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Old 07-10-2008, 10:53 AM   #1
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bookcase wall

I'm thinking of building a wall of bookshelves at one end of our family room. The room is currently wood paneled. I intend to cover all paneling with 1/4 inch sheetrock, with the exception of the end wall. This is the wall I would like to turn into a 'bookcase/display' wall. My wife has a very large number of wooden nutcracker that are now on various size shelves throughout the room. At the left end of this wall there is an opening to a hallway. I figured to put angled shelves on this end, of the bookcase, so as not to take much of the opening. I would make this bookcase wall floor to ceiling with base and crown moldings.
I have never seen a wall like this and was wondering if it would overpower the room. Since the rest of the room would be painted, this bookshelf would be made of MDF and also painted.


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Old 07-10-2008, 11:12 AM   #2
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I'm no interior decorator, but it sounds nice.

One thing I would suggest though...Take the paneling down and then hang 1/2" sheetrock on the walls. 1/4" sheetrock over wood paneling isn't going to work all that well. The 1/2" is heavier, but otherwise it wouldn't be any more work than the 1/4". The paneling would probably come off easily.

MDF will work well for bookshelves. I would caution against using it for shelves if they're longer than a couple feet (in span), but it is unbeatable for the sides and back. I always build my painted faceframes out of poplar.


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Old 07-11-2008, 04:58 PM   #3
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I'd also recommend removing the paneling. Most likely, the paneling was glue to the drywall beneath it, and although repairing this might make more work, you might be surprised. If the drywall is too damaged by removal of the paneling to repair, install another layer of 1/2". If you want to minimize the additional thickness, use 3/8 and glue to in addition to using screws (2" minimum). I only use 1/4" when I need to wet it and bend it to shape an arch.
For shelving, I never use MDF due to sag issues, regardless how short the span. For less than 32", I've used 1/2" plywood with a 3/4-1" 'L' shaped front edge to give it strength. I usually rout a bead on the lower part to dress it up. As long as you're not storing the Encyclopedia Brittanica on it, it should do fine.
Face frames - if painted - are usually made of poplar. You can either pocket screw them together, or go nuts and use mortise and tenon, or even biscuits, if the frames are wide enough (or you have a faceframe cutter.)
Have fun.
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