cheap MDF shelving

I have a 16 month and 7 week old and have been finishing my basement so we have a place for them to play and to get their toys/books out of the way. Basically it a big cage! Anyway, I am building cabinets around about a 1/4 of the room. Its probably a good 25' or 30' of wall space so to keep the cost down I am using MDF for the carcases. My question is:
Is it alright to use MDF for fixed shelving in cabinets that are at most 36" wide or am I going to experience just too much sag?
I can use 3/4" MDF as a backer so that should add to the stiffness. I am also planning on a poplar face frame, but is that enough? These cabinets will problaby be used mostly for books, toys, DVD's, etc. The weight of the books could get substantial but that would be about it.
Any help would be appreciated.
Chuck
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a 36" mdf shelf will sag even if you put nothing on it. You might consider putting supports in the middle.
-Jack

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My shelves are 30" and hold CD's, DVDs, Video, Childrens books, and toys. No sag at 30" w/ 3/4" MDF.

Don't forget to strap/screw/attach these to the wall! My toddler decided to scale a bookcase and it came tumbling down. Fortunately it was pine, not MDF and his Angel placed a side table in just the right spot to stop the bookcase from landing on top of him.
I knew I was supposed to strap these things to the wall - it was just something on on the to-do list that I never got around to do.
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On 24 Jul 2003 13:17:01 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (WoodChuck34) wrote:

OMG, that's a tight pattern! :o

I wouldn't go much past 24~30" for books without support in the middle. Otherwise, for toys, etc. it should be fine. Maybe make one cabinet 24" wide for books and the rest 36"?
Dave
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Check out http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm Check out the notes at the bottom. Especially the part about initial sag and sag over time. If I use mdf for shelves, I generally add 1 1/2" trim to the front and back of the shelf for more stiffness, or I add it to the front and fix the shelf to the back.
Preston

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Check out http://www.pbmdf.com/buyerguide/TBShelving1.htm for MDF shelf spans
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