Shelf ledgers... how to size? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-17-2015, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Shelf ledgers... how to size?

Hi all. I'm struggling to determine how thick/wide ledgers need to be. Everyone seems to use 1x2 furring strips or something similar, but I'd like to keep mine smaller and less visible if I can.

My thinking is that since I'm using 3/4" ply (true) my ledgers shouldn't have to be very big... just enough to hold the nail and support the shelf. On that note, couple of questions:

1) How do you determine ledger size? Is there a rule?

2) With 3/4" ply supported on 3 sides (and front braced with a poplar 1x2), are 3/4" x 3/4" ledgers enough?

3) Is there any reason not to use the leavings from my 4x8 plywood sheets? Saving material is always nice, and I have lots of 3/4" strips I can rip to 3/4 (square).

4) Are 16g 2.25" or 2.5" nails into the joists adequate for support?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Best,
Rick
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone have any thoughts?
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 02:00 PM
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In my opinion if you go less than 1 1/2" you should put a screw in every stud. A smaller strip will sag if a fastener is used on every other stud. At 3/4" though the ledger should be made out of a hard hardwood like oak or maple.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
In my opinion if you go less than 1 1/2" you should put a screw in every stud. A smaller strip will sag if a fastener is used on every other stud. At 3/4" though the ledger should be made out of a hard hardwood like oak or maple.
Thanks for the reply and insights. My plan has been to put two nails into every stud on the wall with 16g 2.5" (nail gun), and to angle nails for extra support (~10 degree down/in across the stud)

In terms of the shelves, these would be 3 sides of 14x24 shelves, and along the back of dado-ed shelves in another set-up. None of the spans break 30" or so, with the exception being a single shelf in one closet that's basically a big C cut from one piece of plywood (continuous shelf on sides at 14x24 and along a back wall that's 70" long). The shelves are mostly clothing and maybe some nick knacks and other items.

If I did use 3/4" birch ply (3/4 x 3/4) with the above, what are the risks? I can't imagine the ply would fail...? And it seems like the nails would pull out before they sheared? I'm not against thicker ledgers if I need them, just don't want to overengineer if I don't have to.

Thanks again.

Rick
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 02:25 PM
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You have me confused. You write of the shelves being 14x24 (inches I presume) but then throw in other dimensions like 3" and 70".

3/4" birch plywood is good for most things. Scrap can also be used for ledgers.

A sketch of what you are trying to do would be good.

George
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 06:53 PM
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Putting two nails into a piece 3/4" wide is counterproductive. You would be better off drilling a hole and put a single #8 finishing nail in the stud.
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
You have me confused. You write of the shelves being 14x24 (inches I presume) but then throw in other dimensions like 3" and 70".

3/4" birch plywood is good for most things. Scrap can also be used for ledgers.

A sketch of what you are trying to do would be good.

George
Sorry if the description was confusing. Basically I have a reach in closet that's 70" wide, 24" deep, door opening standard. I'm putting 4 shelves on each side of the door (14x24) and one shelf right above the hanging bar that extends across the closet (it includes sides that are 14x24 and a center span that's 11" deep, all one board).

I'm pretty sure 3/4" x 3/4" ledgers on 3 sides of the 14x24 shelves will be sufficient, but there's an open question in my mind about the long shelf's 11" span (which spans about 42" in the middle and will only have a ledger behind it on the back wall).

As I mentioned initially, I'm planning to face the shelves with 1x2 poplar boards (glued and brad nailed), so that should provide some additional structural support...

Rick
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Putting two nails into a piece 3/4" wide is counterproductive. You would be better off drilling a hole and put a single #8 finishing nail in the stud.
Good point. The goal of the two nails was to try and simplify my work load... if I use 16g 2.5" nails I can drive them fairly quickly with the gun, and they'll be a little less to have to cover than a #8 nail.

I guess the question is whether the 16g nails are sufficient with a 3/4 ledger or I really HAVE to drive a #8 nail in there? :)

Rick
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 11:02 PM
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16ga nails bend pretty easily and shooting two into a narrow strips tends to weaken it. Yes the #8 nails go in the old fashion way but they are rigid enough to hold the weight of a shelf and contents. If you drill a hole it shouldn't be too hard.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-18-2015, 11:38 PM
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I personally would use more than 1 16 gauge nail. But that's just me. Maybe it's time to buy a 15 gauge nailer...

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-20-2015, 12:34 PM
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m opinion is that the 3/4 cleat is marginal, even 1" is an improvement in my eyes. i didn't read about load amounts, but your 16 may work if you also use a construction adhesive (loctite power grab)
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-20-2015, 02:36 PM
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My thinking is it is a closet. Put in the 1x2 furring strips and be done with it. I did the same thing in my closet years ago. No one has ever peeked inside and said "why just one nail?" :)

In fact, no one has seen the inside of the closet, period.
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post #13 of 13 Old 03-05-2015, 09:15 PM
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Agree,I would go at least 1" and the brad nails will hold just fine
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