View Full Version : Furniture storage shelving? (from ListServe)

Paul Brewin
06-06-2010, 12:21 PM
We are researching industrial shelving for the storage of furniture pieces in our collection. We are hoping to design a two-tier system with the lower shelf near the floor to accommodate medium-scale case pieces, such as desks, and the upper level reserved for smaller items such as chairs and side tables. Most commonly available systems, it seems, are designed for warehouse applications where a pallet would be used on the floor (a la Home Depot) rather than placing a shelf close to floor level and most are intended to store goods that are somehow packaged. Another problem is the choice of available decking. We'd rather it be smooth and flat and able to bear the combined weight of two preparators and a chest of drawers without excessive deflection. We have adapted existing shelving in our main vault by overlaying corrugated steel decking with sealed " MDO, but this is less than ideal. The proposed location for this new shelving is in the middle of another existing storage vault to allow access from all sides, so the units need to be free-standing.

I fear we may be on the wrong track in trying to come up with a solution to our storage needs. Advice is requested and appreciated.

Thanks in advance, -TK

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Paul Brewin
06-06-2010, 12:22 PM

Industrial pallet racks may still be your best solution. Having custom storage made can be very costly, and take a lot of time. Industrial pallet racks like the ones used in Home Depot, are easily available, can be purchased used at greatly reduced cost, and are probably available locally, reducing shipping and installation costs. I have been researching alternative storage solutions for the past year and found that pallet racks were my best solution considering the space I was working with. An alternative to MDO decking is mess decks. Our Conservation Department has firmly put their foot down on using MDO, plywood, or any other wooden product as decking. As a matter of fact, we are searching for alternatives for wood, not just in storage furniture, but also in the manufacturing of crates. The mesh decks can hold considerable amounts of weight and allow air flow through the storage furniture. Placing furniture on the mesh decks is awkward. The legs tend to fall through the holes in the mesh. One solution we have considered is cutting 6 inch squares of plexiglas to place the legs of furniture on. The plexiglas can be secured to the mesh decks with U-bolts or nylon zip ties. The solution we are planning to use is plastic palates to store all objects on the pallet racks. The pallets we are considering using are thick enough to secure straps with eye bolts to secure the objects to the pallets and can hold up to 1,000 pounds. I hope this helps and feel free to contact me directly at (281) 330-7260.

Richard Hinson
Senior Preparator
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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Kurt Christian
06-29-2010, 08:16 AM

I have been trying to address our current furniture storage issues by making some improvements that cut down the redundant and awkward handling of these objects. Our furniture lives on a type of pallet racking that has carpeted MDO decks. Because of the number of items stored on these decks, proper handling was difficult if not impossible. What we are doing to improve upon our existing system is cutting birch ply to the foot print of each object, routing the edge of the top and underneath side with a round over bit, and marvel sealing the entire board. We are then attaching tyvar skids to the bottom and on the top we are adhering volara at the contact points. This allows us to easily pull the unit (furniture on the prepared board) out and onto our lift without handling the piece itself. Of course weight and size determines whether or not these boards are battened out and we are usually using plastic pallets on our lifts which the pieces are pulled on to.

Good luck,


Head Preparator
Saint Louis Art Museum
Kurt.christian@slam.org (Kurt.christian@slam.org)

455 456 457

08-01-2010, 11:16 PM
Hey Paul, you've got a nice idea. I'm also looking for that kind of furniture. I have found out that furniture shops don't sell this kind. You have to tell them the design so they will make it especially for you.

01-12-2012, 06:25 PM
The idea is really brilliant.