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I had asked about a bookshelf here before and got some good advice. And now that I have time to actually do it I'd like to ask some more questions if I could. It was going to be 36" wide overall, and about 45" tall. And I was wanting to use 5/8 inch plywood to save money, but so many people here said to go with 3/4. Seeing that you guys know more than me about this, I will go with your advice. But, if I do go with the 3/4 over the 5/8", do I still need to front frame and put a divider in the middle to support the weight? Other info: I was going to use runners to support the shelves.
 

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edge supports

I had asked about a bookshelf here before and got some good advice. And now that I have time to actually do it I'd like to ask some more questions if I could. It was going to be 36" wide overall, and about 45" tall. And I was wanting to use 5/8 inch plywood to save money, but so many people here said to go with 3/4. Seeing that you guys know more than me about this, I will go with your advice. But, if I do go with the 3/4 over the 5/8", do I still need to front frame and put a divider in the middle to support the weight? Other info: I was going to use runners to support the shelves.
Since the plywood will be supported on all edges but the front, you should consider a hardwood band on the edge. The only problem with this is that if you add a 1 1/2" wide band, it will stick down to the shelf below by 3/4" and that will limit the height of the tallest book. However, it will reduce the amount of sag on the front edge appreciably. Books are so heavy that a full shelf of books will cause almost any shelf to sag. I make my book shelves with solid wood and they are slid into dados. Then over time, I can remove them, flip them over and correct the sag. I use Oak for it's strength which is greater than plywood.
 

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I had asked about a bookshelf here before and got some good advice. And now that I have time to actually do it I'd like to ask some more questions if I could. It was going to be 36" wide overall, and about 45" tall. And I was wanting to use 5/8 inch plywood to save money, but so many people here said to go with 3/4. Seeing that you guys know more than me about this, I will go with your advice. But, if I do go with the 3/4 over the 5/8", do I still need to front frame and put a divider in the middle to support the weight? Other info: I was going to use runners to support the shelves.
You could use 5/8" plywood if you put a vertical divider in the middle.






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Yes, wood does sag and is subject to a lot of variables... I built a large bookshelf 12 years ago and it has held lots of books over those years and it's still doing what I designed it for. It is made of 3/4 plywood with a simple veneer on the front edges, no hardwood support or face frame etc except for the very bottom shelf which has a decorative skirt (this shelf holds lots of magazine boxes and is very full and has not sagged a bit). The top shelves hold shorter books and pictures and those are fine. The middle shelves hold larger, heavier books and after 12 years, I'm noticing a bit of a sag - but that's not a problem.

All but the 2nd shelves are adjustable, a feature any bookshelf ought to have, not only because the collection changes over time - but now that I'm noticing a little sag after 12 years service, I might take 15 or 20 minutes to empty those shelves and flip them. By my unscientific calculations, it should take a couple of years to undo the sag - another 12 years from now, I might take another 20 minutes to flip them again.

It's easy to make them adjustable... I used a strip of peg board and put a piece of tape over every other hole for better spacing. To make sure your peg holes are even, mark an end of the strip as bottom and orient that end on all 4 bottom edges of your sides... keep in mind the distance of the strip from the edge... but always start from the bottom.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys! Well, If I went with 5/8 I would have to front frame it, and put a divider. If I went with 3/4 I wouldn't have to do all that. I'll go with 3/4. Between the added cost of the extra materials, and the labor involved it will be worth it. And I could always add that stuff after the fact if I really need it. So, do I need to put a backing on the back of it? Or could I put L brackets on the rear face of it? kinda like this http://tinyurl.com/kuqcad5
 

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Thanks guys! Well, If I went with 5/8 I would have to front frame it, and put a divider. If I went with 3/4 I wouldn't have to do all that. I'll go with 3/4. Between the added cost of the extra materials, and the labor involved it will be worth it. And I could always add that stuff after the fact if I really need it. So, do I need to put a backing on the back of it? Or could I put L brackets on the rear face of it? kinda like this http://tinyurl.com/kuqcad5
If you went with 5/8" and a center divider, you wouldn't need a face frame. A back would keep it square, and orient the grain vertically if you can.




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ok, but if I went with 3/4 and no divider, could I use the brackets in the rear, and no backing?
I wouldn't suggest it.

And I was wanting to use 5/8 inch plywood to save money, but so many people here said to go with 3/4. But, if I do go with the 3/4 over the 5/8", do I still need to front frame and put a divider in the middle to support the weight?
The point to your question was that you wanted to use 5/8" not 3/4".






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Discussion Starter #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by corbmonster View Post
And I was wanting to use 5/8 inch plywood to save money, but so many people here said to go with 3/4. But, if I do go with the 3/4 over the 5/8", do I still need to front frame and put a divider in the middle to support the weight?
The point to your question was that you wanted to use 5/8" not 3/4".
The point of the question was to find out what would be less hassle for me. 3/4 and front frame, and divider? (if that's possible, and yes it seems to be) Or 5/8 with divider. front frame optional, and necessary without a backing.

3/4 seems to be less hassle.

Is the shelf going to be placed next to a wall? If so, you could use a hang strip
can you provide a link for the hanging strap?

And this is to be a book shelf. Lots of books, papers, notes, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If it had a divider in the front supporting weight from the shelves, wouldn't it also need also need a similar divider in the rear to support weight also?
 
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