Bookcase Build Question


Old 02-01-16, 08:23 PM
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Bookcase Build Question

Hi All,

I am building a built in cabinet/bookcase in my den. I have the cabinets already installed (over a year now, much to my wife's chagrin). It's time to move on to the bookcase section. My question is what is the best type of wood to use? Pine? Oak? Plywood? The entire bookcase will be painted, not stained. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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Old 02-01-16, 11:27 PM
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Hey Jim so I'm wondering are the existing cabinets painted ? Going forward I'm assuming they are. Typically the best types of wood for painting cabinets would be maple, pine, ash, poplar and even MDF which I prefer but typically you have to rip the MDF to the correct width the others you can buy the correct width for your face frame. Pine is a cheap one to go with and it has a semi hardness but if you want it to be somewhat tough and durable I would go with a hard maple preferably. I worked at a cabinet shop for many years it has a very tight grain and paints beautifully. Alder is also one you can use that paints well but I believe it's too pretty of a wood to paint, when you stain alder it looks gorgeous! But I digress lol so hopefully that helps you. I'm assuming you're going to be buying a 4x8 sheet and having it ripped possibly for the sides and back? If that's the case use MDF for that. If the cabinets are going to be white I would just buy melamine for the sides and back it's already white and a lot less work you can pre paint your face frames and install them on the existing box. If you have any other questions feel free to ask thanks.
Old 02-02-16, 03:11 AM
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How wide/long will the shelves be? how will they be supported?
A pic or two showing the cabinets and wall would give us a better idea of what you have.
Old 02-02-16, 04:47 AM
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Here is a chart that should help you.
Shelving Spans for Bookcases
Google cabinet shelf's and several will come up.
Old 02-02-16, 06:09 AM
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Oak is out, it's porous and doesn't paint well. Poplar paints well and is harder than pine.
So I would recommend poplar face frames and birch or maple shop grade plywood.

The plywood edges can be finished with solid wood strips or Birch iron-on tape.
Old 02-02-16, 10:53 AM
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Thanks for the replies! I have uploaded a few pictures. The room isnt big enough for me to take a picture of the entire wall, but you will get the idea (9ft ceilings). I will add the shelving above the cabinets, and they shelf spans will equal the cabinet widths, so 30", 36", 36" 30". I had to use fillers to even out the cabinet spacing. The top of the cabinets is 3/4 plywood. It will all be painted white.

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Old 02-02-16, 11:59 AM
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Plywood or poplar would be my choices.
Old 02-02-16, 04:13 PM
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Spanning 36" with 3/4" shelves will be no problem. For open book shelves though I would add a rail to the front of the shelves.
The rail will make the shelves look thicker and stiffen the plywood. Maybe a 1.25 to 1.5" wide rail.

Do you have a Kreg jig for face frame assembly?
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