Built-in Bookcase material

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Forum topic by saltcod posted 04-11-2015 04:32 PM 828 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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69 posts in 1175 days

04-11-2015 04:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bookcase mdf plywood

Hey all!

I want to build in a large bookcase(s) into my wife’s basement office. It’ll be about the size of these here:

I’m wondering about what material to use. I’ll be painting the bookcases white, just like in that link. Here’s my options:

1. 3/4 MDF. It’s the cheapest 3/4 material out there. I can put a solid wood face frame around it and I should be good to go. I’m worried about the finish, durability and strength though. About $40/sheet locally.

2. 3/4 G1S Birch plywood. This is more expensive, and may be more work to make look good (sanding, filling holes, etc). $55 / sheet

3. 3/4 birch/oak/whatever plywood — no “good side”. The cheapest of the plywood. $45-50 / sheet

Thoughts on what material I should use for a wall-long built-in?



1 reply so far

View BroncoBrian's profile


535 posts in 1981 days

#1 posted 04-11-2015 05:16 PM

I would use the birch ply. Cheaper plywood will chip along the cuts pretty easily. Birch should not unless you are not careful.

MDF is tough on tools, nasty dust, and heavy. I would not build cabinets with it unless you use it for unfinished interior shelves with a softened edge. MDF needs kilz to prime it is you want the paint to stick. Actually a god primer for any ply, but MDF just does not soak in paint like wood.

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