Wardrobe sag and advice

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benhen31

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Hi all,

I'm in the planning stages of creating a pair of built in wardrobes, one either side of our window, to replace some existing free standing ones. Possibly with a window seat in-between.
Below are some images; a photo of the room currently, with a sketch done by a wardrobe firm of what I want to end up with, (who quoted £4.5k!) and then my sketchup drawing of the right hand unit (I've not drawn the full thing yet).

I want to paint the external parts but have the internals in oak finish. My first thought was oak veneered ply, but the three timbers merchants I've tried near me say they can't get it (Is there a shortage of oak veneered ply? I thought it was a common material) and all suggested MDF oak veneer instead.

Having experienced shelf sag with MDF previously I'm a bit paranoid that my spans - esp the carcass itself - will lead to sagging if I use MDF.

The Sagulator tells me I'll have a 1.36mm sag across my largest 1230mm span, even without much load (since the top will be near the ceiling and the void hidden behind a filler panel so won't have things put on it), which I can reduce slightly if I add a hardwood lip, that it rates as 'acceptable'. The central shelf, which will have drawers below it, has a similar sag even though it's slightly shorter span when you add the weight load that the shelf might be holding.

I guess my questions are;
  • Will this be noticeable to the human eye? And is there anything I can do construction wise to help?
    I've thought about a front lip, which might be doable on the internal shelf, but not really the carcass itself.
  • Will the long uprights suffer from deviation if they're MDF?
  • And is there an issue with veneered ply availability?
  • Would you approach it differently?

IMG_1568.PNG


sketch.jpeg


Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 12.02.26.png

(drawers in the bottom half, hanging pole in the top for shirts)


Thanks,
Ben.
 
I used Ash faced MDF for mine a few years ago, I wrapped the front edges with a U shaped section of Ash- mainly to cover up the edge. The main shelf which was built in was about 4mtrs long and the only way to hold it up at the front was some legs, a bit like balustrades. Sounds bad but it was quite unobtrusive when it was done.
You could take it to the ceiling which gives you away of securing the top.
Appreciate the information given to us btw.
Ian
 
I used Ash faced MDF for mine a few years ago, I wrapped the front edges with a U shaped section of Ash- mainly to cover up the edge. The main shelf which was built in was about 4mtrs long and the only way to hold it up at the front was some legs, a bit like balustrades. Sounds bad but it was quite unobtrusive when it was done.
You could take it to the ceiling which gives you away of securing the top.
Appreciate the information given to us btw.
Ian
Hi Ian,

I've been debating an oak runner along the front like you suggest. The Sagulator doesn't credit it with making a massive difference, but every little helps! I can't do a support in the middle of my main shelf as it'll have drawers underneath, but I could hide a cross brace behind the top drawer face I suppose.

Did your U shape go over the top and bottom of the shelf, so there's a step to the shelf surface (image 1)? Or did you rebate the MDF to take the U shape (image 2)?

1.
Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 14.44.19.png
or 2.
Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 14.49.07.png


If option 2, which would visually look better, does the MDF tongue have enough strength to it when the rest of the shelf is trying to sag? Or am I picturing it wrong?

Thanks,
Ben.
 
It was Nr 1 but it only stood proud of the shelf by 3mm and all rounded over on the spindle molder.
Not sure if the sagulator is accurate but this definitely made a difference.
 
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