The Strathmashie Mile - Sheet Music Racking to die for

Shelving the new building was not part of McLeod's original building contract with CM Design (the architects) as we (Spartan Press) had our own very detailed idea of how they should look. So with the basic building up and the sales floor carpeted, the time came to build the shelves.

They where constructed to a tried and tested pigeon hole 'recipe', adapted and improved over an 18 year span. This latest (and luxurious) 'variant' was to include vertical separators every 6" (as opposed to 12") to create a more caring environment in the event of a loosely populated pigeon hole, and each rack was to be designed with normal sized people in mind (and NOT for 6'4" blokes like me!). The top (6th) shelf had to be no more than about 64" high.

We decided on the following:

  • 37 racks of shelves, each 8' long x 6 shelves plus a top piece and 2 sides
  • Each shelf is partitioned into 16 pigeon holes (using 15 x 320mm high uprights)

The sums: (37 racks x 9 lengths = 333 ) + (15 upright separators x 6 x 37 x 320mm = 3,400 pieces)

This equates to 6,600' all told, of 9" 15mm Tobacco Aida Walnut laminated paricle board - a sum that did not escape Mark Dicken of Fuller Music who declared that this was "over a mile of the stuff!".

We spent quite a lot of time trying to visualise what this amount of wood would look like, and where we would put it all while we were making the shelves. On a fine day (thank goodness) in May, a huge curtain sided vehicle arrived out of the blue, with six very long and heavy pallets of contiboard. It took three of us, two hours simply to unload it off of the lorry (no fork lift or tail gate unfortunately).

We reckoned on erecting one of these racks per day - leaving about a month for the whole job.

We setup a 'jig' - a sort of template, and ordered the 13,000 size 4 screws (50mm long). The job was shared between Ian, Ken and Mark, working sometimes alone, and sometimes in groups.

Once erected, the racks were stabalized with long lengths of 2x2 redwood running the full 15 metre length of the sales floor. The beams are stained with "antique walnut" to match. Each pair of racks has a vertical piece of oak double ogee 92mm facing, also stained walnut, to tidy up the join.

Now I'm going to have a lie down - it makes me tired and gives me rough hands just thinking about it!

Ken sets up the bench saw

One of the 37 racks in

Shelves populated and
party awaits