judgement, etc., (NOTE: This approach is of course is assuming the material on either side of the shelf is something stronger than plaster. Like brick, or concrete, or wood cabinetry.)

Still recommend you just put up a piece of trim to support it. It's soooo eeeeasy...even just get a metal shelf and the nail-in drywall supports. I bought a wire shelf for a utility room and it holds 20 lbs and took five minutes to install and cost all of $5 including the shelf, supports and all the hardware.
posted by ostranenie at 1:08 PM on December 6, 2008

Response by poster: I guess my answer is no. Bummer.
Thanks anyway.

The chinup bar is the closest, but just not wide enough.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:01 PM on December 7, 2008

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