Ammo can’t?

Today we’re going to start in on a new project!  And there was much some non-zero rejoicing!

The specs for this new build revolve around the venerable (and ubiquitous) .50 caliber ammo can.  Almost every veteran out there has a couple kicking around somewhere.  They’re watertight, sturdy, and easy to find since the military uses the same size can for 9x19mm, 5.56mm, .50 caliber, and a few assorted kinds of pyrotechnic devices.  Filled with your preferred flavour of ammunition, they can weigh up to 40 pounds (roughly 18 kilos for those living in countries that didn’t put a man on the moon).  While they stack nicely, it’s a real bear to try to get to that can at the bottom of the stack.  Thus, a shelf unit was commissioned that would allow access to the whole stack simultaneously.  Furthermore, my task was to gin up a design that would be both not only sturdy, but also economical.

The criterion was that it would hold as many cans as possible in a space roughly five feet tall and 22″ wide.  And so, with a little math, I arrived at the idea that this shelf was to hold eighteen cans.  Since I was restricted on budget, I decided to use regular construction lumber from the big box hardware store, knots and all.  Yellow pine is plenty strong at that thickness, and will make a good shelf unit that will hold up to the potentially 700 odd pounds that can be contained inside it.


Since a .50 caliber ammo can plus the back will be somewhat over the 11¼” of a 2×12, I had to laminate a few panels together to make the required depth of shelf.  While this does take a little bit, it conforms to the “as economically as possible” portion of the design.  I could have used 1″ oak (my preference), but this was cheaper overall.  And though it might look a tad chunky, it is a utilitarian design for heavy work.  In this case, beefiness is a virtue…