building material??


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 surface.
Any and all feedback is welcome.
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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.
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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 corner piece.
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.
Leon wrote:

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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".
-Steve
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wrote:

High enough to clear for anything you might put on the desk top. Like a monitor.
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.
Mike O.
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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 "cabinet-grade" plywood.
I agree that pine plywood would likely yeild an ameturish result.
-Steve
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What do you usually face frame it with? I've heard 1x2 poplar is common...again...its going to be painted to match the trim of the rest of the room.
C&S wrote:

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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.
-Steve
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On Tue, 15 Aug 2006 19:07:34 GMT, "Leon"

You'd pay $100+ a sheet for cherry ply to *paint* it?
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I think if you read carefully, he said he would "go with a varnish" for the higher-end plywoods.
todd
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Yep- my apologies. I had the OP's statement that he was going to paint them in mind, and must have run right past the varnish comment.
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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
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All great input.
I've decided to use 3/4 birch plywood for the carcass and 1/4 birch for the backing.
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.
dgadams wrote:

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wrote:

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:
http://www.newwoodworker.com/frenchcleat.html
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.
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wrote:

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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Yeah but does MDF hold screws as well as plywood?
Prometheus wrote:

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