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Old 07-15-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


Help! I'm trying to eliminate some wobble in a shelf unit, and coming up empty-handed.

I picked up this cheap shelf unit (pressboard with a big cardboard back) from a local store for use with some electronics. When I started using it, I noticed that the electronics weren't well-ventilated, so I cut some holes in the back... that also didn't do the job, so I ripped off the back completely.

However, I've learned that the back wasn't just there for aesthetics and a backstop... it also provided a lateral frame for the shelf unit. Without it, the whole thing wobbles and sways left and right pretty badly with just a slight lateral nudge.

I've tried to solve this problem in a few ways. (My solutions are a bit restricted because the bottom of the unit has some drawers, and I can't put too much hardware in the bottom interior of the unit without obstructing the path of the drawers.)

* I bought some corner brackets and bolted them inside the top left and right corners, hoping to provide some resistance to a collapsed angle at either point.

* I bought some L-brackets and bolted them onto the back of the unit at several points - basically, bolting a portion of each vertical edge to a horizontal shelf.

Sadly, neither solution reduced the wobble in the slightest.

Any ideas? Please help! Of course, an ideal solution will have the following properties:

* Fairly cheap
* Fairly easy to install
* Won't add significant material across the back of the unit (which would block air flow from my electronics)

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


Fasten the verticals to the wall it is sitting against.

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Old 07-15-2011, 01:39 PM   #3
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


Hard to say without seeing it, but, assuming the unit is something like 6-7' tall and 30-36" wide, my first thought would be an X brace on the back, with each leg extending from something like 12" from the bottom of one side to the same distance from the top of the opposite side, and the two legs bolted together at dead center; similar to shelf units that you would find in an auto parts store, etc.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


metal or wood straps screwed into corners to make a big x. Just like you see on bridges, metal shelving, or roller coasters.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


Jinx DexterII...you posted while I was typing...
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


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metal or wood straps screwed into corners to make a big x. Just like you see on bridges, metal shelving, or roller coasters.
The trouble with this X bracing is the cabinet as stated is cheap, betting press board and screws will have no structural integrity. In order to implement this idea, I would recommend adding blocks in the corners, glued and through screwed, to give the x bracing something to connect to.

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Old 07-15-2011, 01:58 PM   #7
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


pre-drilled and screwed would hold up just fine...i've done it on a cheap Ikea bookcase. Blocks and glue and the what-have-you is if you are looking to go mobil with the thing. If mobil structurally integrity is what you're looking for then I suggest going and buying an electronics rack. It'll be sturdy and provide cooling...
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


It's a cheapy being used for electronics, which could be heavy, and there is a good possiblilty it will be moved after the wiring is connected and then again when any additions are made to the system.

Why not do it right the first time?
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:22 PM   #9
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


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It's a cheapy being used for electronics, which could be heavy, and there is a good possiblilty it will be moved after the wiring is connected and then again when any additions are made to the system.

Why not do it right the first time?
Doing it right the first time would be buying a shelf made for the purpose intended not tearing apart a cheap substitute one and then scabbing scrap together and calling it "right".
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:29 PM   #10
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Help! How do I reduce lateral sway or wobble in a shelf unit?


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Doing it right the first time would be buying a shelf made for the purpose intended not tearing apart a cheap substitute one and then scabbing scrap together and calling it "right".
Yes, but scabbing scrap as you call it, is much cheaper than the alternative, and scabbing it correctly will fix the problem more permanently.
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