Bookcase with 11 inch deep shelves

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Forum topic by SteveT posted 12-30-2014 06:40 PM 1651 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SteveT's profile


32 posts in 1482 days

12-30-2014 06:40 PM

Hello, I am new to the forums and look forward to learning from all of you.

I have to come up with a bookcase that has 11 inch (or more) deep shelves and am debating whether to use common 1×12 pine boards or some other material such as plywood. The bookcase is for a kindergarten classroom and will be painted. The 1×12 pine seems easier since I don’t have to worry about gaps in the edges. I could put 3/4 moulding over the plywood edges or perhaps edge banding. I have never used edge banding, so that would be a new experience. I have not found any solid core plywood in the area.

I only have a few days to build and paint this.

Suggestions would be appreciated.

9 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


2017 posts in 3320 days

#1 posted 12-30-2014 06:53 PM

I think you might get a little cupping in that wide a board. But with books on it who will notice? Edge banding is not to hard. I used the heat melt glue type and bought the hand trimmer. Went well. If your shelf is more than 36” long you might want to think about a stiffener along the length to keep the shelf from sagging.

-- Chris K

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3717 days

#2 posted 12-30-2014 07:33 PM

Plywood is your answer. You will have little or no cupping or wood movement

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3469 days

#3 posted 12-30-2014 08:06 PM

I have used the pine boards in the past. Like since the 80’s. It seems more and more, I can’t find decent boards at the big box stores that are ot cupped or maybe bowed. It used to be called white pine. Now I don;t know what it is. “Whitewood” ? :-(

Sayin’ all that, I did build several bookcases for a teacher friend made from the white pine with support strips across the back. Going on four years now and they are still in good shape.
Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2590 days

#4 posted 12-30-2014 09:56 PM

It depends on the span. Plywood deforms easier with weight than solid wood of the same thickness. Books are heavy. There are ways to reinforce plywood w/ solid wood edging. Check out the sagulator to design the shelves properly.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bigblockyeti's profile


5317 posts in 1959 days

#5 posted 12-30-2014 10:04 PM

I would recommend using plywood too, if the span isn’t too great and the weight not too much. The sagulator can be helpful in determining this. Applying molding over the edge should make it look nice too.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2284 days

#6 posted 12-30-2014 10:13 PM

Plywood edged with solid wood would also be an option.

-- paxorion

View SteveT's profile


32 posts in 1482 days

#7 posted 12-31-2014 01:45 AM

I found a solid core plywood at HD tonight. It looks like I should be able to paint the edges as is. I didn’t see any gaps on the sheet I got. Others in the same batch had one or two around the edges. If I find some gaps as I cut, I should be able to orient them to where they won’t be seen.

The total width of the case is only 20” and she is planning on putting 13” deep plastic containers on the shelves and filling them with papers. So the load should not be an issue.

Time to get to work, the pressure is on!! :-) It is not as straight forward as I thought when I signed up for the job. There is some baseboard and window trimming to work around.

We’ll see how it turns out. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

View kdc68's profile


2692 posts in 2515 days

#8 posted 12-31-2014 01:56 AM

Will these be adjustable shelves or fixed shelves attached to the sides with a dado or similar joint? If they are the latter be aware that 3/4” plywood isn’t 3/4”. It usually runs 1/32” undersized (23/32”). Keep that in mind for your joinery method. I recommend some sort of edging as well, just because the raw plywood edge will be more of a challenge to paint (even if the edge is void free).

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3469 days

#9 posted 12-31-2014 02:51 AM

Here’s a thought. If you aren’t going to attach any edge banding to the shelves, be it wood or iron on veneer, you could apply a layer of Bondo to the edges that are exposed. It dries pretty fast and sands smooth. I have used it to fill in knot holes and repair mdf templates where the router got away from me. HD carries it.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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