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fasteners for bookshelves

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  • fasteners for bookshelves

    I have been "tasked" to build wall-length, open-backed book shelves for the study. Both the verticals and the shelves will be 12" wide 3/4" Woodstalk, an MDF-like material but lighter, stiffer and stronger.

    If I cut 1/4-1/2" dados in the verticals to hold the shelves, can I (or should I?!) also use pocket holes and glue to add holding power?

    Other suggestions?
    Think Highly, Feel Deeply , Speak Plainly

  • #2
    How long are the shelves between each vertical?


    • #3
      I'd ask the same question as Rafael, as span makes a big difference. But, in any width---when you talk about 1/4 or 1/2" dados---are you talking about depth or width? Traditional depth is 1/2 the thickness of the vertical stock---if you narrowed the width---you'd actually be weakening the shelf that much more.

      FYI----found this in an article onf built-in bookshelves, in This Old House magazine. For a 36" span, 1x12x3/4" stock has the following weight capacities----solid wood---Oak 313 pounds, Pine 200 lbs., Plywood 129 lbs. and MDF 87 lbs.----as you can see, even that gnarley looking pine they sell for bookshelve has a better rating than MDF.


      • #4
        Dado's would be of the full thickness of of the shelfs. If less, than it would be a tongue and groove joint. I use the rule of thumb if it's solid wood, I'd go 1/2 the thickness for the depth for dados. If it was ply, particle board, MDF or any other breed of manufactured sheet goods: Dado full width of joining material, 1/3 the thickness for depth to keep integrity of the side panels.

        Of coarse, if the joint is done well, and it's a fit leaving just enough room for adhesive, then 1/2 the thickness for depth is fine, but not needed.

        I only use doweling or pegging when I add hardwood strips to edges such as particle board for mounting hinges to casements or door panels. And at that they would be tongue and grooved. In that case, 3.5 times the thickness would be minimum for the length of the peg or dowel to compinsate for torque added to weight on the hinged joint.
        John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


        • #5
          Good points, all.
          The plan is for the verticals to be every 36-38"; according to the DuPont site it is rated at about 150# at 3/4x12/36, if I remember correctly.
          It is supposed to saw, drill, take screws, and router better and cleaner. My wife likes it because it has the heat applied white vinyl like MDF and that is the look and color she wants.
          Think Highly, Feel Deeply , Speak Plainly