Author Topic: Lumber for built-in bookshelves  (Read 2578 times)

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Offline BigfootBuilder

  • Posts: 74
    • California Sustainable Builders
Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« on: June 06, 2016, 11:30 AM »
Hi all,
Preparing to build a room full of bookshelves and cabs, aside from one project that I just finished (built-in closet and bookcase) this will be my first foray into such a project. Unfortunately for me, they want it all painted white - I prefer finished wood, but, it's not my room.

Anyway, I could probably figure out a way to post a pic of the plan, but off the top of anyone's head, what would you be using to build floor to ceiling bookshelves? IIRC the shelves are all ~3' wide, all adjustable height, and I'm trying to figure out what the best material is to use. Don't want to have sagging issues, so am skeptical about plywood. Despise MDF, so would like to not have to despise it further. Prefer hardwood, but they want it painted, so seems like such a waste. I suppose some 5/4 hardwood would be the strongest? They want the front profile bullnosed, so that excludes using ply and face frame as stiffeners.

Anyone have any thoughts, or resources that they would point me towards?

Much appreciated!

(Just ordered a CT26E, long life bag, and an ETS EC 125/3 with a bunch of Granat BTW, and I had to tell someone...)

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Offline jobsworth

  • Posts: 5236
  • Does Anyone Know What Time It Is?
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2016, 12:53 PM »
I know ya said ya don't like it but MDF might be your best option. It does paint up nice.  As far as shelf span have use checked out the sagulator?

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

Offline Goz

  • Posts: 90
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2016, 01:40 PM »
If the client is expecting a perfectly smooth finish, MDF would be great.  I personally feel this looks a little sterile.  If they would like some grain to show through, either a heavy whitewash or paint on hardwood would be appropriate.

Not sure I follow why you can't do a sheet good shelf with solid wood edge strips?  This should help with stiffness and allow you do add the bullnose profile.

BTW, the Sagulator looks awesome!  Never used that before, but it seems like a great resource to bookmark.

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3594
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2016, 04:45 PM »
3ft is too wide for plywood or MDF without some sagging, unless you are able to double up or add some corresponding shelf pins in the back.  I might consider poplar?  A bit tougher than pine board, but not so expensive that you feel bad about painting it.

BTW, if you make the hardwood edging thick enough, you could do a bullnose profile.  I would try to convince the client though to cut down on the shelf span somehow (keep in mind too that floating shelves will sag more than fixed ones).

The one advantage of MDF is that it is very forgiving when it comes to filling and sealing joints with something as simple as joint compound.  But I know what you mean -- I hate working with it too.

EDIT: That Sagulator is the bomb.  Only complaint is the wood species selection is a bit TOO complicated.  Had to look for a while before I saw that poplar was listed under Y, for yellow poplar.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 05:11 PM by Edward A Reno III »
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Offline rizzoa13

  • Posts: 582
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2016, 07:59 PM »
I second some 5/4 finger joint poplar. That stuffs pretty cheap and decent to work with. It does fur up some when machining (even with a brand new router bit set) but it's easily remedied.

Offline BigfootBuilder

  • Posts: 74
    • California Sustainable Builders
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2016, 02:21 PM »
Thank you for the responses so far.

The sagulator is AWESOME!!! I have a sag table with basic wood species formulae but that takes it to a whole 'nother level!

I guess I could go MDF, and the hardwood bullnose strip is a great idea. I wish they didn't want adjustable shelves, but again, not my room. Looks like a 3' span w/12" shelves and 2" of poplar bullnose keeps me well within the target limit. Suppose I'll lean that way. Or full poplar. There's an insanely great lumber warehouse around here called Mt. Storm so I think I'll just take a field trip up there soon.

What would the preferred method of attachment be for the bullnose strips? No, I don't have a domino, but I have a biscuit joiner. Or just straight glue on?

Thanks again

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3594
Re: Lumber for built-in bookshelves
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 04:06 PM »
Straight glue on will be fine.  Do the bull nose afterwards, though, once you've flush trimmed it.

Thank you for the responses so far.

The sagulator is AWESOME!!! I have a sag table with basic wood species formulae but that takes it to a whole 'nother level!

I guess I could go MDF, and the hardwood bullnose strip is a great idea. I wish they didn't want adjustable shelves, but again, not my room. Looks like a 3' span w/12" shelves and 2" of poplar bullnose keeps me well within the target limit. Suppose I'll lean that way. Or full poplar. There's an insanely great lumber warehouse around here called Mt. Storm so I think I'll just take a field trip up there soon.

What would the preferred method of attachment be for the bullnose strips? No, I don't have a domino, but I have a biscuit joiner. Or just straight glue on?

Thanks again
Kapex KS 120 w/UG Cart and Extensions • CXS Set • T18+3 w/Centrotec Installer's Set • PDC 18/4 • TS 75 • TSC 55 • HKC 55 w/250, 420 and 670 FSK rails • Carvex 420 w/Accessory Kit • Domino 500 Set • Domino 700 XL • OF 2200 w/Base Accessory Kit • OF 1400 • OF 1010 • MFK 700 EQ Set • LR 32 • MFS 400 w/2000, 1000, and 700 extensions • Rotex 90 • Rotex 150 • LS 130 • ETS-EC 150/5 • ETS-EC 150/3 • ETS 150/3 • Pro 5 LTD • RTS 400 • RAS 115.04 • RS 2 • HL 850 • Vecturo OS 400 • CT 26 w/BT module • CT Sys w/Long-Life Bag • MFT/3