Plywood shelves - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Plywood shelves

I am trying to build some utility shelves for my laundry room using nothing but plywood. I have plenty of salvaged 3/4 5 ply sheets and would like to make the shelves 16inches deep by 32 inches long. My question is if I should buy some solid wood to use for the uprights of the shelves or simply to rip the uprights from the plywood that I have. I will be using fixed cleats (2inch by 16inch plywood) to hold the shelves in place.

Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EHCRain View Post
I am trying to build some utility shelves for my laundry room using nothing but plywood. I have plenty of salvaged 3/4 5 ply sheets and would like to make the shelves 16inches deep by 32 inches long. My question is if I should buy some solid wood to use for the uprights of the shelves or simply to rip the uprights from the plywood that I have. I will be using fixed cleats (2inch by 16inch plywood) to hold the shelves in place.

Thanks for the help.
I'd just do the whole thing in ply.
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post #3 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 05:44 AM
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I'd just do the whole thing in ply.
+1. That's what I would do.








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post #4 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 10:10 AM
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Build it all out of the plywood, and if you want to pretty it up a bit glue solid wood strips to the exposed edges.

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post #5 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 10:12 AM
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i agree with all the above:smil e:
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post #6 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 11:49 AM
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Ditto. Plywood with some edge treatment.

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post #7 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 12:13 PM
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I was thinking about this the other day for a different application. If, after you've cut your ply to size (would add a bit to account for kerf for this) and then ripped the edges at a 45 degree angle, couldn't you just flip the piece you cut off to expose the smooth side, glue, and trim if necessary?

I guess any tearout could spoil the fun but if it's going to be painted (or for the garage in my case), it's not a big deal.
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post #8 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 12:42 PM
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I agree with all the above, and bofa also brings up a good point. While I wouldn't try to kerf the ply, I would definitely make angles for the legs to stiften them up. that way you have "L" shaped legs in corners.

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I used to be fairly indecisive, but now....... I'm not so sure.
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post #9 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 12:54 PM
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I personally would edge the shelf fronts with a piece of real wood. Plywood has a tendency to sag (could be a real problem depending on what ur putting on the shelving) and imo it will look much better. I am having a hard time visualizing what ur talking about. Is this thing stand alone or are you fastening cleats to the wall for the shelves to sit on?
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post #10 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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The shelves will be free standing other than screws into the studs to prevent falling over. The cleats will run the depth of the shelves on either side of the upright plywood sides.
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post #11 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 01:45 PM
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The shelves will be free standing other than screws into the studs to prevent falling over. The cleats will run the depth of the shelves on either side of the upright plywood sides.
Why not just drill some holes and make them adjustable?








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post #12 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 02:00 PM
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The shelves will be free standing other than screws into the studs to prevent falling over. The cleats will run the depth of the shelves on either side of the upright plywood sides.
I'm with C'man either drill holes and make the shelves adjustable or dado the shelves into the sides and lose the cleats. Face the fronts with hardwood and you'll have a strong nice looking shelf.
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post #13 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I am trying to do this as cheaply as possible so no to the hardwood face. Wouldnt I loose strength in the uprights with dados?
I am most likely going to be keeping window a/c units and spare cleaning supplies on it, maybe 60lbs per shelf. I am not planning on having a back on the shelf because 3/4 plywood seems like major overkill to me.
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post #14 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
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I am most likely going to be keeping window a/c units and spare cleaning supplies on it, maybe 60lbs per shelf. I am not planning on having a back on the shelf because 3/4 plywood seems like major overkill to me.

You might want to have a look here.

http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm

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post #15 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by EHCRain View Post
I am trying to do this as cheaply as possible so no to the hardwood face. Wouldnt I loose strength in the uprights with dados? I am most likely going to be keeping window a/c units and spare cleaning supplies on it, maybe 60lbs per shelf. I am not planning on having a back on the shelf because 3/4 plywood seems like major overkill to me.
Well if you want a finished look there's always the iron on edge banding.

No you actually gain strength with properly done joinery.

3/4" would be the sides and the shelves but the back is usually 1/4" which helps lock it all together giving it added strength.

Last edited by rrbrown; 02-21-2011 at 05:14 PM.
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post #16 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 04:14 PM
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+1. Look in williams sanoma. They have what they call swedish shelving made out of white pine. I copied their design and made my own. Very easy, attractive and I see no reason you couldn't do the same out of plywood. Just a thought
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post #17 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 07:19 PM
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Laundry shelves..... cheap as possible.... plywood on hand

Guess I'd try to use all plywood. Unless of course, part of the project is art or developing your skills or to make points with the other person that does laundry in this space (all good reasons to do more, sometimes!)

For starters, I'd cut a single shelf and load it with.... well, with 60 lbs. See if it sags. If it sags, try facing it with something or alternatively giving it a long support underneath instead of on the face. Whatever looks good to you and is cheap and takes away the sag. Then I'd do the rest like that.

Dados vs cleats..... both will take care of sheer (ie countering gravity pushing straight down). Tight dadoes will help reduce side-to-side racking, but then so will screwing it to the wall in the 4 back corners. Whether the screws alone will do enough to deal with the racking.... I don't know but my guess is you'll do well to add at least one tight strut at midheight and another at the top.

A bunch of the other commenters are way more experienced than me so think before you leap on what I say.
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post #18 of 22 Old 02-21-2011, 08:16 PM
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Something like this. Pardon the mess.
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post #19 of 22 Old 02-22-2011, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Good point about impressing the SO, right now the shelves have been built and are almost fully loaded.
This was my first all plywood build, I have done 4 book shelves with solid wood and thought it was time to save money and try something new. For a college house its better than cinder blocks and planks.

Thanks for all the help guys!
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post #20 of 22 Old 02-22-2011, 01:46 AM
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OK but you don't get off that easy. We expect pictures of what you built.
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