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Building a full 13 foot wall of bookcases for my daughter in LA. I am in northern California. Cabinets on the bottom, shelves on top. I'm going down this weekend to install them. Only thing I need is the "cabinet top". The lower cabinet cases are of 3/4 ply, and plan was to put a single piece of poplar over the top to make a nice smooth solid wood surface with no joints. Gluing it and pinning it down to the tops of the cabinets. Then the shelves simply sit on top fastened to the wall, but not the lower cabinets. (I couldn't think of a way to fasten the upper shelves to the lower cabinets since the uprights all line up.)
Trouble is cabinets are 14.25 deep, and I wanted a nice overhang, so was looking for 15.5 wide board. Saw it a month ago when I was designing the bookcases, but now cannot and no one can order. So it looks like I will have to join two pieces. Probably a 11.5 and a 4, putting the 4 board in the back. Here is my question. I know I should clamp these after I glue them, but wanting to keep them flat, I also want to clamp them down to something as well. This got me thinking.
Can I forgo the clamps, and simply glue and pin the thinner 4 inch board toward the back of the cabinets, then apply glue and whilst applying pressure against the smaller board, pin the front board to the cabinets as well? This would rely on the pins to hold the boards together while they dry and hold them flat to the top of the cabinet as well. Or should I just invest in a pocket hole setup and screw them together, then glue and pin them down to the cabinets?
 

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If it were me I would make the top out of plywood and put the seam under a divider so the most of the seam is covered. Using solid wood on a top that long, I would spline the boards and glue and clamp them. Just pinning them down, the joints are likely to come apart. Then if it is put together onsite it's going to be a lot harder to sand.
 

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So would you use veneer of some sort to cover the edge of the plywood? On solid wood, would biscuits work? Or are pocket screws better? Why do you say sanding would be hard? Once it is on the cabinets it would be like sanding the top of a table, right?
 

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If this were my project, I would glue and clamp the boards together. If you have the room to install, screw the verticals of the shelving to the cabinet top from underneath. If the cabinets have cross rails front and back connecting the ends, screw down the top from underneath those rails.

Or, if you have to install the cabinets and top first, install some dry dowels in the top to line up with the verticals from the shelving (that's if there is enough room above the shelving to lift it slightly).









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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all. I think I will stick with my original plan of gluing and punning down the back board, and the gluing the front board down and to the back board. Thanks.
 
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