I've just finished a 36"x24"x12" bookshelf made out of birch ply and I was
looking for ideas on how to wall mount it. It is *quite* heavy while empty
(20-30 lbs) so I figure its "full" weight will be 50-70 lbs. I want to use
2-4 lag screws drilled into the wall studs to mount this thing. Is there
any reason I can't do that? This shelf isn't moving anytime soon so
"French cleats" seem like overkill. On the other hand, if just using lag
screws puts the shelf at risk of failure, then I'm open to more involved
French cleats will tend to distribute the load to the wall more evenly, and
give you a better chance of success.
And I'm thinking that you ought to weigh the things you think you might
load onto the shelf. Quite probably, you are underestimating the loaded
Another possible solution might be to attach a finished ledger
board to the wall studs with screws and the plug the holes. Probably
1 x 3/4 oak would do. The shelf could sit on this and the ledger would
take most of the weight.
The problem is that if you have to ask, you may not have taken safe hanging
into your design?
French cleats are ideal for hanging casework as long as they are integrated
into the design of the piece. If you didn't incorporate them into your
original design, they can be less than satisfactory as they are strongest
when one of the halves is integrated into the back of the casework in the
place of the usual screw strip.
On heavy case work that is designed to be hung, I use top and bottom French
cleat halves in place of the usual screw strips. AAMOF, it is not a bad
practice to bevel the bottom edge of ALL your screws strips so as to leave
the option open for French cleat mounting if the necessity arises.
As long as you did some prior planning, and properly integrated screw
strip(s) into the back of your casework, there is no reason why lag screws
through the case back, screw strips, and into studs will not suffice .... it
is done all the time with kitchen cabinets.
The full weight is probably more than your estimate if it is going to be
loaded with books.
Did you design the unit with hanging in mind? I just have the thoughts of a
bookcase back made from 1/8" Masonite staying lagged tot he wall while the
rest of the unit ends up on the floor. If you have a strong back mounting
strip or two, the lags will hold it.
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