I'm building a wall length of hanging bookshelves and want to know what
anyone out there would build them with.
The shelves will be adjustable and go to the ceiling so I can continue
my crown molding around them. They will stop short of a desk area and
have recessed lighting to illuminate the workspace.
I plan to use 3/4 inch stock for the casing and shelves and 1/2 for
backing so I can anchor them to the wall. I want to know what kind of
plywood I should use. In doing research I've found that alot of people
use birch plywood. I'm wanting to know if anyone has ever used sanded
pine plywood before? I'm planning on painting the shelves so I'm not
greatly concerned about seeing the wood grain. I just want a nice
Any and all feedback is welcome.
Birch normally is harder and smoother surface than pine. Typically Birch
takes paint very well compared to pine. If you have crown moldings you
probably will not be satisfied with pine. I would paint Birch and or go
with a varnish for a better grade hardwood veneer plywood like oak, maple,
walnut, cherry, etc.
What is standard height for a hanging bookshelf...?
on a 10 x 4 foot L shaped wall I was planning on:
a corner piece 36" H, 24" depth (for the back) and sides 12" deep to
accomodate the 12" depth of all the other pieces.
My other pieces on the long end of the L would be:
24" W... 36" W...24" W...and a 12" W corner piece.
there would be another 24" shelf unit on the other side of the large
The book shelves are going over a corner desk area...so what is the
usual height of a hanging shelf over a desk area? I plan on having
underlighting for the desk.
I guess its all a matter of personal design and preference.
I doubt that there is a really stock answer. Kitchen "uppers" generally go
about 18" above a counter, but counters are higher than a desk and that is a
very differnt kind of work area. Prototype it by proping up a board above
your desk at the proposed height and see how it "feels".
High enough to clear for anything you might put on the desk top. Like
I built the upper cabinets above my desk 22" above the finished desk
top. They are 12" deep. Plenty of room for the monitor and lights
but I can only reach the bottom shelf while seated.
Like Steve suggested, get a 12" wide piece of scrap and hold it up to
see where you like it.
Ditto that. you get what you pay for. Hardwood plywood (including birch) is
also more regular than the pine stuff. That is it is generally flatter and
of more consistent thickness. There is a reason why they call it
I agree that pine plywood would likely yeild an ameturish result.
Do you mean "what would you use to make the face frame?" I would use maple,
because I can get low grade (some heartwood) hard maple for the same price
as poplar and it is much much harder (stronger).
Strength is not really a big issue for a face frame, but the dent resistance
is a bonus.
I would say, get whatever hardwood you can purchase locally at a good price.
On Tue, 15 Aug 2006 09:05:38 -0700, rolsonDesign wrote:
I've used both Birch and Pine. Birch takes paint better, but my most
recent project used some kind of Latin American (South American?) pine
plywood that has worked very well. Still Birch finishes smoother. For
face frames I now rip hardwood to 1.5" wide or just a little less. I
usually keep the shelves under 36" in length to minimize sag. With a 1.5"
face frame and a 0.25" back I have no problems with sagging even with a
full load of Hard backed books.
My favorite shelf is a unit I made entirely of scrap material. 2" Pine
side supports and 36" x 12" stress skin panel shelves made from hardboard
with a 3/4" web. It doesn't look that great, but is light weight, sturdy,
and doesn't sag. There is something about furniture made from left over
scrap that I like.
D. G. Adams
All great input.
I've decided to use 3/4 birch plywood for the carcass and 1/4 birch for
I will need to anchor to studs so I will probably use whatever stock I
get for face framing to build my nailer boards in back.
Are there any tricks to attaching to studs without seeing the screws
and washers in back...I know when the books are in you won't see it
much but I'd like to hide it if I can.
I'd still really suggest the 3/4 MDF. You don't need wood grain if
it's going to be painted, and you'll save a bundle. It is *not*
particle board ala the stuff you buy in those cheap Wal-mart IKEA
knockoffs- it's engineered product almost as strong as plywood, just a
bit heavier. Most custom cabinets you can buy are made of it anyhow,
even on the high end.
Stock for face framing- maple or birch look pretty good painted. Oak
and other open-grained woods tend to show the grain though the paint.
Yep. You can use a french cleat:
or a bracket. I found some at the hardware store that were slightly
narrower than 3/4" and mortised into the backside of a standard shelf.
You screw the bracket to the shelf (or frame, in this case) and then
hang the brackets on screws set into studs or attached with toggle
bolts. Nothing visable at the end of the project, and they're holding
up my coat hooks just fine- even when the wife loads them up until the
hooks look like they're going to snap.
You're painting, and they're stationary? For me, that'd be a no
brainer- I'd use raw MDF. The only extra thing I'd do is add a
hardwood nose on the front of each shelf to help minimize sagging over
time. If you go the sanded plywood route, it won't look half as good
painted, is more expensive, and isn't much stronger.
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