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cosmicmeeting 09-02-2008 04:41 AM

Can anyone help a newbie? - Help with making a book case
I'm kind of embarrassed asking about this, because everyone here sounds like experts, but I don't know where else to turn for help.

I am looking for a product that used to be around a few years ago, and I hope it still exists.

I used to see for sale packages of U-shaped channel for joining shelves to make a bookcase. The plastic pieces were straight, or T shaped, or cross-shaped. The idea was to slip two (or three, depending on what part of the bookcase you were assembling) boards into the channels and then screw them onto the wood through the pre-drilled holes. You used them at the back of a bookcase, to butt-join the shelves while keeping them rigid and at right angles.

I think the manufacturer intended you to then clasp a second piece over the front face of the boards and screw that on too, but I saw this product used with decorative hardware (like flat angle-iron campaign chest hardware) on the front face of the bookcase instead. I thought at the time (many years ago) that the bookcase I saw had come out very well, considering how little trouble and expense (and expertise!) was involved. I was impressed that the unit did not sway.

I need to make custom-built, very long bookcases CHEAPLY and with NO SKILLS for a friend's new day-care center, so these pre-squared joining pieces would be very useful to me, since they keep the angles at 90 degrees, and make joining the separate pieces very easy to do.

Each leg of the U-shaped channel was a couple of inches long, and they were a kind of dull gray or brownish plastic, if I remember correctly.

I tried to Google this product, but I don't know what it is called, or the brand name, and I don't even know if it is still being manufactured.

I'm hoping that someone will know how I can buy this product. If not, I'm hoping that I can get some suggestions for a substitute. I thought of using aluminum channels such as are used as guides for sliding doors, but they would not form any angles, even if I could use them to join boards lengthwise to make the long horizontal distance I need. But I still would not be able to affix the upright shelf supports.

There is no hope that we are going to be able to miter the shelves, or do any kind of wood cutting at all. We are going to have the lumber yard cut the pieces to length, and then join them at the site the best way we can. (if it helps, the bookcase needs to be very long and low, about 11 feet long and 30 inches high, with a bottom shelf flat on the floor, a middle shelf, and a top shelf.)

Thanks for any help you can give me, especially because I suspect that real DIY experts like you guys are getting pretty disgusted thinking about making something as simple as a bookcase in such a crummy way. :)


David Glover 09-04-2008 03:18 PM

Good afternoon. The piece you are looking for is typically brown in color and is made of plastic if we are talking about the same piece. Typically they are placed under the shelves to hold them in place. The are "L" shaped and have a tit on each end to place them in a pre-drilled hole. These are easily found at local furniture stores. If you have a Badcock's Home Furnishing I would recommend starting there. You can show the person what you are looking for by opening a curio cabinet and showng them the pieces. They usually have replacement pieces on hand and will typically not charge for the pieces.


jejm1975 09-04-2008 04:08 PM

Check these out and see if yo can use them for what you are talking about. I tried to find what you were talking about, but have had no luck thus far. What I got is that you need some 90 degree corner braces and some T braces, that is made in a channel format, where you can put the pieces into the tracks or channels and then apply the screws from the face of the brackets into the wood. Anyway look at these...

I suggest that you make a quick trip to your local Lowe's, Home Depot etc... they should have just what you need.

Hope this helps ~~Joey~~

DangerMouse 09-04-2008 04:11 PM

shelf hangers
1 Attachment(s)
here is a pic of 3 different types, i'd recommend the steel one in the middle as it has a hole to screw mount the shelves on the bottom...and it's not plastic. print this and take it to a bigbox or local hdwr store.



jejm1975 09-04-2008 04:32 PM


Originally Posted by cosmicmeeting (Post 154112)
I used to see for sale packages of U-shaped channel for joining shelves to make a bookcase. The plastic pieces were straight, or T shaped, or cross-shaped. The idea was to slip two (or three, depending on what part of the bookcase you were assembling) boards into the channels and then screw them onto the wood through the pre-drilled holes. You used them at the back of a bookcase, to butt-join the shelves while keeping them rigid and at right angles.

I don't think that the examples from Danger Mouse (love the name by the way, I loved that cartoon as a kid... oooh crumbs) or David is gonna do what you are looking for. Those are all for securing shelves after the book case is built. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are looking to build a book case right?

DangerMouse 09-04-2008 04:50 PM

corr baroney, i think it will do it. she needs a top shelf...a board, side supports, bottom shelf should sit on 3 or 4 inch from floor board, then a middle board can be mounted for middle shelf easily with these. she could even use "L" brackets to secure everything...however, for the length she wants there should be front support as well as back. perhaps one in the middle or maybe even two spaced out evenly. she wants quick and easy, but strong. maybe we should draw her up some easy plans to take to the lumberyard? =o) wifey's not home yet and i'm bored...


David Glover 09-05-2008 08:24 AM

Picture of shelf supports

  • Bore Hole: 1/4"
  • Tan color plastic.
  • Used to install shelves in solid wood walls.
  • Made of long lasting plastic material.
  • Supports shelves in bookcases, kitchen cabinets, etc...
  • Card of 4.
ACE Hardware # 998024626
MFR# 75-8420
Price: $0.91

cosmicmeeting 09-08-2008 02:17 PM

Hi, guys ~

Thanks for paying attention to me at all! I felt pretty bad asking experts for this kind of advice.

Yes, she needs to make this custom-sized bookcase from boards that we will have cut to size at the lumberyard. That will pretty much finish the wod-cutting portion of the ceremonies, I'm afraid. After that, it is all nails and screws and glue.

My worries concern the joining of the pieces. What can I do to get the boards to be at right angles to each other? I'm not even sure I have a realistic picture of how to go about starting with the very first join. What happens when I try to screw a side 30 inches high to a bottom that long? What will tell me that the two pieces are going to end up at right angles, instead of just set at some odd cock to each other?

I did think of using quarter round molding (glued into place) to create the channels I have been looking for. Two pieces of quarter round side by side (the width of a single board between them) on the top of the lowest shelf and the underside of the top shelf would be "guides" for the upright support boards, I suppose? The uprights would not wobble from side to side, and they would be at right angles (as long as the "channels" between the pieces of molding were accurately placed). This steady seating of the uprights would also make it easy to screw them into place by screwing right through the bottom board into the top of the upright support pieces. This way of forming "channels" to guide and hold the pieces together would replace the cutting out of grooves, which is beyond our power to do.

I also had the idea that the molding would hide the (likely, I should imagine) small discrepancies in measurement between the tallest upright and the shortest. (Home Depot says that they do not guarantee the accuracy of their measurements when they do the cutting.)

In old-fashioned houses (like the ones we have in Boston), the pantries and closets always use molding (on the three walls of the space) to support shelves, and I thought that I could add molding to the uprights to support the middle cross-shelves? I don't know how to keep the shelves from sliding in and out, though, if they were only resting on a small molding on each end.

I would LOVE some quality plans, if anyone had the time to do that!! We tried to think of a way to make the ends rounded off, or even come back at an angle not rounded, but we didn't know how to do that.

The only thing is that we are STRICTLY limited in height by the window sills the bookcase must go under (not to mention the short stature of the USERS!), so we reluctantly decided to let the bottom shelf rest directly on the floor. In fact, in order to get enough height in the shelves themselves, to hold the tall children's books, storage bins, etc, we almost decided to have NO bottom shelf at all -- just the bare floor at the bottom.

If this idea of using molding to create channels (at the right distance from one another to accept the uprights), by placing two strips of quarter round side-by-side one inch apart, and then sliding the uprights into place -- if this idea would work, I have some specific questions:

Do we absolutely have to have a back?

Can we glue the molding into place, or would it have to be screwed? What is the smallest diameter of quarter-round I can get away with?

Can we get away with screwing the uprights from the bottom only, or do we absolutely HAVE to screw them down from the top as well? (We'd like to preserve a smooth top, but we are not up to speed on dowels and biscuits and such-like fancy joinery -- in case you couldn't tell LOL!)

How can we physically manage to get the channels to [1] exactly line up with each other on the top and bottom shelves, and [2] to keep them perfectly parallel to each other and [3] at right angles exactly to the front of the bookcase? Is it just a question of exacting measurement? It has been my experience with projects like this that my level of skill may not be perfect enough, especially with pieces that are so big (like the top and bottom shelf) and so small (like little pieces of molding). We know how to use the level.

We will (sadly) probably have to end up painting the finished piece, but if we decided to give it a wood finish, then [1] what staining/finishing products should we use? [2} Should we finish the pieces before or after assembly? Can we cap the edges with half round to hide the cut edges and the smooth factory edges? Can we glue it into place or must it be fastened (with nails? Screws?) Would it stain better than the plain edges?

I hope you can tell that we are total amateurs, and at the same time, I hope you experts are not too disgusted to take an interest!

Thanks for any help you can give us -- it's for a good cause!


jejm1975 09-09-2008 11:47 PM

Hey Ann, I have read about your dilemma and have tried to point you in the right direction. Anyway, you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words...

This little jewel is called a "Speed-Square" and you can get one at the hardware store. You can use this as a guide when attaching your lumber, to make sure that they are square, used correctly, this will prevent your shelves from being cocked on one side as you mentioned.

I got a little creative. So the brackets pictured here can be found at any Home Depot, ACE, True Value or Lowe's and is pretty common at any hardware stores. I figured that you can use the L shaped 90 brackets on the back (hidden) side of the book shelf and use the 90 for the inside corners to stiffen the front (face) of the bookshelf, without taking away from the beauty of your creation. I suggest that you have your top, bottom and middle (if any) pieces cut three inches shorter that the space that the finished shelf has to fit in. In other words if you are putting it between two walls and the distance measures 10 feet and 6 inches, you will need to subtract at least 1&1/2 inch for the sides (assuming that you are making this out of 2X8's or 2X10') so that when you attach the sides it will not be too wide. If you add any dividers (with an 11 foot long shelf, I would) you may use the T brackets on the back (hidden) side to attach the top and bottom and any middle shelves and still use the inside brackets towards the front for stability. You may need to have two or more sets of the inside brackets depending on how deep your shelves will be and what you put on them (weight wise). I'll leave it at this and if you have any other questions, I encourage you to ask. As we could all chance to learn something.


dthrash715 05-03-2011 02:43 PM

Hey There!

Don't feel embarrassed because I am looking for the "exact same thing" as you and I can't find them either! What I don't think people are understanding is that these pieces were sort of decorative as they fit over the corners covering the front edge of the wood. Either "L" shaped for the corners, or "cross" shaped for in the center or "T" shaped. The only thing I seem to remember differently is that they had tiny nails and not screws to anchor them in place. Either way I know it's the exact same thing. My son has one of the shelves I made for him when he was a kid, so if I can figure out how to take a picture of it and post in on this forum I will. Maybe it will help find the product. In the meantime, if you do find the answer, please pass it on. I'm going crazy trying to find them.


dthrash715 05-03-2011 02:50 PM

Now I am really embarrassed!!!! I got sooooo excited when I found the post where someone was looking for the exact same thing as I am, but now I see that those posts were back in 2008. I'm still going to ask though if anyone every found the name or contact information for that product. I'd really appreciate any help!!!!


Blondesense 05-04-2011 12:57 PM


Originally Posted by dthrash715 (Post 641424)
My son has one of the shelves I made for him when he was a kid, so if I can figure out how to take a picture of it and post in on this forum I will. Maybe it will help find the product.

A pic would definitely help.

DangerMouse 05-04-2011 01:23 PM

Hi Dolores, This may help:

Welcome to the forum!


antlerdancer 05-05-2011 11:21 AM

I think what She is looking for is like the metal braces in previous pics but made out of something like a 3/4 "C" channel that would fit over the outside edge of the miter.I would send a pic but My minds EYE is not developed:thumbsup:

antlerdancer 05-05-2011 11:25 AM

WOW I just saw that this post is 3 years old.She could have built a bridge in that time:laughing:

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