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Bookcase / shelves - which materials?

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Charlie Woody

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My mother in law has asked me to make some floor to ceiling bookcases for her study. I suggested solid timber but she was not overly keen, nor was she keen on a combination of manmade boards with solid lippings.

She seems to be leaning towards something like conti board and I am not too keen on this as I have only seen it available in 15mm thickness which I feel will very quickly sag and then I'll get it in the neck!!!!

So I think I am looking for something that has sufficient strength to take a heavy load, does not require finish to be applied and that I can construct with a mixture of fixed and adjustable shelves. I will need to be able to dismantle and re assemble to allow me get it from workshop to mother in laws.

Oh by the way did I mention she wants it done very quickly and cheaply too!!!!
 

Chrispy

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Charlie Woody said:
My mother in law has asked me

I know how you feel! :wink:

She wants contibord, :cry: ok just keep the shelves short with lots of uprights (hammer)
 

condeesteso

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yes, been there before. Rule out most composites unless you set uprights at about 400mm intervals... even then very saggy. Ply or blockboard is a lot better. So veneered ply 15 or 18mm maybe, and it depends on the span. Hardwood molding along fronts cheating a bit by making that a little thicker and rebating under the sheet material. And depending on spen, a way of fixing shelves at back discreetly.
One other rule... "I want it good, quick and cheap." Reply: "pick any two." (mother-in-law or not, there are still rules).
 

Charlie Woody

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Hi guys - thanks for the feedback.

Does veneered ply come with both faces veneered in same material as I thought that only one face was veneered? So 18mm oak veneered ply would have one face with oak and the other with a "balancing" veneer. I do know that both faces veneered mdf is available but you lost the strength of the ply.

If the spans need to be kept down to 400mm for conti board stuff then I have a problem ...... the shelves in one area need to go over a radiator which from must be at least 600mm wide, more when you allow for the pipes etc.
 

Chrispy

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Most veneered boards do come two sides but they will be A/B one best side and one not so good. I find MDF has taken over from ply and blockboard as a rule you may not be able to find veneered ply that thick. If you want pre finnished board melamine faced MDF would be my choice 18mm.
Build a bridge over radiator to carry centre support.
 

mailee

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Could you build it as a torsion box construction? That way you could make a stronger shelf for it's thickness and a lighter structure too. Just a thought. :wink:
 

Charlie Woody

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Alan

I guess I could .... have n't tried that technique before so would probably add to the build time. Mother in law is very impatient so I think I may need a different solution. Thanks anyway.
 

twothumbs

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Personally I would avoid any melamine faced chipboard. I have just finished making up a load of shelves and cupboards to match a job from twenty years ago and immediately regretted it. A good idea thirty / forty years ago, but horses for courses. Ply if available, or faced MDF, both much easier to work with. The chipboard core doesn't work too well as it is too soft. I used to have a thickness / span formula for blockboard, laminanated board , etc. Will try and find it. Depends on how you are working of course. Hope this is of some help.
 

woodbloke

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Chipboard and mdf of any variety will sag under it's own weight, never mind books (which are in themselves very heavy) Ply (18mm) or solid timber is the way forward, but as Paul suggests, check out the Sagulator - Rob
 

imasinner

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25mm Birch Ply ... stiffer then block board, have used it for shelves around 1.1m long
 

Benchwayze

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Woody,

You are probably not going to charge for your labour, so if the issue is price of materials, advise your MIL to look at IKEA. In the end it will be quicker and cheaper, whatever material you might choose. The quality won't be there of course, but I am sure she knows the old adage about 'what you gets for what you pays'.

Good Luck.


John :wink:
 

AndyT

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Benchwayze":iegmze83 said:
Woody,

You are probably not going to charge for your labour, so if the issue is price of materials, advise your MIL to look at IKEA. In the end it will be quicker and cheaper, whatever material you might choose. The quality won't be there of course, but I am sure she knows the old adage about 'what you gets for what you pays'.

Good Luck.


John :wink:
+1

If you need price and speed, you will find them hard to beat, and it sounds like the customer wants it fairly plain. You still score points for getting the job done quick and coping with the complication of the radiator, where you might need a saw and some lateral thinking.

Don't forget too that they do sell the shelves separately, so you could go for a compromise option of a bespoke frame filled with standard 'Billy' shelves.

Our house has a mixture of Ikea bookcases and some I made - guess which one sags!
 

condeesteso

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Good stuff here! - my vote is IKEA, 25mm birch ply would maybe do it, but have you seen the price? And it's over a radiator, so cyclical variations of temperature and humidity. MDF would be a complete disaster - it's a bit like potty putty... it flows in a way, over time.
If you get conned into this tricky job, at least put some foil sandwich insulation under the shelf above the rad... this is an accident waiting to happen me thinks. Bless IKEA... then at least you can blame them.
 

beech1948

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I've had some Billy bookcases for over 20 yrs and they have been superb. I could not build them at the price I can buy from IKEA.

The radiator could be solved by using a short billy bookcase with a rad grill on the front and no shelves with a second on the top as a bookcase.

I agree with everyone else that Contiboard will look horrible and sag in next to no time.

In fact why not price them yourself and tell her its for materials then buy them and deliver ready fit one week later. Don't forget to wear a few plasters and a bandage, to sigh and look tired. You'll be a hero for the rest of her life.

Alan
 

JakeS

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beech1948":1xm3ptvw said:
In fact why not price them yourself and tell her its for materials then buy them and deliver ready fit one week later. Don't forget to wear a few plasters and a bandage, to sigh and look tired.
Problem is, then she'll expect to pay the same kind of money for materials when she asks for a custom-sized wardrobe next year... and he can't blame anyone else if the shelves go bad! ;-)
 

beech1948

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Jake,
One problem at a time please. He could always try the old suck his teeth, shake his head and talk about commiting so much money to built ins then pop back to IKEA for a ready built matching stand alone wardrobe..... its all in the teeth sucking.

Alan
 
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