Building a can rack for your pantry

My pantry is not really large but it is deep.  The problem with that is that things get lost back in the depths of darkness.  Cans are especially hard to go through because you can’t see them all without having to dig out the ones in front.  After years of putting up with it and now that I am cooking more, I think it is time I did something about it.

I would rate this project a medium-easy.  You only need two six foot long 1 x 4 boards, a table saw, a chop saw, hammer, chisel, glue, stain and polyurethane.

BeforeHere is a picture of my pantry before I started.

All that space on the door is completely wasted.

When you close the door, there is plenty of space between the door and the shelves.

All I will need is about 3 1/s inches.

You can see how difficult it is to find cans here.



SidesThe first step was to figure out how tall I want the rack to be.

The boards come in six foot lengths and it turns out three feet is perfect for the top part of the door.  You can make it much longer if you wish.  I plan on doing a top rack and maybe later a bottom rack with larger shelves if the first part works out like I expect it to.

Cut them to length using a chop saw.


ShelvesUsing a can to experiment with, I decided six inches between shelves should be enough space to add or remove cans after a retaining rail is added.

Spacing is totally up to you.

I determined that a total width of 15 inches would fit nicely on the door and hold four cans across each shelf. I cut four shelves out of the same 1×4 boards so that the total width including the sides will be 15 inches.  As long as they are all the same size, any width will do.


NotchesUsing my table saw, I created 5 grooves the same width as my boards.

This groove will give the glue more surface area to work on and provide a more stable overall unit.

If you don’t have a dado blade, just make multiple cuts with the regular blade and clean out the notch.

Try to get a tight fit with the shelf boards.  Sand lightly to remove burrs.


RailNow we need some retaining rails to keep the cans on the shelf when you open the door.  Don’t want them flying off and landing on your toe.

I cut five 1/4 inch slices off a single length of the same stock.

Each slice will be a retaining rail.

Sand the edges lightly to remove burrs.



Rail Notch closeupThis is possibly the most difficult and time consuming step.  Using the newly cut rails, measure up and inch from the shelf slot and make a notch to accept the rail.

To make it easier, you can use the table saw to make another notch like you did for the shelves.  I didn’t want the rail to go all the way through so I thought I would try it this way.  It’s up to you.

Use a hammer and a sharp chisel to notch it out for a tight fit.


Dry FitDry fit all the pieces together to see if they match up.

If it is off a little, try to nip and tuck here and there.

Notice I did not make a top for this rack.  This way you can store taller items up there.

You might want to move the retaining rail up a little higher on the top.

I didn’t think of that until just now.

Oh well.  I don’t have any tall stuff right now anyway.


Glue Rails.

Here you can see how the retaining rail fits.

It is OK if it is just a little above the level of the sides.

When you sand it off these things will smooth out to make a nice flush fit.



GlueWhen you are satisfied with the dry fit, glue it all together.

I am lucky to have some nice cabinet clamps that belonged to my father.  I enjoy using his old tools.  They are some of the few things I have to remember him by.

If you don’t have clamps, you can use small nails to hold the unit together while the glue dries.

Using a framing square, check to make sure the whole rack is perfectly straight.  Don’t sweat if you don’t have a framing square.  Measure the two diagonal lengths.  If they are the same, then it is perfect.  Allow it to dry for 24 hours.


SandedNext, you can use a belt sander to quickly even out the joints then a hand and finish sander to smooth it over.

Next give it a coat of stain.  My favorite is Early American by Minwax.  Paint the stain on the wipe off the excess.  Repeat if you want it a little darker.  Choose any color to match your decor.

Once the stain is dry, give it a coat or two of polyurethane for a nice finish.


finishedHere is the finished rack.

I used angle brackets to attach the rack to the door.  Two at the top allowing it to hang from the top of the door and two at the bottom to keep it from banging against the door.

I am quite satisfied with the result.  Maybe not professional quality but it only cost me about $5.00 in wood and gave me many hours of rewarding labor.

I love building things.  I wonder if there is a way to make money doing something you love.


Memory – The Forklift

frklftIt was sometime in the late 1980s.  I was working at an office supply store and needed to get something from a top shelf in the store room.

There was a forklift and nobody else around.  I had used the forklift before a couple of times so thought nothing of it.  I maneuvered over to the rack and gently lifted the palate off the top shelf.  I backed up with the lift still way up in the air and suddenly there was a massive boom right above me.

I had knocked a huge air conditioner duct loose from the roof and it fell right on top of the cage of the forklift.  There is obviously a good reason that forklifts have such a cage.  I would have been killed if it had not been there.  That was the last time I ever drove a forklift.

There is also a good reason many places require training before you are allowed to use a forklift.  Of course this was the 80s and nobody cared about safety back then.  That was a 90s thing.



Retired man laundry

lndryAs a temporarily retired man, I’ve noticed my laundry load is much smaller.  Instead of a bunch of work shirts and socks hanging on my line every Saturday I am down to just underwear, a few towels, a t-shirt and a few shorts and tank tops.

Since I don’t wear clothes at home there is much less to wash.  If it wasn’t for my daily walks in which my underwear gets all sweaty I could probably get away with doing a small load every two weeks.

I seldom use my gas dryer except in extreme wintery weather which seldom occurs. I use it maybe twice a year.  I prefer to take a little time to hang my clothes out to dry in the sun.  Solar power at work!  Plenty of that in San Antonio.



Memory – My first and last date

Here’s a forgotten memory that just turned up.  Perhaps it was repressed.

It was somewhere around 10 years ago.  I was eating lunch in a Chinese restaurant near work.  I was dining alone and there was an older woman sitting alone at another table.

She started talking to me.  I don’t remember what was said. She must have liked me or something because she invited me to go out to dinner with her family, more specifically, her daughter.  I don’t recall the details but I met them for dinner and then we went to see a movie.  I seriously don’t remember anything about the family or their daughter.

Shortly thereafter, for standard reasons, I fell into a seriously deeeeeep depression.  I did not accept calls from anyone including the lady who tried to contact me a number of times.  It was a very bad time in my life and I could have died.  Eventually she gave up.

I forgot about the whole issue.  Looking back upon it, I was a total idiot to blow off the opportunity.  Such a chance in life doesn’t strike twice.  It is obviously not good to dwell on lost chances.  It’s like seeing that your numbers won the lottery but you didn’t buy a ticket.  Still.  It happened.  It wasn’t a dream. How insane is that?

I can only dream that it would ever happen again.

Getting some exercise

wlkngI’ve been doing a pretty good job of sticking to a mostly daily routine of starting out each morning with a little exercise.  The first thing I do after getting up and dressed is to do a little of the Royal Canadian Air Force exercises and then walking around the block.  Each day I try to do a little more.  Maybe one day I’ll work up to jogging or running.  It depends on how long my retirement lasts.

I’m not sure how long my walk is.  My piece of the neighborhood is about four streets running parallel to each other.  I walk up and down each one once.  I wonder if there is a pedometer app for the iPhone so I can measure it.  There hast to be an app for that.  If not, I’ll have to drive it in the car and see what the odometer reads.

Even though it is usually around 8-8;30 in the morning, it is usually cool enough but very humid.  I come back sweating and immediately tear off all my clothes and jump in the pool to cool off.

Contrary to my expectation, it is a good way to get your ass moving for the day.  After the exercise and cool down I feel like doing something rather than plunking down on the couch in front of the TV.  I’ve heard of this before but did not believe the illogical hogwash.  I also feel a little better mentally.  Maybe I’m on to something.


Life is too long

According to my calculations, I am 46 years old.  2014 – 1968 = 46

It has been a long and pointless journey and have have possibly another 30-40 years to suffer through.  I don’t like what I see ahead of me and I don’t see any way I can do anything about it.  I have spent so many years racking my brain to make sense of it all and to find a way to change things but come up empty every time.  Every attempt that I make turns into a regret.

The only answer I see is highly improbable.  That would be for some girl to come into my life and make it all worthwhile.  Unless she has x-ray vision and can see me through the walls of my house then I don’t see how that can happen.

I realize that the traditional way is to go get the girl but I can’t see that happening.  I don’t have it it me to come of of my tiny comfort zone and put forth the monumental effort it would take.  It is just unimaginable.  Inconceivable!  Infinitely impossible!

If there was any chance it would have to be someone I know who would care enough to set me up with someone they thing would be right for me.  The people I know are oblivious.  I guess I could ask around.  I am close to considering that option but then I would probably be unable to do it.

So back at the beginning like all vicious cycles I go round and round.  I am getting dizzy.  I think I might fall down.


Quick movie review – We’re the Millers

wethmlrsWe’re the Millers was not exactly what I expected.  It was actually better.

A small-time drug dealer gets robbed and the boss sends him to Mexico to pick up a shipment and smuggle it across the border to make up for his debt.

He decides that a good cover would be to acts as a family on vacation in their RV.  He puts together a family composed of a neighbor, a stripper and a homeless girl.

I actually enjoyed the movie.  It is actually something that I would like to do.  Not the drug smuggling part, though I could use half a million.  But the pretend family.  I can never have a real family but if I could just have a pretend one for just a little while it would be a wonderful experience.

A good movie for lonely guys.