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Forum topic by EricM posted 09-18-2013 06:59 AM 1187 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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EricM

7 posts in 464 days


09-18-2013 06:59 AM

Hey, I’ve been lurking on this site for a few years now and finally joined today! I’ve always found the help and inspiration i’ve needed in the past simply by searching through all of the excellent threads and projects on here. This time, however, I cannot seem to find the information i need to help with my built-in shelving/cabinet project I will be starting here soon for my 8 year old daughter.

The shelving/cabinet unit is going against the end wall in a bonus room above the garage, so the walls on each side are sloped downward with a single window on the back wall between them. So, here is my question. I have about a dozen 10 foot long x 15 inch wide melamine covered particle board shelves that are just taking up space in my garage that i thought I would repurpose for this built in project. I know i can, and probably should, use plywood, but these are free and I like the ease of cleanup the melamine provides. My dilema is how to attach the shelves to the angled sides of the unit. Pocket screws are what i’ve come up with, but not sure if there is something that would work better. Here’s a drawing of what I’m planning:

Sorry for the bad drawing. I tried to do it in Google Sketchup but couldn’t figure out what i was doing! lol

-- "I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead" - Jimmy Buffett


25 replies so far

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rrww

263 posts in 864 days


#1 posted 09-18-2013 11:35 AM

I’m not a built-in expert.

I don’t know how big these shelves are, or how much they are intended to hold, but I don’t think pocket screws have enough strength in the particle board. Cleats are going to be ugly. Depending on how you are building it – can you screw through the outside (from the roof towards your shelf) to secure the shelf? If the backing is more than 1/4 inch you could screw through the backing into the shelf for more support. Again it depends on the size.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1720 days


#2 posted 09-18-2013 12:15 PM

Pocket screws would do it but do you want to be looking at the ugly holes underneath the top shelves?

Better to screw it together from the sides and put a plain panel on the ends facing into the window to cover up the screw heads. Then cover the two front edges with either a painted slip or wide iron on edging.

If you assemble it in three pieces would the side pieces go up the stairs and in to the room? – or would you need to assemble in the room?

In either case, if I were doing it I’d get the outside of the carcase put together first, get the sides and bottom square, attach the back and then put in the shelves so it won’t go out of shape screwing into the angled shelf edges. If you have any break out showing in the melamine, use a bit of shelf coloured paint to wipe into the chips to cover it up.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15807 posts in 2969 days


#3 posted 09-18-2013 12:50 PM

I would add vertical supports to create a few extra cubby-holes.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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EricM

7 posts in 464 days


#4 posted 09-18-2013 03:04 PM

Thanks for the repies, i knew you guys woukd come through! I really didn’t like the idea of pocket screws on the shelves, but i wasn’t sure what other methods would be best. The entire thing will be built in three sections, consisting of the two shelving units and the window seat, and brought into the room for installation. I like the idea of screwing the shelves in from the outside, but was worried about pulling everything out of square. Putting the back panel on first would definately help in that regard though! I hadn’t thought of that. I also like the idea of using a thicker back and screwing the shelves in through the back for extra support as the shelves will be 3 1/2 feet wide.

My original design contained a vertical support in the middle of all but the top shelf so that those small square cloth type storage bins could be used to keep the clutter look minimized but i got outvoted by my wife and daughter. They both like the completely open shelf look. Of course, that left me trying to figure out a way to install the shelves on the angled side and still have proper support of the shelf.

So, if i screw through the outside of the carcass into the shelving unit, would it be worthwhile to buy some of that RooGlue or other melamine type glue to use in the joints on the inside, or would the screws suffice? Also, typically I just use course thread drywall screws when I deal with fiberboard, but i’ve never done anything of this size with the fiberboard before. Would I be better suited buying a different type of screw for this project?

Thanks again for all the help so far!

-- "I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead" - Jimmy Buffett

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Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1601 days


#5 posted 09-18-2013 03:42 PM

Hi Eric—

Screwing into the end/edge of the particle board won’t do anything more than locate it, and it runs a high risk of blowing the material apart at which time the joint is useless. The proper fastener for this joint is the Confirmat and that requires an expensive drill bit and the screws aren’t free. At that point, you have learned something, and are about to learn even more: that a butt joint in particle board with the proper screw is still a butt joint in particle board.

No need to thicken the back of the unit for strength; all you need is 1/4 inch material and yes, gluing with Roo glue is helpful in melamine – to – wood as well as wood – to – wood joints.

You need a mechanical joint here; fasteners will not work. That is why I’m 100% with Charlie.

One option that has not been discussed here is a face frame which would cover up the cleats pretty well. With cleats you’d have a good mechanical joint. In fact, instead of cleats, you could infill the angled ends with full cut pieces and cover all the edges with a faceframe. The angled walls of the piece would be double thickness. Yeah. I like that!

One question: How deep is this whole thing?

Oh, and if you have to argue for the vertical supports Charlie wisely suggested, try this: “You don’t see the shelf, you see the stuff on it. The vertical members will tend to disappear from view once there are objects on the shelves.”

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 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1720 days


#6 posted 09-18-2013 03:50 PM

I put all my 3/4 melamine casework together with Spax 4×50 chipboard screws – but you may want 60mm screws into the angled edges. Drill a 3mm pilot into the shelf edges for a 4mm screw. To make sure it doesn’t move when you’re putting it together, cut two spacer blocks you can put between the shelf below and the shelf you’re fixing.

If you want to be sure it won’t come apart, use contact cement as well.

Edit: I respectfully disagree with Lee, confirmats are not absolutely necessary for particle board, you won’t be climbing on it after all will you?

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Howie

2656 posts in 1674 days


#7 posted 09-18-2013 03:59 PM

Charlie and Lee have given good points and advice. By using a full face frame you don’t have to worry about the shelves sagging.
I would seriously look at NOT attaching the unit to the slopes. Only on top of the cabinets. Just my .02.

-- Life is good.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1720 days


#8 posted 09-18-2013 04:19 PM

^Charlie and Lee have given good points and advice. ergo, ignore everyone else.

Typical.

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CudaDude

122 posts in 1059 days


#9 posted 09-18-2013 04:53 PM

While I don’t have anywhere near enough experience to comment on the best way of joining the shelves to the unit, I will say that I think a full face frame would definitely look better.

-- Gary

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1601 days


#10 posted 09-18-2013 04:56 PM

Edit: I respectfully disagree with Lee, confirmats are not absolutely necessary for particle board, you won’t be climbing on it after all will you?

Valid point, renners. I only meant to convey that, in my view, Confirmats are the best engineered threaded fastener for PB. Other systems work, for sure.

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"

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Howie

2656 posts in 1674 days


#11 posted 09-18-2013 05:06 PM

Wow

-- Life is good.

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AlaskaGuy

823 posts in 1060 days


#12 posted 09-18-2013 08:02 PM

Agree, comfirmat screws

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Grandpa

3206 posts in 1426 days


#13 posted 09-18-2013 08:50 PM

what if you took the supports suggested and changed them just a little to fit under the slope for support then you could cover them on the face with another board. It would work much the same as they have suggested but you could hide them and no one would ever know how you supported the shelves.

View EricM's profile

EricM

7 posts in 464 days


#14 posted 09-19-2013 02:31 AM

I will be doing a face frame around the boarder and the cabinet areas, but don’t you think it might overwhelm the appearance of the shelves if I included the face frame on the front of the shelves as well? Also, I like Lee’s idea of instead of using cleats, infilling the angled ends with full cut pieces and covering all the edges with the faceframe.

I’m kind of also worried about the 3 1/2 foot length x 15” width of the longer shelves and the potential that they may have to sag over time. I sort of reworked the design a bit and went ahead and included some vertical supports (even though I will have to sell that idea to my wife and daughter). The top vertical support will actually help support the shelf under it. Here’s the reworked design:

The vertical support for the top shelf is probably not necessary, but adds to the overall design I think. What do you think?

-- "I'd rather die while I'm living than live while I'm dead" - Jimmy Buffett

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15807 posts in 2969 days


#15 posted 09-19-2013 03:03 AM

Hey renners, for what it’s worth, I’d trust your advice over my own any day of the week.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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