What materials to use for closet shelving unit

We are building a built-in shelving unit in a walk-in closet in our old Victorian.
I would like to use high quality materials in keeping with the style of the house. We plan to paint the shelves.
What type of "wood" would you recommend? 1. Birch plywood with edge banding 2. Real wood (e.g., Poplar, Maple, Pine) -- if so which one? 3. Melamine (Are there high quality version or is it always somewhat flimsy and cheapo) 4. Other
Also, what would you use for the backing?
Thanks
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Plywood is probably the strongest and least likely to warp. You could use edge banding or bicuit on a strip of wood in the front.

Maple is too nice (and too expensive) to paint. Poplar is harder that pine. .

Only stuff I'm familiar with is OK, but not as nice as wood, IMO. But it is easier to clean and never needs painting. I'd consider it if it was behind doors, but it is not in keeping iwth the Victorian era.

I don' tknow of another that is decent. You want to avoid particleboard.

1/4" birch plywood.

You're welcome
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3+2 IMHO
You can't beat melamine for cleanable finish. Cap the end with the hardwood of your choice (mine would be maple, because it's relatively cheap, very hard available and look good.
You will want to make the cap something like 3/4" deep and 1-1/4" tall depending on the span between supports.
-Steve
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MDF is the product I would use. It paints like a charm and you don't mind throwing it away when you redo the closet for the next "makeover". Keep the spans reasonable and watch your fastners.
Fine HomeBuilding did a complete article on exactly what you are wanting to do. As I recall, they did it with at least three different materials just to show the different methods.(mdf,melamine,wire)
I went ahead and found the article...
It's in the July 1999 issue can be downloaded at: http://www.taunton.com/store/fharchive/index.asp for $3.50.
Search on "closet" and the article is by Gary Katz.
Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

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potentially interesting article:
July 1996 Bookshelf Basics by Bruce Greenlaw A guide to support systems, shelving designs and materials
This article describes the variety of hardware and shelving that can be used to make bookshelves and cases. A sidebar lists sources for hardware, some of them not the usual suspects. The author includes good tips on how much distance shelves can comfortably span.
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I went back and looked over that article...
It will be well worth the $3.50... The guy does an excellent job of describing the three methods. The article also includes excellent pictures.
The FWW and FHB are excllent magazines with great articles. Fine Homebuilding always has somthing of interest in every month they publish. I think they are going to offer their own "Best of Series" on cdrom.
Jeffrey J. Kosowsky wrote:

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Since you are painting, exotic or expensive wood seems pointless, provided the material you choose is relatively stable and easy to work with.
If you think your shelves will carry any significant load, you might want to consider that hardwoods (e.g. Poplar) will support (without drooping) higher loads than softwoods (e.g. Pine) which will support more load than sheet goods (e.g. plywood).
If your design incorporates supplemental shelf support, the above may be moot, but then you might want to consider MDF, which is readily workable and takes paint (after priming) nicely.
/rick.
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If you decide to go the painted plywood route, A-C or B-C grade pine may be less expensive than birch "RickS" <rick --dot-- s --at-- comcast.net> wrote in message wrote...

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Jeff, I used unfinished cedar for closet shelving and the SWMBO just loves the smell when she opens the doors.
Al in WA

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