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Book/Craft Storage Shelving Unit

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Keith Cocker

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Hi, I am going to make a Storage Unit for my wife's studio. She wants to paint it so no need for hardwood. It will be approx 90 x 170 with 4 shelves. Whilst I've made lots of stuff on a smaller scale in hardwoods I've not really much experience with softwood or man made stuff. I was wondering if there were any views on MDF v Redwood or any other possibility I haven't thought of!
 

Jacob

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Redwood totally superior to man made stuff and a pleasure to work with.
I've got redwood book shelves probably 100 years old (were my grandparents') still good for another 100.
The simplest have shelves into dadoes (stopped at the front face) glued and nailed.
Others fancier with a carcass and shelves loose on wooden pegs adjustable.
 
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Jameshow

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I built some camper van cabinets from Wickes exterior plywood, the quality wasn't bad and it hardly chipped despite not using the best of blades.

Cheers James
 
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thetyreman

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definitely solid wood not MDF, either pine or tulipwood! MDF is weak and will sag, it's also very heavy compared with wood.
 

recipio

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If that is 90 cms wide you will need a central support at least to prevent sagging. I hate to paint over quality wood so tend to make shelves out of flush doors which are nothing more than fancy torsion boxes. Just glue in a batten wherever you have exposed the 'eggbox ' interior to support the outer veneers. You can plonk a set of encyclopedias on them and they will not deflect.
 

Jacob

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If that is 90 cms wide you will need a central support at least to prevent sagging. I hate to paint over quality wood so tend to make shelves out of flush doors which are nothing more than fancy torsion boxes. Just glue in a batten wherever you have exposed the 'eggbox ' interior to support the outer veneers. You can plonk a set of encyclopedias on them and they will not deflect.
Quick measure of my 100 year old bookshelves here, made of redwood: 900 mm wide, 13 mm thick, 230 deep. No central support, heavily loaded, look fine to me.
To be honest there's a slight sag which you'd hardly notice but if I turn them over it will be gone in 50 years perhaps.
 

recipio

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Quick measure of my 100 year old bookshelves here, made of redwood: 900 mm wide, 13 mm thick, 230 deep. No central support, heavily loaded, look fine to me.
To be honest there's a slight sag which you'd hardly notice but if I turn them over it will be gone in 50 years perhaps.
The amount of sagging depends on whether the shelves are fixed to the verticals or floating. Personally I couldn't live with any amount of sagging under load - it is a design failure. Its amazing how the eye will pick it up. However I see lots of interviews with covid experts with sagging bookshelves behind them so perhaps I have a touch of OCD ,o_O
 

Jacob

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The amount of sagging depends on whether the shelves are fixed to the verticals or floating. Personally I couldn't live with any amount of sagging under load - it is a design failure. Its amazing how the eye will pick it up. However I see lots of interviews with covid experts with sagging bookshelves behind them so perhaps I have a touch of OCD ,o_O
My shelves are ancient and overloaded in spite of which there is only a slight dip. 5/8" instead of 1/2" would have been better.
Plywood, and worse MDF, are both much more saggy.
 

recipio

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If the torsion box idea is too much hassle you can machine 40 mm battens for the front and back and use any cheap material let into dadoes. Personally I like thick looking shelves.
 

Jacob

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.....Personally I couldn't live with any amount of sagging under load - it is a design failure. .....
No it's a feature of an overloaded shelf.
Either way redwood (most woods) will stiffer and straighter for longer then MDF or Ply
 

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