Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

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Nahhh. Prime first, seal it up and raise the slivers, then light sand. Less work and better finish.
Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.
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Thanks to everyone for the advice. I really wanted to avoid MDF but my wife's family were fanatical about me using it so I had to investigate why. thanks for the firepower. I work for a fastener and cutting tools company so I appreciate the concerns raised on fastening.
I invested $25 into Taunton's Built-Ins book for some ideas and and standard sizes to consider.
Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable and Maple is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right? Do all of these have to be finely sanded before primer?
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Maple is stain-able but can be very splotchy. A conditioner helps give a more even look.
Birch and other "Finnish" plywood is finish ready. (pun) Most home store hardwood lumber is ready for paint although a quick rub down with 180 or 220 wouldn't hurt things, and would be a good idea before staining.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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says...

Nobody's mentioned the sagulator <http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm . If you don't want your shelves to sag, use it. Read all the instructions.
You can make it out of solid titanium and it will still sag and fall apart if you didn't get the structural design right.
Maple is not the best choice for stain--it tends to blotch unless you use a pretreatement on it.
For a finish take a look at ML Campbell Magnamax precatalyzed lacquer. Comes clear or you can get it in opaque colors. Really good stuff.
As for MDF, the only _real_ problem is has is that the edges need to be protected or they get bunged up easily. It works fine if you understand it. Take a look in any Scandinavian furniture store and you'll find some rather expensive items made out of veneered MDF with solid edging.. Got a Danish bed in 1979. Other than one spot where I managed to mangle the veneer, it still looks pretty much like it did when I got it. No swelling, no sagging, none of the other horrible things that MDF is supposed to do.
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"The Henchman" wrote:

--------------------------------------- "Poplar" is lumber from the Poplar tree, thus not all lumber is Poplar.
It is easy to machine, including sanding, clear, low cost, stable and a favorite of cabinet makers for painted projects.
SFWIW, if I'm going to paint something, I stop sanding at about 100-120, and start priming.
A few years ago, Norm did a "system" wall design for book cases on New Yankee Workshop.
You modify it to fit your available space.
Serach for Item 0513 and take a look
His set of plans and a DVD for $25 is a heck of a deal for a DIY person.
Having built several NYW projects myself, I can tell you the NYW drawings are complete, very useful, and worth the money.
Have fun.
Lew
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The Henchman wrote:

Poplar. No "u".

Reasonably so. The finished paint job can be no better than the surface to which it is applied (without MASSIVE amounts of work) so the wood should be free of dings and the like. Use a primer that will sand reasonably well - many don't, Zinsser 1-2-3 does - and sand IT baby butt smooth.
--

dadiOH
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I like to hit it with a couple coats of sanding sealer before painting. You can getting it looking like lacquer.
--
Jim in NC


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