When a friend once suggested we use 12-inch lengths of industrial steel I-beams as “brackets” to hold shelves, we couldn’t quite imagine what he was thinking. UNTIL we spotted the fabulously rusted I-beam shelving at metal fabricator while wandering through East Harlem last fall.

When we saw the makeshift shelving the owner had improvised to store his materials, we GOT it.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

An I-beam (also known as an H-beam) is an I-shaped beam made of aluminum or steel, that comes in varying sizes and thicknesses.

steel-i beam

Metals Depot has trove of offerings you can buy online, sized to your specifications. As you can see from the steel works, they come in all sorts of sizes…

We also seen them available in fiberglass

fiberglass I beam

As you can see from the iron workers shelving, i-beams can be configured in different sizes…

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

…and could be used to hold wood slab shelves instead of the metal sheets below…

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

The designer used the i-beam shape to fabricate a side-table…

Ward Bennet i beam table


And i-beams can be fabricated out of wood as well, for furntiture and bookshelves…

MH I Beam stool 345 cutout

If we could, we’d hunt down rusty I-beams like the iron monger’s beauties…

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