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Old 01-23-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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Basic woodworking question...


Hello, I am new to the forum. Been reading the posts for a while so I decided to join. I also have a basic woodworking question. I am building a book shelf to put in the knee walls of a cape cod style house. I will be using 3/4 birch plywood to make the case and shelf. I will be glueing and nailing the shelves. The question is will glue and nails be strong enough to support the shelf? The unit is small about 48" wide x 32" high. This will be in a Play room for my daughter, so I don't want her to take a step on it and it come crashing down...

Thanks for any insight.....
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Old 01-23-2008, 02:37 PM   #2
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Basic woodworking question...


No. You need to cut dados into the sides, that the shelves fit into.
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Old 01-23-2008, 02:52 PM   #3
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Ok, Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling someone was going to say that.
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Old 01-23-2008, 02:59 PM   #4
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Basic woodworking question...


Dovetail the shelf ends and the sides of the case with a router.
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Old 01-26-2008, 10:14 PM   #5
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First of all, 48" is too long a span for a 3/4" plywood shelf, it will sag. You need to laminate two pieces together for that span. The best choice is to route a dado in the sides to receive the shelf, but honestly, since the shelf will now be 1 1/2"s thick, you could send some screws through the cabinet sides and into the shelf and not have any problems. Drill a clearance hole through the cabinet sides to gaurantee that the screws will pull the sides tight to the shelf ends and send three cabinet screws (3" long with oversize washer heads) into each end of the shelf.
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Old 01-27-2008, 07:35 AM   #6
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Basic woodworking question...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mako72 View Post
Ok, Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling someone was going to say that.
Example of "why" you want to fabricate "beefier" shelving (books are heavy too) - http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/arti...4753-2,00.html:
"Strength Comparison:
The amount of weight a 3-foot 1x12 shelf can hold without sagging more than ľ inch:
1. Oak: 313 lb. Pine: 200 lb.
2. Plywood: 129 lb. MDF: 87 lb.
Note: With these weights, shelves will sag another 1/8 inch over time. "



Some Information regarding Dado cuts: http://woodworking.about.com/od/joinery/p/dado.htm

Last edited by AtlanticWBConst.; 01-27-2008 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:59 PM   #7
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Basic woodworking question...


Judging from the initial question, I think sliding dovetails or even dados may be out of the question. There are many other ways to skin the cat and have a good strong case that will last. Remember that most shelves in most bookcases aren't secured at ALL, they sit on top of pins lending no support for flexing.

Assuming that we need to keep things simple due to a lack of extensive tools (been there), I would consider splitting the case with a divider in the middle. That will make each shelf in the neighborhood of 24 inches long and make 3/4 ply shelves plenty strong. Other easy options are dowels, screws, or pocket hole screws. Or maybe borrow a biscuit joiner from a friend?

Even at 48", if you tie the shelves to the case sides AND back with glue and drywall screws, they will be decently strong for moderate loads. If the plan is for a few toys, and not your encyclopedia collection, they will be fine. You would not have to worry about a shelf collapsing on your dear daughter.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:17 AM   #8
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Basic woodworking question...


Thanks for all of the info. I did end up cutting in dado's with a router. Probably didn't need them since I ended up putting dividers in the bottom section. So there is plenty of support. There is a support about every 11 inches. I think I did pretty good for my first project... Now actually building it into the wall will be a whole different story....

Again, thanks for all of the replies, and the links...
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