When drilling holes in cabinets or bookcases for adjustable shelf pins, you need to use a template to make sure the holes are level and a stop on the drill so the holes are drilled to the proper depth.

To drill holes for adjustable shelves:

  1. Cut a piece of 1/4″ pegboard to the desired width and length to act as a drilling template.
  2. Cover up any extra holes in the pegboard you don’t want drilled with masking tape.
  3. Chuck a 1/4” wood drill bit in a drill.
  4. Cut a piece of 1” x 1” lumber to length to act as a stop block, so it’s 5/8” shorter than the distance from the drill chuck to the end of the drill bit.
  5. Drill a 1/4″ hole lengthwise through the center of the wood stop block.
  6. Position the pegboard template in the cabinet or bookcase where you want the adjustable shelves.
  7. Drill 1/4″ diameter holes in the front and back of each side of the cabinet or bookcase at the desired heights.
  8. Insert four metal adjustable shelf pegs in the holes for each shelf.
  9. Place each shelf in the cabinet or bookcase so it rests on the adjustable shelf pegs.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Danny Lipford: Now a home office like this can really benefit from some additional shelving, particularly if it’s an adjustable shelving, and Joe’s got a great technique.

Joe Truini: The easiest way to install adjustable shelves are with small, metal shelf pegs like this, which fit into quarter-inch diameter holes. You need four for each shelf. But the two most important things to installing an adjustable shelf is first the holes have to be perfectly aligned, and you have to drill the holes to the correct depth.

To keep the holes aligned, we made a template out of a piece of pegboard, and we covered up all the holes that we did not want to drill. And, as you can see, we have positions for three different locations for the shelf. Then you simply drill a hole in the front and rear of each shelf position.

And to keep from drilling too deeply, we have a depth gauge here. It’s simply a one-by-one with a hole drilled through it. And you slip it on, and you leave about five-eighths of an inch of the drill bit sticking out.

Danny Lipford: Now this system works great in a home office like this, but it’ll also work equally well on any bookcases or cabinetry you have in your home.

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avatar for Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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