Hanging bookshelf

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Forum topic by Odiferous posted 02-01-2015 06:01 PM 1783 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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105 posts in 3158 days

02-01-2015 06:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craft room melamine particle board

I’m working on the upper half of a wall for the craft room, which I’ve planned to be more like open-backed bookshelves than cabinets. I had it all drawn up, ripped all my PB melamine to 12”, and then got derailed for a few weeks. Now that I’m getting back to it, I’m struggling with whether the rabbets I’d planned on will be strong enough. With the interior shelves all on shelf pins, there’s not a lot of structure there.

I was planning to hang the case from a french cleat (scrap MDF melamine), and leave a cleat underneath to help support. Am I over-thinking it, or is there something I should change to strengthen it up?

6 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3290 posts in 3224 days

#1 posted 02-02-2015 02:52 AM

I guess it depends what you intend to put on the shelves. If yarn storage, no problem; reference books would be a whole other story however. I usually tend to over build my projects so I wouldn’t be comfortable with this design. At the very least, I would use PB screws in addition to the glue. Better still, rest each shelving unit on a floor cabinet. FWIW

-- Art

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 3158 days

#2 posted 02-02-2015 01:00 PM

I expect this unit to stay in the house if we ever sell, so I figure it needs to be able to support a full load of books. The original plan was to have each set of shelves rest on the base cabinets (which is why I thought particle board would be sufficient in the first place), but after I finished those, we changed it up to try to preserve the open work space.

I’m contemplating extending the sides a bit to capture the bottom shelf in a dado, but I think that would make the unit look like a free-standing bookshelf that’d been screwed to a wall. I’m also not convinced that a loaded shelf wouldn’t break away from the french cleat—I’ve seen too many PB failures.

I think I did fairly well with the base unit, but looks like it’s time to go do some more research on uppers.

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2598 days

#3 posted 02-02-2015 01:14 PM

Hey! I am not sure about PB, i would be iffy, I did however make my kitchen cabinetry quite similarly, but out of 3/4 plywood and just had cleats in the bottom and top of the cabinetry. They’ve been hanging for over a year, loaded with all kind of heavy kitchen stuff and no problems what so ever. Of course I used some heavy duty fasteners to get it attached to the wall. You can see it here in my blog

All in all, if I was to build it and have the chance of having books on it i would not build it out of PB, just because if I sell the place I wouldn’t want to have the shelf fall off the wall or even worse, fall on top of someone.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6337 posts in 3276 days

#4 posted 02-02-2015 09:12 PM

Question, assuming for a moment that you continue with your original plan. What had you planed on using to fasten this cabinet together with? Screws, nails, biscuits, dominos etc.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 3158 days

#5 posted 02-02-2015 11:43 PM

The base cabinets are all glue in rabbets and dados—the only fasteners are in the countertop—but the rabbet joints are all vertical, so weight is borne by solid material. When I changed the drawing to reflect hanging the shelves, I guess I got wrapped up in the drawing itself and wasn’t considering the stresses involved—I wasn’t even thinking about adding anything mechanical to the joints.

After starting to realize doubts, my first thought was to add 2-3 long confirmat screws to each joint, but visions of the bottom shelf blowing out led me to ask for a sanity check.

Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight when I drew all this up…I’ve also since realized that the 7ft+ bridge between the shelf units is certainly not going to support itself without sagging, much less anything heavy (but I think a few inconspicuous shelf brackets will fix that). I love Sketchup, but occasionally it does lead me to forget things….like gravity….

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 02-02-2015 11:56 PM

@Jake: Good to see some success with a similar open frame case. With 3/4” BB Ply, I would certainly feel a great deal more comfortable with this design.

I think at this point, I either revert to my plan of resting the shelves on the countertop or change the materials for the case. With melamine cabinets & shelves, and white formica countertop, I don’t think painted plywood for these cases is going to look right, though.

At least I can always turn all this 12” melamine into more shelves…I don’t think the wife will complain if I have to build her another shelf unit in the craft room!

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