How big can a shelf be before it needs to be supported?

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Forum topic by Phiz posted 01-17-2012 03:39 AM 1110 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2437 days

01-17-2012 03:39 AM

One more question, before I actually start finalizing the design of my bookcase.

I was planning on just making a dado for the shelves and reinforcing it with screws or dowels. The shelves will be 3’ x 1’ (originally 2×1 but apparently I misheard the dimensions my wife wanted) , and the sides of the bookcase will probably by 3/4”. I am thinking they will all be oak.

At what point do I need to support the shelves? Will they just tear out of the wood when they are loaded with books?

-- - Jeff

3 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10276 posts in 3616 days

#1 posted 01-17-2012 04:07 AM

You’ll probably be fine with dados and oak. Loaded heavily a 36”
3/4” oak span at 12” deep may visibly sag a bit if loaded with heavy
books, but it won’t tear out of dados. Add a 1.5” wide board to
the front of the shelf to stiffen it and sag will not be a problem.

View bondogaposis's profile


4687 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 01-17-2012 04:16 AM

Well books are heavy and 1/16” deflection will be visible. For 36” I would add front lip That is 1” wide and I believe that will add enough stiffness so that there will be visible deflection.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View quartrsawn's profile


146 posts in 3181 days

#3 posted 01-17-2012 04:48 AM

Checkout the Sagulator @ .

-- Nat - West Sayville,L.I., NY

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