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Hello, my first post here, I'm not a wood worker, but I'm a handy guy so I like to make sure I get an opinion from experts or people with experience. I'm inspired by this shelf to build something similar for my room. My plan so far is to get 1x2 pine boards from HomeDepot to make the frame and paint it blue; the frame will be mounted to the wall studs (not floor standing). Then, I'm looking at 12x36 white laminated shelves, and finally wondering about how to mount them securely. Here are my detailed questions:

Frame:

I noticed that there are select pine boards and primed boards. Since I'm going to paint them blue, wouldn't it make sense to get them already primed? I'm also wondering why they would be cheaper? And if I end up getting the bare pine, what is the proper way to paint, sand, etc? I intend to do primer and probably two coats of paint, but are there any other steps I should keep in mind for a nice finish?

Shelves:

I saw the Rubbermaid 12x36 white laminate shelf (which I now see may no longer be available, but anyway) which would fit the size I want, but I'm wondering if it would be better to get an MDF panel, get it cut to size and paint it. Would the MDF be a stronger choice for mounting the shelf, which I intend to put heavy books on? Note that there will not be a 4th leg on the shelf as it's an open design. The same question applies to painting (I read to use non-water based primer), but are there any special steps to remaining coats? What kind of paint would be toughest for a shelf on an MDF panel?

Brackets:

Now, how to mount the shelves? The original shelf which is metal has a lip between the frames for the shelf, but I don't think it would be a sturdy way to mount it to a 1 x 2 board. My idea was to use small corner braces for 3 corners and a long brace for the outer edge that has no 4th leg. My concern is about screwing into a particle board like the Rubbermaid one listed above and that's why I'm thinking of perhaps doing the MDF. I intend to recess the braces into the wood frame, then cover it with something like wood filler and paint over it so its not visible.

Thank you in advance for any recommendations and advice as I try to figure out a plan for such a shelf.

-Paul
 

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The primed boards you selected are "finger joined", smaller pieces that have been glued together. The select pine boards will be a single solid piece.

I think mdf would be stronger than particle board. But given the design of the shelves I wouldn't think they'd handle very much weight anyway so if that's the case then particle board shelves would probably be fine. Depending on the thickness, they could sag in the middle over time without sufficient support.

For paint, a durable option would be an oil-based enamel like you'd buy for doors. An alternative would be an appliance epoxy paint. I've used rustoleum's appliance epoxy in spray-can and have had decent results on pine. It gives the surface a decent water-resistance from spills. (painted a wooden fishtank stand)
 

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The design of the shelves has a great, modern look. Unfortunately, it is also a weak design.

My concern is that the far corners of the shelves are unsupported. The design depends on the shelves retaining their strength and rigidity over time, in addition to how well they are anchored to the wall strips.

In most supported shelf designs, at least two of the supports are on opposite sides. The supports themselves provide upward force against the shelves to against their weight and the weight of the contents. In those traditional designs, the entire area of the supports pushes up on the shelves, and any screws would be there merely to keep the shelves from sliding off the supports. There is not a lot of force on those screws, and the force is lateral.

In this unusual design, the far parts of the supports away from the corner provide the traditional upward force, but the inner corner areas of the supports must also provide downward "pull" force against the leverage from the opposite unsupported corner. The screws in those corner areas are an integral part of the shelf support design. They provide the downward force holding the corner areas of the shelves down. Screws do not hold well in particle board, MDF, and other manufactured products.

Such shelves could be used to display small, lightweight knick-knacks. They would do better if the weight distribution is highest at the inner corner, and then the strength and rigidity of the shelf material would come more into play. I would not put the encyclopedia set on them. Making the shelves narrow would improve the overall strength of the design.

Think carefully about how you intend to use these shelves, especially in the long term.

Example:
We have a single shelf just like it in our garage. Against my strong objections, my spouse insisted that I put it up above the freezer in the garage. She said, "Let's try it and see what happens. I promise that it will be very lightly loaded." Sometimes you must pick your battles, and I lost that one.

The shelf is supported along its full length on two sides by well-anchored rails, but the two sides are on a corner, just like your design. The opposite corner of the shelf is unsupported. I just checked, and sure enough, the shelf is sagging in the far corner as expected. It might sag more, but the corner appears to be resting on a box that rests on the freezer. All as I predicted.
 

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You should be fine. If the attachment from frame to shelf is solid the 4th corner is going to be ridgid enough unless you stick a large wet potted plant on it on the corner..
 

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He said he wants to put heavy books on the shelf.


I would not like this design for that purpose.


Note that the example shelf system is made of metal. That is an entirely different thing.


If I was going to put that in a corner of my house it would have all 4 corners supported.


George
 

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my experience(s) putting screws in the edges of MDF are exceedingly not good. and particle board is weaker....
especially where cantilever type loads come into play - the loading on the screw simple fractures out a half-moon divot.

one work around is to glue screw depth+ solid banding around the edges.




regardless - both MDF and particle board are essentially plastics and tend to deform under constant load -depending on dimensions and loads.
you may not have a problem for light loads.
ps: the stack of magazines on the bottom shelf of the pix,,,, that's not a light load....
 

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IMO, generally speaking, from 5 decades of working with wood

MDF = garbage

Particle board is useable for some instances if you up the thickness by 50% over solid lumber
 
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IMO, generally speaking, from 5 decades of working with wood

MDF = garbage

Particle board is useable for some instances if you up the thickness by 50% over solid lumber
After working with mdf and particle board professionally, I find neither one junk and have their place.
 

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Hello, my first post here, I'm not a wood worker, but I'm a handy guy so I like to make sure I get an opinion from experts or people with experience. I'm inspired by this shelf to build something similar for my room. My plan so far is to get 1x2 pine boards from HomeDepot to make the frame and paint it blue; the frame will be mounted to the wall studs (not floor standing). Then, I'm looking at 12x36 white laminated shelves, and finally wondering about how to mount them securely. Here are my detailed questions:

Frame:

I noticed that there are select pine boards and primed boards. Since I'm going to paint them blue, wouldn't it make sense to get them already primed? I'm also wondering why they would be cheaper? And if I end up getting the bare pine, what is the proper way to paint, sand, etc? I intend to do primer and probably two coats of paint, but are there any other steps I should keep in mind for a nice finish?

Shelves:

I saw the Rubbermaid 12x36 white laminate shelf (which I now see may no longer be available, but anyway) which would fit the size I want, but I'm wondering if it would be better to get an MDF panel, get it cut to size and paint it. Would the MDF be a stronger choice for mounting the shelf, which I intend to put heavy books on? Note that there will not be a 4th leg on the shelf as it's an open design. The same question applies to painting (I read to use non-water based primer), but are there any special steps to remaining coats? What kind of paint would be toughest for a shelf on an MDF panel?

Brackets:

Now, how to mount the shelves? The original shelf which is metal has a lip between the frames for the shelf, but I don't think it would be a sturdy way to mount it to a 1 x 2 board. My idea was to use small corner braces for 3 corners and a long brace for the outer edge that has no 4th leg. My concern is about screwing into a particle board like the Rubbermaid one listed above and that's why I'm thinking of perhaps doing the MDF. I intend to recess the braces into the wood frame, then cover it with something like wood filler and paint over it so its not visible.

Thank you in advance for any recommendations and advice as I try to figure out a plan for such a shelf.

-Paul
If you like the design, go for it. The worse thing that can happen is that you learn about woodworking. I have had many ideas and designs not work out and learned from each one. I have also surprised myself many times. The white shelving you are looking at is particle board with a melamine paper coating. MDF is also a particle board, but finer saw dust and higher glue content. There are different grades, light weight, standard, and baraboard. baraboard is very hard, dense, has a high glue content, and is very heavy. You can also get MDF in various thicknesses from 1/4" through 2", possibly even thicker. Any shelving material can bend with weight and time. There are ways to minimize it. You can design additional support, solid over sized edge banding, such as 3/4 x 1-1/2 hardwood. As for finishing MDF primes extremely well with Zinser BINS, a whithe shellac based primer. It is not grain raising, prevents color bleed, is a universal sealer, and sands beautifully to a white powder. Once sealed, finish with the paint of your choice, oil base, or lacquer. Enjoy the process and post pics.
 
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