Ply vs. hard for hanging bookshelf...

This group must get tons of this type of questions :)
I'm building a hanging bookshelf. I've been told that using hardwood would take me a gazillion times longer to make than using plywood. Though with hardwood, there'd be no need for a face frame since there's no grain to hide :).
Any suggestions? The rest of the office is make-believe Mapple (Danish style) desk and make-believe-maple bookshelves (Ikea).
Thanks again.
-Ed
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You got me.... no planar and no joiner :)
-Ed

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You will have to suit yourself in the long run. For smaller bookshelves, solid wood is doable with regard to cost and more esthetically pleasing in my book. However, my preference for larger books shelves of any type is a good grade, lumber core plywood, face frames for the carcass, and edge banding for the plywood shelves ... you will find plywood much more dimensionally stable on larger projects over the long run, particularly until you get the hang of design and joinery techniques that take into account wood movement.
IMO, you should learn to do FF's and not shy away from them. Use pocket hole joinery, biscuits, or dowels for the FF if M&T joinery is currently out of the question for you. You will be glad you learned how to do this simple method as FF's are the jumping off point for much more sophisticated designs in cabinetry.
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Last update: 7/17/03
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Charlie Self wrote:

Personally, I use plywood. Don't use luaun unless you have a really good tweezers for digging out all the splinters you're gonna get. The Shelving surface is typically hidden with all the junk/books/whatever you're gonna put on it. So you don't have to overboard with a pretty surface. That being said I typically use birch plywood and finish with Watco natural and poly. I have faced with Jatoba and Black Walnut (most recently). Depending on the run of the shelf, you will have to provide lateral support. The last two steps could be omitted with solid wood. If I were going to make a solid wood shelf, I would seriously considering ripping it up and then putting it back together because of warpage, twist, etc. - depending on the board species, thickness, grain, final measurements, etc.
Plywood! As thick as you can find.
Mark from Pasadena, MD
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