Ikea Detolf mod - adding additional shelves

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by optimusfan, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. optimusfan

    optimusfan Kill your heroes Administrator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Problem:
    The Ikea Detolf case served as a favorite of collectors for years now as an economical way for them to get their collections "under glass". The design, while a great value, does possess a few key limitations. Chief among these is the fact that the design wastes a lot of vertical space by providing only three glass shelves, with the wood base serving as the fourth. Masterpiece figures fit great, but anything Voyager size or smaller ended up wasting about 1/2 the space between shelves. This flaw always bothered me as like most collectors I am always out of space. As a result, I set out to see if I could extend the design to include additional shelves.

    After doing a bit of research I came upon the following thread which laid out the basis for extending the cases:

    Adding extra shelves to Ikea Detolf display cases - LSP Forums

    The concept here is very simple. The Detolfs use a series of four vertical posts to create their structure and support the included shelves. Using four 3/16" wire rope clips (image below), we can create a place for additional shelves to rest:

    [​IMG]

    The tools I used were as follows: an appropriately sized socket w/screwdriver handle (wrench would also work) and a board pre-cut to the appropriate height so that I wouldn't have to use a level:

    [​IMG]

    I cut the board to 7 1/4", which is a bit more than 50% of the space available. This allowed me to have a little more room on some of the halved shelves for larger figures. The board was placed on the shelf underneath and used to hold up the rope clip at the correct height as I tightened it to the Detolf frame:

    [​IMG]

    I do not know how much weight these could hold, but my assumption is that the weight tolerance of the glass is much lower. When you tighten the clips they feel incredibly secure. Additional clips being added:

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I needed to purchase additional glass shelves. I measured the available space (not the existing shelves as they don't fill out the entire width of the case) and had a local glass cutter make me custom tempered glass shelves. The specs on the glass I purchased were 15 3/8" long x 11 3/4" wide, with a pencil grind on the long sides for appearance. Although the Detolf's use a 3/16" thick tempered glass for the shelves, the glass cutter gave me 1/4" glass at the same price.

    One very important caveat to the dimensions listed above: measure your own cases. I measured one of my cases before purchasing the glass, and discovered during installation that Ikea's manufacturing processes are not that precise. Some of my new shelves had to be forced into some of the cases, while the same piece of glass would easily slide into a different case. Not what you want to be doing with pieces of glass! As such I would recommend measuring your own cases before proceeding with this mod, and would expect that knocking a 1/16" to 1/8" off of the length above (15 1/4" to 15 5/16") would produce better results.

    These were then installed in the case:

    [​IMG]

    I ended up adding 2-3 additional shelves to a number of my cases, bringing the total number of shelves available to 6 or 7 per case. This gave me an excellent balance of head room for my larger figures, while allowing me to cram additional figures in to each case:

    [​IMG]

    Drawbacks:
    The first drawback to this approach is that it's not cheap. The wire clips are inexpensive -- $.40 each at our local hardware store, so $1.60 per shelf. The glass was another story, however. I've read about glass cutters in other locations creating similar size shelves for $12-$13 per shelf, but in my area the best I was able to do was $18/shelf. Some places wanted to charge >$40 PER SHELF!! Crazy. If you do the math an entire Detolf case with shelves costs ~$65, so at $19.60 per shelf you're basically buying another Detolf every time you add three shelves.

    Secondly, the biggest downside I've noticed is that halving the space in between shelves really does darken the individual shelves. The room now needs additional light to see the figures, despite being in cases made almost entirely from glass.

    Lastly, adding the additional shelves does make the cases seem a bit more cluttered than with the stock configuration. Figures can get lost a bit in the back, especially on lower shelves. In addition, some of the larger figures (like Universe Hard Head with the HeadRobots add-on kit) are too large to fit in the halved shelves, which forced me to either pose them with bent legs or compromise my plans for the characters I wanted to display on a full-height shelf.

    Verdict:
    I was able to add a lot of additional storage space at a relatively low cost, and now no longer look at my cases and cringe at all the wasted space. In addition, with floorspace being at a premium I really think this approach could help folks who just don't have the room to add in an extra Detolf case or three. However, despite the drawbacks listed above, I'm very pleased with the results overall.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  2. process

    process Hanlon's razor Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Nice!
     
  3. fabexmax

    fabexmax Well-Known Member

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    YOU. ARE. MY. HERO! This thread needs to be stickied!
     
  4. bignick1693

    bignick1693 Maximal

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    cool. looks great.
     
  5. SSR

    SSR Well-Known Member

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    now i know what im doing tomorrow. thanks man!
     
  6. robvega214

    robvega214 Mp5_Brut

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    kewl guy
     
  7. Incepticon

    Incepticon Double Agent

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    Very cool update. I've always loved the Detolfs more than any other shelving for displays, but held off on buying any because of exactly what urked you: a mere 4 shelves and a lot of dead space. Your mods look fantastic.
     
  8. Paladine

    Paladine Well-Known Member

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    Can you give us the exact measurements of the glass pieces you had created?
     
  9. fabexmax

    fabexmax Well-Known Member

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    Also the measurements of the piece of wood.
     
  10. vmagnum

    vmagnum Horrorcon

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    stunning piece of work. I'd like to do that to my detolf big time
     
  11. Agent-GHQ

    Agent-GHQ Accept the unacceptable

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    This could work well instead of risers for the the deluxe scale TFers and the 3 3/4" Joes!
     
  12. UnicronFTW

    UnicronFTW Don't blink.

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    The modification is great and all...
    but where did you buy that shelf in the first place? Because damn I want me some of those!
     
  13. BarBoBot

    BarBoBot Well-Known Member

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    I understand why you did that, but for me personally, it clutters the figures up too much.

    The standard detolf does a great job of highlighting the figures you put in it.

    With all the extra shelves, the figures start to merge into a cluster of multi-colored plastic.

    In you pic with all the shelves, I think the one on the far left does the best job of showcasing the figures in it. The shelves on the far right lose some of that and just seem to blend.

    ehh, just my :2c: 

    you did a nice job regardless :thumbs2: 

    unicron: its a Ikea detolf. Sells for about $65 and it instantly adds bling to your collection. I'm saving for my own ;) 
     
  14. UnicronFTW

    UnicronFTW Don't blink.

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    I know what it is, and how much it is, I just need to know where it is...
     
  15. OMEGAPRIME1983

    OMEGAPRIME1983 Well-Known Member

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    Very cool idea! Now if only I could find a glass case like this in a double wide..
     
  16. Deceptigtar

    Deceptigtar Sworn Decepticon Assassin

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    awesome, that has always been a big draw back of the detolfs, limited shelfs.
     
  17. Thelonicon

    Thelonicon Well-Known Member

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    It is an IKEA Detolf. Unfortunately it looks like they are sold out online, and looking at the store availability they seem to be mostly out of stock at most locations.
     
  18. BarBoBot

    BarBoBot Well-Known Member

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    yeah, I thought when I said it was an Ikea Detolf, it got the point across...
     
  19. Arkvander

    Arkvander Optimal Optimist TFW2005 Supporter

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    Very interesting, I don't guess you would know the weight tolerance of those little brackets would you?
     
  20. optimusfan

    optimusfan Kill your heroes Administrator TFW2005 Supporter

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    Glad you guys are enjoying the thread. I started seriously considering doing this project almost a year ago, but had to push it back for quite some time due to selling my old house, having a baby, and then moving to my new place. I just finally finished getting all my figures out of storage last weekend.

    Added to the original post. Definitely read the caveat about the length!!

    Added to the original post.

    I do agree, and I did mean to call that out in my review. I've modified the original post to reflect that as a drawback.

    And I actually kind of like the way it looks, even if it is a bit cluttered. I enjoy the "cluster of multi-colored plastic" for some reason.

    Not mine, but buying two Detolf's and creating your own double-wide base shouldn't be that difficult:

    DETOLF Dual Mod

    I actually tried to buy two more last week when completing my new collection room, and was shocked when I showed up at Ikea and they didn't have any. I ended up buying whatever their $129 metal black shelving unit is called after poking around the internet for a few minutes while at the store trying to determine if it was just a temporary shortage or that the shelves had been discontinued.

    The clip lists "N/A" for its "working load limit". I modified the original post to indicate that they seem very strong. The things aren't going anywhere once you tighten them to the Detolf support posts, and I really think the glass would fail before you'd max the clips out.
     

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