Shelf that folds flat against the wall.

My wife does ironing about once every 10-14 days in our laundry room and she needs a shelf to work with.  The size of the shelf she needs would be such that it would be in the way all the time and we would bump into it. The solution is going to be a shelf that folds flat against the wall.

Our laundry room of course has both a washer and a dryer. It also has a space along one wall that is about 6’ long. This would be the perfect place to locate a shelf. Unfortunately this area is directly in front of the washer and dryer and to build a shelf 24” deep would block access to the two machines. Therefore, a shelf that folds flat against the wall would be the ideal solution. Since this is a laundry room and not a dining room in a country estate, I think we can live with a fairly simple affair. The determining factor and big issue of course is a hinge that will be strong enough and also lock in the upright position. I researched numerous types of hinges and it appears that the single best option is a 90° locking hinge. After reviewing numerous hinges manufactured by 4x Iron, Mechwares, D.H.S. Posi Lock, Rockler, Skelang, Btibpse, Platte River, and Tech Team, the one that had the best features and appeared to be the strongest is manufactured by Tech Team Products:    I purchased a pack of 4 of these and I am suitably impressed. They are rock solid, made from steel almost 3mm thick, and have a yellow zinc dichromate finish which will be resistant to rust and corrosion. In addition, they have a locking mechanism that can be engaged and disengaged by activating a trigger. For the top of the shelf I decided to use a piece of ½” plywood which will be more than adequate for the loading and purpose of this particular shelf. With that thought in mind, I went to Home Depot and had them pull out a precut piece of 48×24” plywood and cut it down to 18”. Then I purchased two pieces of 3” x ¾” x 8’ pine lumber. These will be used to provide support against the wall and also the laterals underneath the shelf. Since the shelf is going to be 30” of the floor, I also had the kind people at Home Depot cut my 1 x 3’s into 2 pieces 18” long and 2 pieces 30” long. Having this done, I no longer had to cut the wood down myself since I don’t own a saw. I do however have a variable speed drill, drill bits, and screw driver bits which is sufficient to perform the next part of my project. The first thing to do was to locate the centers of the studs on the wall. Since my wall studs are 16” on center, I located two 32” apart and mounted my vertical member to each one of them by predrilling three 1/8” holes in each one, evenly spaced, and using #8 x 3” drywall screws to secure each one to the studs.  Of course I used a level to make sure they were both plumb. I then lined up my 18 x 48” plywood against my uprights, centered them measured to the centers of my two upright pine boards, and at this point I centered and mounted the 18” x 3” pieces of lumber using #6 1” drywall screws from the top surface of the plywood into the board below.  What this did was give me a smooth surface on the top and since the screws were the correct length they did not penetrate the lower surface of the boards. I have my uprights and my shelf constructed, now it’s time to install the hinges. The hinges are supplied with installation screws which made the job rather easy. It is simply a matter of attaching the hinges to the wood stringers on the underside of the shelf using the appropriate screws and then having my wife support the shelf level while I got underneath and installed the balance of the screws into the verticals on the wall. What this did was give me a shelf that extended 18” from the wall but by disengaging the locking bars on each hinge, will now fold flat against the wall. This ended up being the absolute best solution to my problem.