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).
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
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
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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