OSB shoe rack

The previous owners of our house built a lean-to extension at the back, which serves as a utility room. It is leaky and badly insulated. and permanently cluttered with muddy boots and shoes - a reflection of our outdoor lives.

We need a shoe rack and they’re surprisingly expensive, even when mass produced from sources like IKEA (60 euro for a Hemnes at the time of writing). Since I had a load of 12mm OSB off cuts left from my workbench and kitty condo projects, it seemed like a good time put something together. My nephew was around to give me a hand too, which was great.

First, I threw together some basic measurements and random ideas on my whiteboard and on paper, and then we drew up a “fancy” cut list on paper and dived in, adjusting as we went. For example the overall height went from 84cm to 92cm after we realised that having an edge around the top would be useful. Generally our approach was a shambles but we got there in the end.

  • Four slat shelves: each comprised of two long (125cm) and two short (31cm) OSB slats.

  • Single solid shelf: 125cm x 31cm OSB.

  • Two sides: 91.5cm x 31cm OSB

  • Two back panels: 61cm x 91.5cm OSB

  • Central support for the front slats made 45mm x 30mm white deal (the cheapest, softest framing timber).

First we cut up everything on the entire cutlist and then made the four slatted shelves using glue and brads. Somehow I lost the photo I took of one of the shelves before glue up. It wasn’t really possible to show steps next because we simply glued and brad nailed the entire cabinet skeleton together in one go.


Adding the back panels, we pulled the whole unit square (-ish). Having two of these looks like a design feature but to be honest is was just because we were using offcuts, we didn’t have a single piece big enough to do a single back panel. As a lucky side effect, the two panels look good and leave a slot wide enough for both air flow and cables to pass through if power is needed. At this point we ran out of time and paused for me to return my nephew to his mother.

Getting back to the project I used the table saw to thin down and then cut four dados in the piece of white deal to provide support for the front slats of each slatted shelf. For no practical reason, I also routed an 15mm by 8mm dado straight down the back of the white deal support too - more on that later.

With the unit lying on its back I passed the support vertically through the bottom shelf, and then glued it in place, with clamps to keep it in position and squared. The tiny clamp you can see at the bottom of the first photo below is holding in place a large chip that I knocked out of the vertical support while lugging the unit around to get better clamping angles. It glued back in just fine.


I sanded the entire unit to 120 and 220 grits and applied a couple of coats of Baufix Hard Wax Oil that I bought in Lidl last year. This stuff was a bargain at around half the price you’d normally pay for Hard Wax Oil here (I usually can’t afford it). Unfortunately I haven’t seen it there since. It smells bad but mellows in a week or two to a faint background nutty odour.

For random entertainment value I put an LED strip, which was left over from my beech and cherry bar lamp into the dado I’d previously routed into the back of the shelf support. I think it looks cool and is a layout I’ll keep in mind for a future interior furniture piece but it would be insane to have lighting like this in shelf that will spend its life filled with muddy shoes, in a badly sealed and usually damp but very bright room!



Fergus N