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Top Tips for Building Better Shelves

Shelving is great for many things—housing books, displaying decorative items, providing extra storage, and more. By choosing the right materials, and with the help of your Kreg tools, you will be building better shelves in no time.

Strong, Sturdy Shelving
Strong, Sturdy Shelving Image Most cabinets, home organizers, and storage projects involve at least a couple shelves. And nothing’s worse than seeing a shelf sag as soon as you start loading it up with your stuff. Any time you build a project with shelves, it’s important to keep strength in mind. One of the first things to consider is the material you will use to build your shelves.
Reasons to Pick Plywood
There’s nothing wrong with solid wood shelves. They look great and they’re strong. However, using only solid wood can be expensive. Plus, solid wood expands and contracts, and can also bow and warp over time.

Plywood, on the other hand, is affordable, stable, and strong. But, it still has the potential to sag. Read on to learn how you can avoid potential sagging with plywood.

Support Your Shelf’s Load
Support Your Shelf’s Load Image Always consider the expected load (the weight a shelf will carry) when designing your project. The total load, how it’s arranged, and how the shelf is reinforced all affect the strength of a shelf. It is recommended to not exceed 30" in length if you do not plan to reinforce your shelf. A few ways to increase the strength of a shelf are:
  1. Widen (deepen) the shelf
  2. Shorten the shelf
  3. Add shelf edging, which is easy to do with the Kreg Jig®. Just drill pocket holes along the front edge of plywood, and then add a piece of solid wood that’s placed vertically, as shown. This adds a lot of strength to help the shelf resist sagging.

Fast, Foolproof Shelves
Fast, Foolproof Shelves Image If you’ve ever built a project that incorporated adjustable shelves, then you know just how important it is that the shelf pin holes are positioned accurately. Even a little error can cause a shelf to tilt, wobble, or not sit level. That’s why you should add the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig to your tool collection. For professional-quality cabinets, shelves, and more, it will help you create perfectly-positioned shelves every time. Best of all, the Shelf Pin Jig is easy to use. See it in action here.

Share What You Create
Last month we shared an easy, new way to share what you create with us: Simply email a few photos and a brief description of your latest project to We may then feature your project on Kreg social platforms, crediting you as the builder, of course! Unfortunately, the email address was not working last month, so we apologize to anyone who was unable to reach us. It is working now, and we can’t wait to see your projects start rolling in!

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From Kreg and Woodsmith Magazine
2014 August Home Publishing

Kreg Tool Company
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