Storage

Ok I admit it, I’m addicted to train books and magazines. I have this recurring vision that when the better half shunts me off into the dementia ward at the old folks home the only thing that will penetrate the fog will be when someone reads to me from AMRM or 7th Heaven. I plan to be a crotchety old bastard anyway so I might fake the dementia just to be contrary. And yes, I know a couple of people who think I’m a crotchety old bastard now! ๐Ÿ™‚

The problem with magazines is that they take up space and when you buy as many as I do (about 3 per month and I’ve cut back since my high point about 10 years ago) they take up a lot of space. Over the last two or three house moves I’ve tossed out a lot of back issues of Model Railroader, and I don’t have a single copy of Railroad Model Craftsman, but the “must keep” mags seem to have become the “must creep” as they steadily creep along my finite shelf space. Something had to give!

Many years ago I was bequeathed this 1.8m long pine bookcase by my sister. It has been in constant use as storage repository for my ever growing collection of train "stuff" ever since. The only problem is that only the bottom shelf is tall enough to allowan A4 size magazine or book to stand on edge thus limiting its use.

Many years ago I was bequeathed this 1.8m long pine bookcase by my sister. It has been in constant use as storage repository for my ever-growing collection of train “stuff” ever since. The only problem is that only the bottom shelf is tall enough to allow an A4 size magazine or book to stand on edge, thus limiting its use.

When I decided to fill my under utilized train room with layout a few months ago this had the effect of making certain pieces of furniture surplus to requirements. I had to shift an old fridge that had chugged away quietly in the corner for years and replace it with a bar fridge that was low enough to fit under the layout. You’ve gotta have something to keep the beer in! ๐Ÿ™‚ A 1.5m high bookshelf was also moved to a more appropriate location (a separate home I own 1 1/2 hours away). The magazine boxes that had been rather precariously stored on this bookcase now sit on the floor in a corner of the room. Not an ideal situation.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “why doesn’t he just buy another low bookshelf and get on with some modelling”! And you would be right except that this, in my opinion, wouldn’t have solved the problem. Maybe you haven’t noticed but the vast majority of bookshelves are produced in a configuration which may suit the general book buyer but which does not suit the closet train magazine hoarder. In most instances manufactured book cases have a bottom shelf suitable for the storage of magazines and larger format reference books while all the shelves above this are made with the levels closer together, presumably for novels and other improving literature. There are bookcases sold with adjustable shelving however I find these are rarely robust enough to allow the long-term storage of heavy magazines and reference books.

If you look at the photo above you will note that the bottom shelf of the bookcase has a series of magazine racks lined up however the vast majority of the other books and magazines are lying on their sides. This means that finding anything is made more difficult. I wasn’t prepared to shell out any more of the hard-earned on a bookcase that would only really be useful along a 1/3 or a 1/4 of its length. What I needed was a bookshelf that was designed to accept magazines and reference books along its full length on more than just its bottom level.

This is my answer to the storage problem that has been plaguing me for several years. Of course this too will eventually fill, but at least I will get the full use of all of its shelf space rather than just a portion of them. It will get a ply backboard and a couple of coats of estapol over the next couple of days.

This is my answer to the storage problem that has been plaguing me for several years. Of course this too will eventually fill, but at least I will get the full use of all of its shelf space rather than just a portion of them. It will get a ply backboard and a couple of coats of Estapol over the next couple of days.

A couple of months ago I purchased the timber to construct a bookshelf to allow me to store all the magazines and books I have accumulated but will allow me to keep them filed standing up on their edges. The photo of the bookshelf above shows my new bookshelf only half complete but it gives you the idea. When it is completed it will allow all my current collection to be stored (in conjunction with my other bookshelf) with some room for future expansion. The case is 1150mm high and 900mm long. I could quite easily have made it longer but a 900mm long row of books or magazines is heavy and I wanted to avoid having to brace it in the middle. As you can see it is designed to go under the benchwork of the layout snugly. The shelves have a space between them of 325mm which is more than enough for the average magazine and/or some of the books I currently have laying on their backs.

And before someone posts a message asking me why I don’t buy the mags on disk and load them onto my computer the answer is that I do, however I find that these are mainly only available for the earlier editions and most of my mags are less than 20 years old. To be honest the cost of buying the wood, varnish and ply means that I probably would have been better off buying a new bookcase from a pine furniture retailer however making it myself at least means it’s made to my exact design. This current design means that even though the home made shelf is approximately half the length of the one my sister gave me it offers 1/3 more useable shelf space.

 

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One thought on “Storage

  1. You noted that the mags are heavy and I agree fully. I wound up keeping my shelves about 18″ to 24″ wide versus the 36″ or so that you have done. On cases with longer shelves I added vertical mid-shelf braces the same depth as the shelves and stacked above each other. The advantage of build it yourself is you can adjust the width to accommodate magazine file boxes.

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