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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
 

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Put supports under them ..just cross pieces connected securely running the length of the shelves. I like certain types of wood that's not particularly expensive..Cypress is one of my favorites. It tends to hold up well and bullet proof with moisture in the air. I almost never get pieces that warp and sag..
Check out some wholesale flooring supply houses. I buy cypress absolutely dirt cheap where I live. If you're anywhere near South Carolina and willing to make the trip to Columbia it's about a buck a board foot or so.
Cedar makes nice shelving, but right now the price is through the roof. I just went to one of my suppliers. 10 bf is currently over $50 ..was under $30 last year.
Check out NC, SC, TN, GA and MS Lumber & Supply if any of their locations are anywhere near you. They have stores in NC, SC, GA, TN, VA & MS.. Usually big warehouses open to the public. I buy dirt cheap cypress from them in SC..
 

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I built 3 book cases for downstairs. They go to the ceiling, 7 shelves and 48" wide. The shelves are 2x6 SPF and there's been no sag over the years with 2,000 titles (approx). There's little value in making the shelves, the depth, much deeper than the width of a book. Two 2x6 is about 11" deep and I have very few books of that size.
Took me3 weeks of going around the house with boxes to scrape up all the books. Since then maybe 50 upstairs here that really ought to find a place downstairs.

Music books are quite skinny, agreed? I measured. I have36" of music books.
 

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Make sure you get the better grade of pine. The really cheap stuff will warp faster than you could put the boards in the dados. Oftentimes, going on the cheap becomes a big disaster. Ask me how I know. LOL
 
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I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
Your plan should be perfectly fine. I have built shelves out of pine longer than your 18" and they never sagged.

George
 

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I think you’re fine. Make the middle shelf permanently fixed.

Pegs won’t fail so long as they fit properly. I think this type pin is better for a lot of weight:

Auto part Font Slide sandal Metal Wood
 

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I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
Pine would be my last choice of wood to use any where except for bird houses.
It has knots, hard and soft grain and that makes it very difficult to get an even, good looking finish, unless you paint it.
Painting it would then lead you to choosing a smoother more uniform material like MDF or MDO:

Dados are always a good structural method. Books are heavier than any other item placed on a bookshelf. They will want to collapse the shelving and stay in motion from inertia if lateral force is applied, "racking". To prevent racking, use a thin plywood backer of 1/4" plywood' It's a must. It won't show from the front or the side unless you're looking to find it.
 

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I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
Check out The Sagulator. It is free and available online. Just do a Google search or whatever you use to access it. It will let you put in wood species, dimensions, attachment method(s) and anticipated weight and will calculate the amount of sag and let you know if the sag (if any) amount is acceptable or not.
 

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Pine should be fine.

If the holes round out (unlikely) you can re-drill and put insets in to reinforce the holes,


The above are just an example, there are plenty others that are hammered in to fit flush. You also need to pay attention to 1/4 inch or 5mm (like the above example) so you get the matching size pins.

I rarely work with pine these days because of it’s limitations and the fact that premium grade pine is more expensive than most local hardwoods.
 

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Woodworkers don't like pine for the reasons stated. However, I think that hatred is exacerbated (exaggerated ??) by the fact that it gums up sandpaper and machines. That said, my whole house...pretty much floor to ceiling is clear-finished, pine. What's nice is it comes in grades and species that will eliminate most all knots and will still come in cheaper than most its replacements. (It does darken with time) Cypress is not easily obtained where I live.
I also have read complaints about staining and/or finishing pine. Now 90% of my finishing has been with polyurethanes, but I think a properly finished pine board is a beautiful thing. In my youth, I refinished 100s of bowling lanes that were mostly pine (granted, mostly old growth), but the pine and maple I saw all held their finish beautifully...used to love to go kneel in the corner and look diagonally across the lanes I just pulled finish on and marvel at the work we did. ;) Staining too gets a bad rap...I have found pine also takes to staining pretty well. Recently I tested about a dozen stain colors (2 diff mfrs) on pine boards as I was deciding on colors for a kitchen-pantry/sliding barn doors. Whoda guessed that those pine doors could look like Kona?

In any case, even if made as a prototype for that oak one in your future...3/4" pine boards should be fine at 40" especially with the supports you describe, I have pine bookshelves myself.
 

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Which wood sags more? Red oak or Southern yellow pine?



Red oak has a Modulus of elasticity of 12.1 vs 13.7 for SYP. So the pine will sag less with the same weight. This is why it is used for floor joists.

You still need to use clear pine because knots diminish rigidity, so consider a decent grade.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the tips everyone! I started the work yesterday. 🍻

I did select some "premium pine" that seemed dense, straight, and relatively free of knots.

This will probably be a great skill-building project; I need a few more bookshelves as well as a kitchen pantry and maybe some cabinets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I like pine. I made many projects from. It will be fine for a bookcase.
WOW! I'll be quite pleased if my bookshelf comes out looking that nice.
I'll probably whitewash mine so that it matches the white doorframes and trim in the room. I finished some small decorative shelves that way (also made of pine). Do they look as gorgeous as highly figured walnut? Of course not... But they look pretty good anyway and match the other decor.
 

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Pine is about price, look and technic. If your niw, it's will work you. If your seasoned you learn the in and outs.

Pine from the big box doesn't come 13/16 as most cabinets use this size to start with. This is the number #1 problems when making doors...

Personally I like pine, but because of working in so many cabinet shops I had access to oak at shop prices...
 

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I still have a 4 foot free standing pine bookcase I built in trade school in 1964. all shelves are done with a dado, no back and there is no wobble to any of the joints.
 

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I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
I'm planning out a book case to mitigate the problem of piles and piles of books around my house (I'll read them all someday, I swear... Maybe).

As much as I would love to use red oak, the amount required to build this is a little beyond my budget at the moment. Can 3/4" pine be adequate to the task with proper construction? I planned for it to be 12" deep, 40" wide, and 72" tall. I was going to make a big dovetail box with those outside dimensions, then dado in another 3/4" board to serve as a divider in the middle (so that each shelf is theoretically 18.875 inches wide). There would be holes drilled inside of each side and in the middle divider to hold the metal pegs that would support the shelves. There would be six legs on the bottom - one on each corner, and two in the middle (it's going to go over a vent, so it needs to be about 6" off the ground). I would also attach some kind of plywood backing when it's all put together.

Is pine going to hold up for this? Everything I've read suggests that with the shelves so short, sagging shouldn't be an issue. The only thing I'm antsy about is whether the weight on the metal shelf-supporting pegs will deform the drilled holes over time.

Are there any additions I can make to improve the strength? The only thing I thought of was making 2" x 3/4" dadoes wherever the holes will be drilled, inlaying some cherry planks I have, and drilling the holes into those. That way, the metal pegs are in a hole of cherry wood, not pine.

I'd appreciate any input. Thanks! (y)
Robert--posting below--suggests L-shapedhangers--the pin fits in holes in the uprighrts and the shelves rest on the L's. Saves a LOT of trouble and doesn't weaken the shelf. I might also add 1x1 stringers under front and back edges of shelve if you're loading heavy reference books and such like my 20-vol backbreaking unabridged Oxford Dictionary.
 
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