Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Shelving for Walk-In Freezer Units


This shelving system can be placed inside a walk-in freezer to facilitate the organization of specimens placed in the freezer prior to preparation. It also provides a clean, safe place to freeze pest infested natural science specimens.



Jackie McConachie
New Mexico Museum
of Natural History
1801 Mountain Road, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104 USA
Tel (505) 841-8837
Fax (505) 841-8866

Illustration: David Hafner 

Publication: 1992


The shelves are constructed of steel wire decking plated with a yellow zinc chromate finish, and can be custom-made to fit a walk-in freezer (Fig. 1). Shelving units are available in a variety of sizes.

Figure 1. Walk-in freezer shelving.

The shelves are attached to slotted steel bar supports, and can be adjusted to any height to accommodate large items. Slide braces on the shelves clip into teardrop shaped holes on the steel beams. The legs of the shelves are placed on metal plates to prevent perforation of the freezer floor.

Shelving units are coated with a rust inhibitor before assembly to increase the longevity of the unit. Alternatively, stainless steel shelving can be used, but may cost four to five times more than standard steel.

Materials Tools Supplies

  • Paint with rust inhibitor
  • Steel wire decking with zinc chromate finish


  1. Measure the internal dimensions (length, width, and height) of the freezer.
  2. Draw a floor plan to scale based on anticipated needs. As the length, depth, and height of the storage units are being planned, consider factors such as the location of the door, required aisle space, placement of utility features (for example, lights, sockets, switches, and dehumidifiers).
  3. Assemble shelving units, each with a grid of 8ga steel wire. For heavier objects, it may be desirable to use heavier gauge wire. Individual shelves can be ordered to any desired dimensions. It is possible to provide a lip on the shelf by installing steel angle iron (e.g., 31/2in x 21/2in), available from local sheet metal shops and hardware stores. fasten the lips to shelves with screws.


Because materials in a freezer may be stored for several months or years, it is critical that every specimen contain complete information with regard to its identification, origin, relevant data, and contacts for additional information. Conspicuous labels written with pencil or permanent ink are invaluable to the organization and retrievability of collection material.

If freezing is to be used as a pest control treatment, care should be taken to exclude materials that may be damaged by the treatment, and to follow accepted procedures for protecting materials from desiccation-condensation problems (Florian, 1986, 1990a, 1990b).

Translate »