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Shelf Pins or Cleats?

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Forum topic by Scottlj posted 40 days ago 348 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scottlj

11 posts in 315 days


40 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: hutch dining room hutch shelf pins vs cleats sag shelf sag

So I’m about to build a hutch, (just the top part), something like this…

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=158683377034&set=pb.122194647034.-2207520000.1396749315.&type=3&theater

or this…
http://homepages.sover.net/~buckholl/4sbop.jpg

Planning on using good pine to try to match the long ago purchased bottom part. Going to use 4/4 for all the parts, but was thinking 5/4 for the shelves. The span will be 54” This will be mostly for display items; probably no more than 20lbs, maximum of 40 per shelf.

Any ideas on if shelf pins alone and 5/4 pine will be ok for that span? Or are cleats best? or is that really too long a span and I need to put in a center divider? It looks like others have gone that far without a center piece.

According to this sag calculator…
http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm

...it seems like it should be fine either way. In fact, it looks like I could go to a couple hundred pounds according to this calculator, which seems excessive, but anyway, just for some plates and display pieces I’m hoping shelf pins are fine.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Scott


10 replies so far

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

1745 posts in 788 days


#1 posted 40 days ago

I would think that the sag calculator is accurate, however if possible to add support, it can’t hurt.
I just made a 48” wide tv cabinet for my daughter, with two shelves, red pine, and added supports the full length of the shelf. http://lumberjocks.com/projects/101338

The top shelf has support from the face frame glued to it, and a 1X3 glued and screwed to the back edge. ( can be seen in photo 4 )
The shelf in the lower cabinet is similar, has the 1X3 in the back, and another in the front – but flat up against the bottom 1” back from the front, with a molded front edge for a decorative effect.

Hope this helps.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

4744 posts in 1174 days


#2 posted 40 days ago

Cleats

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15651 posts in 2815 days


#3 posted 40 days ago

If it was a bookshelf, I’d tell you to use support in the center, but I think you’re fine for knick-knacks and such. You’re more likely, IMO, to have problems with a solid wood shelf twisting, warping, or cupping than you are with it sagging.

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

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

271 posts in 1446 days


#4 posted 39 days ago

I’d go 3/4 ply with a 1” front edge trim to cover the edge and give extra strength to the shelf

View Shawn Masterson's profile (online now)

Shawn Masterson

1240 posts in 545 days


#5 posted 39 days ago

Heres where I am. If the unit is 54” wide then the back panel is going to be in 2 pieces. I personally have always used pins for the adjustability.
I have never had any problems with weight. Since you will have a 2 piece back make the batten strip solid 3/4” material and put pins in the back center. I have never used anything but 3/4” plywood with a facer. The pins in the back will support the back and the facer will keep the front from sagging.

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Scottlj

11 posts in 315 days


#6 posted 39 days ago

The back panel is going to be joined boards. Hoping to use all solid word boards, except maybe for the totally unseen top to close off the open top. Was originally going to use dowels to join the back boards, (because I’ve already got a doweling jig), but thinking it may be hard to cinch those up quickly and clamp. (So maybe an excuse to buy a biscuit joiner! : )

I suppose I could use ply for the shelves with a face frame strip, but again, was hoping to use all solid wood boards. Hence considering a 5/4 board for the shelf as that’s going to be fairly solid. I suppose I can just do that, and if over time it ends up being a problem, I can replace with ply and face frame.

This piece is going on top of an existing piece. So I’m trying to do the whole thing with similar pine and my best shot and matching the stain. It likely won’t be perfect, but with typical medium “dinner” light in the room, goal is to be close enough that most wont notice.

Will have to talk to the “boss” again about shelf sizes. If she’s SURE about two heights, I’ll cleat them then as that seems more secure.

Good tips! Thanks.

View Buckethead's profile (online now)

Buckethead

1893 posts in 466 days


#7 posted 39 days ago

Joined and glued back? That seems like a whole heap of potential wood movement. I think that’s why tongue and groove or ship lapped boards are used for backs. I would reconsider a 54” wide glue up.

I could be wrong. :-)

Good luck!

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

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Scottlj

11 posts in 315 days


#8 posted 39 days ago

Good point. I’ve got a router and table, so I suppose I could try that.

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Scottlj

11 posts in 315 days


#9 posted 39 days ago

Ahhhh… ok… so here’s what might be an amusing follow-up…

“How the heck to you join ship lap boards!” : )

I’ve been searching a bit online and getting seemingly ambiguous answers. Some say you put in one nail in center of length, and the bottom/tops are in frames? Or screwed into stiles?

What do you guys do? I really want something with actual pine boards rather than cheat and use ply.

View Buckethead's profile (online now)

Buckethead

1893 posts in 466 days


#10 posted 39 days ago

They float. You can nail them into the sides, top and bottom, but leave just a fraction of space for expansion. The danger of ship laps is if the wood bows. You are using pine, so I’d consider that. This is why I see tongue and groove as the best option. Unless your going to pin the boards to the back side of the shelf/shelves. That would minimize bowing/warping.

I admire that you’re taking on this project. Do keep us posted, and take pictures as you go.

By the way, you could mill tongue and groove with your router, and it doesn’t need to be milled as deeply as the stuff you buy. Just a quarter inch or so.

-- Bucket, any person that spends 10k on a bicycle is guaranteed to be a $@I almost started to like you. -bhog

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