Replacement shelves to interface with old moldings
December 30, 2009 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Shelving question: In some of my closets, there are moldings on the wall that shelves seem to have been meant to rest on. The original shelves are gone in some cases and cheap planks of wood have been attached to the wall or are resting on the moldings. I'd like to install Elfa or some similar track-based shelving, but the moldings are in the way. I wonder if there is any shelving designed to work with these moldings; my Google-fu has failed me. Is anyone familiar with this style of shelving and able to direct me to a resource for replacement shelves? This photo has an example of some of the replacement shelves the prior owner installed: Photo

FYI, my house was built in 1916, and the shelving framework likely dates back pretty far. I'm in Cambridge, MA. Thanks for your help.
posted by scottso17 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Best answer: You're overthinking this. You can either remove the moldings and use whatever manufactured system you like, or simply make new shelves from plywood or lumber.
posted by jon1270 at 11:43 AM on December 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Why can't you pull down the existing molding?
posted by anti social order at 11:43 AM on December 30, 2009

Jon1270 wrote what I was going to write. The moldings in your photo are just cheap leftover pieces of wood repurposed to hold up shelves. Tear them out and replace with the track system, or cut some plywood to size and reuse the existing moldings.
posted by Forktine at 11:45 AM on December 30, 2009

Best answer: Go to your local hardware store, get a pry bar. Take your hammer and lightly tap pry bar under the molding. Pry. Look for where the molding is nailed to the wall and pry in that location but it's not necessary - especially if you don't plan on salvaging the molding.
posted by amanda at 11:46 AM on December 30, 2009

Response by poster: So, demolition it is! :) One concern I have: There are some copper pipes bracketed to the moldings (just out of sight of the camera), and they are in the way of removing one of the moldings. Once pried from the rest of the wall, can I wiggle the molding away are re-bracket those pipes onto the wall? Or maybe hack off the molding, leaving the part that the pipes are attached to? Thanks for helping me out!
posted by scottso17 at 11:49 AM on December 30, 2009

What type of bracket? Why can’t you unscrew the bracket first, and then remove the molding – putting as little stress on the pipes as possible?
posted by Think_Long at 11:53 AM on December 30, 2009

Response by poster: They are pretty simple brackets - just pieces of metal to fasten the pipes to the moldings. If I remove the moldings, there will be gaps between the pipes and the wall.
posted by scottso17 at 11:56 AM on December 30, 2009

Cut off a small piece of molding to use behind the brackets, or use some other scrap wood. Fastening the brackets to the wall might require flexing the pipe more than you should.
posted by bondcliff at 12:06 PM on December 30, 2009

Best answer: It may be that the pipes were flexed to get them to go past the molding. After you slip the molding out see how far out they want to be and act accordingly.

Here's another bit of advice - get a piece of scrap plywood - maybe a foot square or so - and use that to back up your prybar. It will protect the plaster.

Trying to pry over the wall studs is preferable, and you'll need to find them when you hang your shelving, so a stud finder may come in handy. Or just find the places on the wall where a rare earth magnet will stick to your plaster - that will be the nails holding the lath to the studs.

You're probably going to want to sand and paint the area where the molding currently is when you're all done.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:17 PM on December 30, 2009

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