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Assemble a Shelf Without Hardware

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Easy-to-assemble shelving units that do not require hardware are convenient, free-standing structures that come in interlocking shelf frame segments and posts and can be put together or disassembled with just a mallet. These shelving systems come with metal framework and wood shelves, can be purchased from home improvement suppliers and can be used in a wide variety of contexts, including utility rooms, workshops and commercial kitchens.


Start with the bottom shelf. Connect shelving frame sections (front, back and sides) into the lowest brackets on the four corner shelving posts. Shelving posts have keyhole bracket holes and the frame sections have tabs that slide into these bracket holes. The shelving frame sections are L-shaped, with protruding lips for supporting the shelves. These sections fit onto the inside of the posts. Make sure the supporting lip is on the bottom and facing inward, to create an overall ledge for placing the shelves.

Tap the top edge of the bottom shelving frame sections with a rubber headed mallet to firmly secure them into the post brackets. Using a rubber headed mallet rather than a hammer will ensure that the metal does not get scratched, dented or bent.

Attach the top shelf next. Connect shelving frame sections into the highest brackets on the shelving posts. Starting with the bottom and top shelves will create a stable unit for attaching the middle shelves.

Tap the top edge of the top shelving frame sections to firmly secure them into the post brackets.

Add the middle shelves in the same manner. These shelving units have posts with a series of brackets that allow you to choose your own shelf spacing.

Fit the wooden shelves into the shelving frames.

Place a rug or rubber mat underneath the shelves if you are putting them in a location where the floor cannot be damaged. The bottom of the metal posts on these shelving units can scratch or gouge wood, tile or linoleum. For concrete or industrial floors where the appearance of the floor or integrity of the flooring material is not of concern, protection is not necessary.