I put up 3 18"x96" shelves in my basement.
Each shelf is a frame of 2x4s, covered with 1/4" plywood. They are securely
screwed to the wall in the back.
In the front all I have is a 2x4 support screwed to the each side.
It looks like a pretty long unsupported shelf, but when I lean about 80
pounds on it right in the middle at the front (presumably the worst possible
place) there is no noticable deflection.
They will hold no more than 150 pounds each, fairly evenly distributed.
Are they sturdy enough, or should I add another support in the middle? It
would make putting the big bins (full of my son's scouting gear; 4 sleeping
bags seems excessive, but what do I know) up more difficult, but is
certainly better than having it break.
I don't have a feel for this, but thats not enough to shut me up.
How about: Compromise and put in a middle support for the lowest
shelf. Will that make putting in the bins more difficult? Then put
the heaviest stuff on the lowest shelf.
A 2x4 spanning 8 feet will be just fine for anything that doesn't
bow or buckle 1/4 ply.
If the shelves show signs of bowing, you can always add a center 1
x 2 face nailed to the 2 x4 s some other day.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
With total load W = 8M/L and L" length and bending moment M = fS and
max fiber stress f = 1000 psi and modulus S = bd^2/6 and b" width and
d" depth, W = 8fbd^2/(6L) = 8x1000x1.5x3.5^2/(6x8x12) = 255 pounds.
A 2x4 supporting half the shelf might fail with 510 pounds on the shelf.
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