I tend to keep six months’ worth of food in my house. After being put to the test by a 60-day shelter-in-place order in response to the global pandemic, this supply has proved to be useful. Finally, on Day 60 of the order, I went shopping for four families and restocked my canned goods.
I realized a problem in how I used to store my cans: Stacked up on the floor or on the shelf was not conducive to proper rotation. I found cans that had “best used by” date of 5 years ago.
Because I had plenty of “free” time, I designed and built a wall-mounted can slider that easily dispenses the older cans first out the bottom.
Although I tried to make one that any can could fit in, it was next to impossible so I have made multiple sizes. I am very proud of the final design, especially because me and wood don't always get along.
The project required quite a few days to get it like I wanted. I put in a lot of testing — taking the racks apart and building them again — before I had what I think is a good design. I did learn that I have to pre-drill every hole to keep that thin wood from splitting when screwing together and to use tiny in diameter, 2-inch-long trim screws.
I used oak, poplar, and pine precut lumber. The sides are pine 1-by-4s and the rest are 1-by-2s. The sides are made from the cheaper pine and are as wide as the can is tall. I actually have three sizes of cans: Two of them are for milks — evaporated and condensed milk cans are much smaller in height than a standard can. I did have to make the pull-out slot bigger for the cans of fruit, as the cans are bigger in diameter. I used poplar wood for the holders in front and oak for the bottom where all the weight of the can is resting on it.
The trickiest part after putting the angle piece to slide the can towards the front is positioning the little piece of oak keeping the can from sliding out but still easy enough to pull the can out.
After adding the little shelves on the front for the miscellaneous cans, I ended up being able to fit 160 cans in a previously unused section of my kitchen.
Aur Beck, “DaEnergyMon”, is a NABCEP-Certified Solar PV Installer with AES Solar who has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He can be reached at tech@AESsolar.com . He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page, and read all of Aur's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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