Built-ins: How to attach upper bookshelves to base cabinets?

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Forum topic by RebeccaP posted 11-29-2009 05:53 PM 10489 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 3430 days

11-29-2009 05:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: built ins

Hi, all.

I’m doing my first set of built-ins. Quick question: What is the standard way to attach the upper bookshelves to the base cabinets? My built-ins will look very much like those of Jim Savage Click for details, except stained, not painted.

Many thanks,


-- Measure four times, cut once, mess it up, waste money, and start all over again.

4 replies so far

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3443 days

#1 posted 11-29-2009 06:58 PM

There is a number of ways you can do this. When I build cabinets like that, I always build the shelf unit with a piece across the bottom. In other words, its like a box with shelves in it. I then either screw the bottom board to the base cabinets and plug the screw holes, or you can screw them together from inside the base unit. I think screwing them from the top holds better though. Another way would be to mount the base unit, and then screw the shelf unit to the wall to hold it in place. One other way would be to put metal straps between the two in the back, much like they did with cabinet and mirror units in the past, then slide the entire unit against the wall and anchor it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View seearran's profile


5 posts in 3079 days

#2 posted 11-29-2009 07:31 PM

hi rebecca there are a few methods in fixing top carcasses to bases the ones i use are either screw from beneath into the front frame and bookcase sides lleaving the back about 3/8 longer than the carcass this then fits into a groove routed into the top thereby keeping it rigid . You could also use biscuits or dowels to locate and fix as i said many ways !!!!!!!

-- ian,troon,scotland,

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3737 days

#3 posted 11-29-2009 09:37 PM

I always attach the top of the base unit to the bottom of the top unit and finish it together. All my built-ins. china hutches and most of my gun cabinets are built that way if you care to look.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View RebeccaP's profile


9 posts in 3430 days

#4 posted 11-30-2009 01:42 AM

Many thanks for your replies. I was thinking of using pocket holes on the insides of the upper unit side panels. At least I now know that there are various “right” ways to do it.

-- Measure four times, cut once, mess it up, waste money, and start all over again.

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