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Nessmuk

Wood for book shelf

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My woodworking skills are pretty minimal, but I want to add a couple of shelves to an antique bookcase that will be loaded with a considerable weight in, you guessed it, books.

 

The shelves are 64" x 10" x 7/8" and fairly dark. Looks like maple. What would folks that know recommend for a very strong hardwood that could take a 64" span with little bending? I could reinforce the middle of each span but I'd hate to drill into the thing if I can possibly avoid it.

 

Maple or oak the best bet? I'm not even sure what dimensions of lumber I can get my hands on, and I'm not really equipped for planning.

 

Depending on the price, I may also just replace the existing three shelves if I can't match the grain and color well enough.

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64" is a pretty big span for 7/8ths wood to support the weight of a lot of books. Most of my book cases meet their end from overloading. frown.gif

 

Are you looking to replace all the shelves or are you looking to just throw a few more in there?

 

I would say your best is to add more shelves to the unit and try to match the existing wood. If it's still too soft, try reinforcing the shelves and then add a facing onto the front to mask the reinforcements.

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i have always been a fan of oak. if weight of the load is a concern you could put a lip on the front of the shelf that would give it more stability.

 

if you can post a photo of the wood you have someone here could identify it.wink.gif

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What Patrick said.

Two additional points: the facing on the front can actually add a lot of stiffness and help prevent sagging (you could add one on the back if you're not intending to fasten the back of the shelf to the back of the case); also, if it's really an antique you're probably right about making any modifications to it.

You might be able to build something that looks like a bench, with a vertical support on each end that would fit between two existing shelves (there's really space enough to add shelves between existing shelves, or am I visualizing it incorrectly?). That way, no mods to the existing. wink.gif

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Theres are all kinds of oaks, and each one stains a little different. It takes a really good wood worker to add new shelving that matches the originals perfectly. If the grain & stain are just a little bit off its not going to look right. I think the idea mentioned earlier to build a "bench" insert is a good one.

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View PostCherry.

 

Yeah, that was my first thought too...but maybe we should figure out what you are matching. Pic?

You can get 4/4 lumber planed down to 7/8 at most woodworker supply places....7/8 cherry would work with the span you have...

if it is a nice antique bookcase you should try to restore it, not rebuild it.

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