TIPS: building a shelf

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What are your tips building a shelf?

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

like this one?

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Make it look straight even if it’s not. Ha!

Use any mismatched edge banding and paint only the edge. Often it’s a beautiful contrast. Depends on the context, of course.

Losing fingers since 1969

that’s beautiful, Ianwater

yes, Brian — make it look straight. ha.. love it.

support in the middle is important if it is long and going to hold something heavy. Oh how I hate sagging shelves.

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Have you tried this…. Screw a 2×4 on edge to the wall, build a hollow box with an opening along one edge that will slide over that board. You will need long screws or drill holes thru before putting the screws in, and, voila you have a floating shelf! If you are good at making boxes this will be a snap. If you make a few you can stagger them on a wall as a decorative theme. You can vary the width and length but the thickness has to fit over the 1 3/4" thick 2×4. You can also vary the materials or color as well to match the trim or room decor.

CHRIS, Charlottetown PEI Canada. Anytime you can repurpose, reuse, or recycle, everyone wins!

The biggest potential problem with shelves (besides them falling over on you) is sagging. No matter how well secured or supported shelves are on the ends, a shelf that is too thin and/or not strong enough for it’s intended use will sag and look terrible. Sagging can also be caused by a too wide shelf that is inadequately supported. Book shelves are perhaps the most demanding when it comes to strength and I think that many underestimate the tremendous weight of books or magazines and the stress they put on shelves and I think this also holds true, though to a lesser extent for dinnerware storage for our fine chinaware which can also be pretty heavy. So if you are building a bookshelf or china cupboard it is better to error on the safe side with thicker stronger stock than needed than too thin. Ianwater’s shelves are an excellent example of proper thickness and widths for books.

Mike, an American living in Norway

Spot on, mike. I usually rabbet the shelves in. Support on 3 sides helps a lot.

Losing fingers since 1969

Here is a link the “Sagulator” for calculating shelf sag.

Bondo Gaposis