Which wood for my bookcases

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Forum topic by paxamus posted 02-16-2014 01:05 AM 824 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View paxamus's profile


3 posts in 2099 days

02-16-2014 01:05 AM

Hey guys,

I need some help, I can’t decide what to make a set if small bookcases out of. They will be in our living room, painted white to match the mantle, trim, and mouldings. Should I go with birch plywood, a nice pine ply, oak? I am torn and need some help. Any input greatly appreciated


6 replies so far

View graywolf's profile


63 posts in 2660 days

#1 posted 02-16-2014 01:19 AM

If your going to paint it just do the pine or if available use poplar.
Good luck and post some pics of the finished product

-- Richard, North Carolina,

View pmayer's profile


1026 posts in 3032 days

#2 posted 02-16-2014 01:38 AM

I would suggest birch ply as it takes paint quite well and is generally reasonably priced. If you are adding a solid wood face frame you could use birch, maple, or poplar if it is cheaper in your area. All of these are durable and take paint well. I’d stay away from knotty pine as the knots would need to be sealed, and I would also avoid oak because the graininess of the wood makes it a less desirable wood for a painted project (either of these would work, but would require more prep than the other choices).

-- PaulMayer,

View bannerpond1's profile


397 posts in 1865 days

#3 posted 02-16-2014 01:52 AM

Don’t pay for oak and then paint it. Poplar would be my choice, but I’d use plywood to keep from having bowed shelves from the weight of the books.

-- --Dale Page

View woodman88's profile


144 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 02-16-2014 06:01 PM

I also would opt for Birch ply and poplar which is abundant in my area and paints well.If not in your area reasonable I would use Maple

View paxamus's profile


3 posts in 2099 days

#5 posted 02-16-2014 07:41 PM

Thanks guys. Looks like I’ll be using birch ply, and some trim or edge banding for the edges. Thanks for all the quick replies. I’ll post up pics in a week or so when I get them together and painted. Thanks again

View bondogaposis's profile


4683 posts in 2318 days

#6 posted 02-16-2014 08:46 PM

I’d go with poplar for painted projects for 2 reasons. One, you don’t have hide the ends of it like you do w/ plywood; and two, it is not resinous or knotty like cheap pine. A third choice would be clear pine but that will likely cost more than the poplar depending on your local sources. Books are heavy and plywood shelves nearly always have to be reinforced with solid wood to keep them from sagging. In the end it is better to just use solid wood for at least the shelves.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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