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Shelf Strength

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Forum topic by Tig1242 posted 792 days ago 2280 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tig1242

14 posts in 897 days


792 days ago

I am looking at building a bookshelf 3’ wide. I am concerned about shelf sag, so what would be the strongest wood, ply wood, MDF or something else?

Do I need to put in a center support column so the shelves would be only 1.5” on each side?

Thanks


10 replies so far

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1008 posts in 921 days


#1 posted 792 days ago

The Sagulator is your friend!

I used 3/4 inch, 11-ply birch plywood for the wide shelves in our kitchen cabinets. They all got “faced” with 3/4×3/4 maple. That facing was more for looks as I don’t have edge banding, but the hard maple will add even more sag resistance. The 3/4 plywood by itself has real good numbers though.

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tenontim

2131 posts in 2379 days


#2 posted 792 days ago

For 3’ shelves, 3/4” lumber or plywood will be strong enough, especially a hardwood like oak, maple, ash, etc. If your bookcase is going to have a back, you can cut a dado into the back or put screws through it, into the shelves to give extra support to the shelves,

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Tig1242

14 posts in 897 days


#3 posted 792 days ago

Thanks Guys!

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1604 days


#4 posted 792 days ago

Tenontim is right, attach the shelves to the back with screws to eliminate any chance of sagging

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1008 posts in 921 days


#5 posted 792 days ago

I have adjustable shelves. Kinda hard to screw them in from the back when the cabinet is screwed to the wall. :)
Sagulator is an awesome tool… hehehe

View AndyDuframe's profile

AndyDuframe

48 posts in 2224 days


#6 posted 791 days ago

I’ve always liked the method of attaching a hardwood band or apron across the front of the bookshelf. This makes it almost impossible for the shelf to sag. Plus, this is just about the only way to add support to an adjustable shelf.

-- http://www.ezwoodshop.com

View MonteCristo's profile

MonteCristo

2095 posts in 823 days


#7 posted 791 days ago

Personally I would put a center support on a 3ft span. Maybe stiffening the back side of the shelf as described will do but why risk it, especially if the shelf will store a bunch of hardback coffee table type books that are really heavy.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1485 days


#8 posted 791 days ago

I agree that 36” is a mighty long span.

You could edge your shelves with 3/4×1 1/2 or 1 1/4 stock, front and back, and they’d be great, but you’re adding some look of mass there that would have to blend right with the carcase.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4119 posts in 1491 days


#9 posted 791 days ago

Just put a lip on it

So it looks like a capital L

Larger the lip the larger the span that

is possible

jamie

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1008 posts in 921 days


#10 posted 791 days ago

3/4 inch shelf faced with 5/8×1-1/4 walnut. This is for a 33 inch shelf that will hold a microwave on one shelf and cookbooks on the top shelf…

I haven’t put a finish on this piece yet. It does add some mass, but this hutch will sit on top of an inch and a quarter walnut counter top so it should look fine. :)

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