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How do you attach the back to this bookcase? Not much room to work with...

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Forum topic by zipzit posted 06-05-2016 01:05 AM 1918 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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zipzit

11 posts in 627 days


06-05-2016 01:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bookcase glueup wood

So I’m building a series of tall bookcases. I decided to dado the back of the stucture and add a 1/8” hardboard backer. Note: I’m intending to paint this white to match the rest of the build-ins in the house. I was intending to nail and glue the backing panels in place, until I started looking closely at the details at the back of the middle fixed shelving. There really isn’t enough room there.

Here’s a photo of me test fitting the back panels.

Original plan:

- Cut hardboard so there is 1/16” freeplay for Gap minus panel width and 1/16” freeplay for gap minus panel height.
- Drill small holes in hardboard for nails to go through. This can be setup on the drill press to provide consistent nail location spacing to the edge of the hardboard.
- Glue up the bookcases with rear panels up. Add rear panels to ensure overall glue up is square.
- After bookcase glue up is dry, glue and nail panels in place.
- Use small tack nails. Nothing fancy. Use hand held hammer for this.
- After panels are dry turn bookcase over and use sharp chisel to remove any glue mess.

Here’s a photo of one of the intermediate shelves.

My problem is there really isn’t much room to do the nailing on the center two fixed shelves. The bottom and top shelf have full 1/2” wide dado. Center fixed shelves have only 1/4” on each side. I’m really afraid of nail blow out. I have access to air staple gun, but I really don’t like using it. The staple lets will easily blow out.

One idea is to glue it without fasteners, just use sandbags or other weights to hold the panels in place doing gluing.
One idea is to nail in the gap (between the panel and the upstanding center rib of the fixed shelf), let the nail head just cover a small portion of the hardboard.
One idea is to take some scrap steel and make a bridge (basically a large rectangular washer) with the intent of adding a countersink wood screw in the center of the fixes shelves. Countersink (in the steel) so the bridge retainer is of minimal height.

Anybody been here before? Any ideas on how to proceed? I’ve got a six of these book cases to build. 2×24” wide and 4×26.5” Many thanks, Zip


17 replies so far

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 616 days


#1 posted 06-05-2016 01:23 AM

You dd it to yourself, glue, next time make your rabbit wider.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View Texcaster's profile

Texcaster

1139 posts in 1138 days


#2 posted 06-05-2016 01:52 AM

On a tall cabinet I only rebate the sides, the top, bottom and shelves are fully covered by the back. Add rails, even 50mm will add strength and a place to nail. Cut a one piece back to fit exactly, it will square the box.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/92193

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View zipzit's profile

zipzit

11 posts in 627 days


#3 posted 06-05-2016 02:55 AM

Confir. hmm. That was helpful. Er. NOT. Make the rabbit wider? How do you do that? How much wider? Remember 3/4” nominal plywood isn’t really 3/4”. That center rib is barely larger than 1/8” .

I got the glue part. In fact I told you that I was going to glue. So what exactly is your recommendation? Am I the first person here to suggest that your suggestions are not very helpful. (per… “You did it to yourself”...) Please in the future if you don’t have something constructive to add to the conversation, it might just be better to not respond at all. Confir, Have a Nice Day. Thank you for your submission.

TexCaster. Did you look at that photo carefully? That book case is 9’8” tall. I understand the full length hardboard. But where do you buy your 8’x10’ hardboard? They don’t sell it that way here. I could scarf it 1:8, but really? And I’m not sure I fully understand your comment about the rails and 50mm. 50mm is nearly two inches. That a mighty big. Are you suggesting that I add a structural member to the rear bottom of the fixed shelf to increase the width of a nail zone? That’s do-able. I’m already adding 3/4”x1-1/2” finish edging to the front of each shelf for strength.

Yes I’m fully aware of using a single panel solution flush to the fixed shelves and nailing from the back side. I’m made other projects that way. This thing is way tall. I chose separate panels to aid me in glue up and ensuring everything is square. I hate not being able to see what’s going on. With separate panels I can glue up two fixed shelves at a time. So I need less clamps that way.

Texcaster, thank you for your comments. That is an awesome cabinet you’ve built. Nice work.

Again, I was asking two questions.
1) Anybody been here before?
2) Any ideas on how to proceed?

Many thanks.

Zip.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


#4 posted 06-05-2016 04:04 AM

Nail it by hand pre-drill and angle the nails.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View muleskinner's profile

muleskinner

881 posts in 1901 days


#5 posted 06-05-2016 04:36 AM

Is it possible you’re over thinking this? I put boxes together with a 1/4 inch miter joint with glue only. The wood fails before the glue does. I’m assuming these are going up against a wall. If so then there’s no where for that backing to go anyway.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 616 days


#6 posted 06-05-2016 05:04 AM



Confir. hmm. That was helpful. Er. NOT. Make the rabbit wider? How do you do that? How much wider? Remember 3/4” nominal plywood isn t really 3/4”. That center rib is barely larger than 1/8” .

I got the glue part. In fact I told you that I was going to glue. So what exactly is your recommendation? Am I the first person here to suggest that your suggestions are not very helpful. (per… “You did it to yourself”...) Please in the future if you don t have something constructive to add to the conversation, it might just be better to not respond at all. Confir, Have a Nice Day. Thank you for your submission.

TexCaster. Did you look at that photo carefully? That book case is 9 8” tall. I understand the full length hardboard. But where do you buy your 8×10 hardboard? They don t sell it that way here. I could scarf it 1:8, but really? And I m not sure I fully understand your comment about the rails and 50mm. 50mm is nearly two inches. That a mighty big. Are you suggesting that I add a structural member to the rear bottom of the fixed shelf to increase the width of a nail zone? That s do-able. I m already adding 3/4”x1-1/2” finish edging to the front of each shelf for strength.

Yes I m fully aware of using a single panel solution flush to the fixed shelves and nailing from the back side. I m made other projects that way. This thing is way tall. I chose separate panels to aid me in glue up and ensuring everything is square. I hate not being able to see what s going on. With separate panels I can glue up two fixed shelves at a time. So I need less clamps that way.

Texcaster, thank you for your comments. That is an awesome cabinet you ve built. Nice work.

Again, I was asking two questions.
1) Anybody been here before?
2) Any ideas on how to proceed?

Many thanks.

Zip.

- zipzit


Well you set the fence a bit further from the bit, so it cuts a wider pass, then you DAs the back has more of an area to be attached to, you match the depth of the cut to the backing, and the width of the Rabbit to mount it. Dont step on my Flag. You have anything more to say????

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 951 days


#7 posted 06-05-2016 05:39 AM

That’s a high horse you have there conifur.

OP. Just block him.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View chiseler's profile

chiseler

121 posts in 353 days


#8 posted 06-05-2016 10:44 AM

As Bondo said..You did nothing wrong,just pre drill for nails and you won’t split out. Next time you want to consider cutting intermediate shelves shallower and nail the back on in one big piece.

Hope this helps

-- Scott.Triangle,NY Becareful and don't forget...They cut meat too!

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

818 posts in 385 days


#9 posted 06-05-2016 01:56 PM

zipzit,

My approach for a 10’ tall case built using sheet goods would be to build two or three separate boxes that are then stacked and screw or glue together the top/bottom of the boxes to form the center shelves and complete the tower. If the center shelves would become too thick with ¾” plywood, 3/8” or ½” plywood could be used for the top and bottom of the separate boxes. Once the tower is constructed, the plywood edging and any veneer work would then be done. If the joint on the outside of the case where the boxes meet is troublesome, some moulding could hide the joint while dressing up the bookcases.

Alternatively, a hardwood hanging rail or two (upper and lower) could provide the meeting joint of the hardboard. A bookcase this tall and shallow may be a little tippy and so securing it to a wall could keep it from tipping over. The hanging rail provides the structure required to secure the units to the wall. The hardboard, by my way of thinking, would be too weak to hold the cases securely in place against a wall.

If the “lips” spoken of in your original post are rabbets on the back of the shelf edges and the case is glued up, the tongue could be removed with a router and a straight bit. Then the hardboard could be cut to meet at the center of the shelf and glued. I would be concerned that adding weight to hardboard would deflect the hardboard and create a poor glue joint. Therefore, my approach would be to use cauls to apply pressure in the center of the case when gluing the hardboard to the shelves. An occasional book slamming against the back of the bookcase could break the edges of the hardboard if screw or nail heads are the only means of holding the hardboard to the shelves.

View zipzit's profile

zipzit

11 posts in 627 days


#10 posted 06-06-2016 06:41 AM

Many thanks to all for your replies.. I really like this one:


Nail it by hand pre-drill and angle the nails.
- Bondo Gaposis

In fact, I think I’ll drill angled holes in the hardboard for those few edges that face off to internal fixed shelves. Easy to do on my drill press (just angle my existing wooden drill press table, on its cast iron mount) I’ll use a light upholstery hammer on these tacks (and nail set as required…)

The primary purpose of the nails is to hold the hardboard in place until the glue dries. As for books pushing out the hardboard, I left the hardboard about 1/32” proud of the plywood sides and fixed shelves. The system is designed to be ‘pushed’ hard against the drywall. I have always intended securing the bookcase to the wall at the top fixed shelf (from the top… I did leave a 6” gap up there) I’ve used top mount only on other bookcase installs, and it feels very secure.

Again thanks to all for your ideas here.

Zip.

View Ger21's profile

Ger21

1047 posts in 2596 days


#11 posted 06-06-2016 02:35 PM

Cut the shelves so that the back goes right across them. If it’s too tall for a 1 piece back, use multiple pieces for the back, with the seams in the center of the shelfs. You can drive nails right through the seams, as long as the joint is tight.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

3926 posts in 2708 days


#12 posted 06-06-2016 05:45 PM

I have a thing about hard board. You will find it on the backs of CHEAP store bought furniture. Quality furniture will have a plywood back. That is my only comment.

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

651 posts in 405 days


#13 posted 06-06-2016 05:59 PM

If you don’t have a brad nailer, now’s a good time to invest in one ;) Or, use cauls across the back where the shelves are located and just glue and clamp. It should hold without any issues.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View WoodCrafts67's profile

WoodCrafts67

23 posts in 189 days


#14 posted 06-06-2016 06:08 PM

I used panel pins on my last one I built :) by hand with a tacking hammer.. Since then I have got a brad nailer :)

-- WoodCrafts 67

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


#15 posted 06-06-2016 06:22 PM

Another tip for pre-drilling for finish nails: Cut the head off of one nail and use that for a drill bit. The hole will be exactly the right size and a little bit short. That allows the nail to bite in as you drive it. I never would have believed you could use a nail for a drill bit, until I tried it. It works amazingly well and will make you wonder why you spend money on quality drill bits.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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