I am building some built-in bookshelves in my living room and was
wanting to know the best way to attach them to the wall. The
bookshelves will be resting on a bench that is about 19 inches high and
about 19 inches deep. I've already installed the bench (which will
have a row of drawers). The bench case is made out of 3/4 birch
plywood and then topped by tongue and grooved yellow pine to match the
flooring. The bookshelves will rest on this.
Again, the base is about 19 inches deep and the bookshelves I will
build will be normal depth (11.5" deep + facing). I am planning on
backing the bookshelves with 1/4" beadboard plywood.
Should I hang the beadboard to the wall and paint it first? It really
doesn't seem like screwing through the beadboard into a stud will be
the kind of support I want.
One sturdy way to solve your attachment problem is to install a ledger
strip to the rear of the carcase. The ledger should be about 3" by 3/4"
and glued and nailed to the carcase, it can be installed either in
front or behind the bead board back. Then locate the wall studs and you
will be able to run a screw through the ledger and into the stud. The
main weight of the carcase will be carried by your bench, the ledger
will serve to hold the the bookcase against the wall (ie prevent
For a bookshelf that is going to be about 7' tall (above and beyond the
bench), it seems that one ledger strip near the top would hold? I'm
thinking poplar for the entire thing, as it will be painted the color
of the trim. I could use a 1x2 for the ledger strip?
A 1" by 2" poplar ledger would work however I prefer a wider one as it
lets you install more than one screw per stud You also could install a
second ledger below a fixed middle shelf. The load of the books will be
carried by the bench, you only have to overcome the tendacy to tip
Now that I think about it, a 1x4 size will look fairly decent as well.
It will all be painted. Thanks a bunch for your input. I suppose I
will have to notch out each section of bookshelving where that strip
runs across the back.
You do not need to notch out the side panels of the cases but rather
size the length of the ledger to fit precisely the distance between the
two inner faces and you can nail through the sides into the ends of the
ledger along with nailing through the top..
Depending on the exact design/layout, you might consider
screwing a strip to the studs just *above* the top of the
book shelves. Then fasten the book shelves to the strip.
You might even use some kind of quick-release fastener.
You don't need massive strength just to prevent tipping,
even in an earthquake zone.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
I have some bookshelves that are similiar.. The unit rests on the floor
instead of a bench.
The unit is 64" wide and 7' feet high. I used a 1/4" plywood board as
a back My shelves were fixed instead of adjustable, so I stapled the
back to the shelves as well as the vertical sides/middle. I ended up
putting two screws in the top through the 1/4 plywood just as a little
insurance from tipping. It's pretty solid, since the back is firmly
attacked to the unit.
Remember that the screws really aren't bearing any weight, they are
just there to prevent tipping. I think that's plenty strong, but maybe
someone else has a better idea.
I was thinking about using the strips from more of a
countersink/woodputty route. I dunno how much you can countersink a
screw in 1/4 beadboard plywood. Maybe you'd never see it anyway. This
section of shelving is 14' 6" long, and I will probably build it in
three or four sections, or more (I might make one colume into more
cubbyhole type shelves). I have a layout of this drawn up, but am just
not completely pleased with it yet.
On my shelves, I made the back slightly taller than the unit (Maybe
So I was able to drill the screws in over the "top", and thus they are
The plan was to eventually build a crown molding top for it, but that
got pushed to the end of the priorities, so it may never happen.
Anyhow, the screws are not visible, because the unit is 7' high and the
top blocks the view of them. Just a thought you might be able to use.
I'm with you now. That would seem to work. Mine will be fairly high
as well, and hell, since I'm barely 5'9 I will never notice! I don't
plan on crown molding, but will probably top the piece with the 5" pine
boards like the floors and have them overhang the unit by about a 1/4
inch on the two visable sides (this unit sits in a corner, so only the
front and left sides will be visable. Thanks!
The tall bookcase is resting on the floor, and screwed into the side
wall and layout benchwork (which is screwed into the studs on that wall).
The smaller bookcase is screwed into the big bookcase, and will be
attached to another smaller bookcase to its left (once it is built).
This will continue all the way to the left corner of the room, where it
will be anchored again into the side wall.
These bookcases are rock solid. Even my weight pulling against them
can't get them to budge.
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