Bulging oak bookcase

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Old 03-23-13, 05:12 PM
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Bulging oak bookcase

Okay, it happened again - a top shelf in one of my four 7' x 32" oak bookcases collapsed and dropped everything on the shelf below and the floor! These bookcases are about 15 years old, and over the years, the front of the side panels has moved out. Thus, the 5/8" oak shelves, (they seem to be 5-ply), are pretty close to the side panels at their backs, but are up to 3/8" out from the right side and 1/4" out on the left front side. It is obvious why the L-brackets with the 5mm x 3/8" tubes are pulled out of the side holes. With much weight at all, the pegs just pull out of the holes and down they come!

The sides of the bookcase are also 5/8" wood (probably 5-ply also). The backing on the cases seems to be sturdily attached, but is a thin panel of wood, attached to the backs of the sides. It hasn't seemed to budge. If these pics come through, you'll be able to clearly see the problem by what happened today! (Oh, and you can see that I've even tried stuffing cloth in there to tighten the area. Okay, it wasn't my best brain day when I did that!! LOL)

I'm not a woodworker - just a semi-old Granny, so would appreciate some ideas that don't involve my having to completely rebuild them or anything.

I guess I'm looking for an idea to bring those side panels back in toward the center some way.

Thanks so much,

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Old 03-23-13, 05:23 PM
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Addition to my Bulging bookcase issue

Just noticed that it may not be easy to see the edging of the shelves in the pictures. Each shelf is faced with a nice rounded 1 1/2" high x 1/2" deep board, as is the top piece. Don't know if that changes things - just FYI,
 
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Old 03-23-13, 05:47 PM
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I'd recommend making one of those shelves in the middle permanent by putting a pair of screws through each side of the book case and into the ends of the shelves. Once that's done, the book case would no longer spread apart in front.

Adding too many books to the shelves (squeezing in that one extra book) puts constant pressure on the sides of the book case which eventually will force the sides apart. So that's why I'd recommend one fixed shelf to prevent that from happening.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 06:16 PM
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Idea for bulging bookcase repair

Thanks for the reply! I do like that idea - and if one shelf isn't enough to pull the wider ones in, I may even have to do the 2nd shelf from the top and the 2nd from the bottom.

May I ask about the screws - since I'll be going through the 5/8" 5 ply sides into the edge of a 5/8" 5-ply shelf board, is there size or type of screw I should use? About how far should it go into the shelf edge to hold well? I am assuming two on each side of the shelf. There are plenty of pre-drilled peg holes all along the sides, but they accomodate 5mm pegs, so I probably should avoid drilling through near them, right?

And, you are right about the heavy books. Good grief - I have far too many of them!!!

Thanks again.
 
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Old 03-24-13, 06:28 PM
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Yeah, I'd avoid the adjustable shelf peg holes, but you can use them as a guide to help you predrill some holes. You will want probably some 2" deck screws or similar.

I would probably take a ruler and line it up over the top of the 5mm pegs. This represents the bottom of the shelf. Then drill 2 or 3 very small pilot holes- using a 3/32" or 5/64" drill bit- that are exactly 5/16" above the ruler. (this places the pilot holes directly in line with the middle of your shelf.) Drill slowly so that the drill bit doesn't blow out the opposite side when it punches through.

If you have a countersinker, (creates a slightly indented cone shape) use that on the pilot holes outside the cabinet so that the screw heads will be nice and flush once they are driven in.

Set the shelf on the pegs and drill the pilot hole into the ends of the shelf as well. You want the pilot hole to be as deep as the screws are long. That way the screws will follow the pilot hole and won't be as likely to crack the plywood. 5/8" is kind of thin, so you want to be sure the screws go in nice and straight into the middle, not off to the side at all.
 
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Old 03-26-13, 10:25 AM
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You are a gem! I really appreciate the very clear explanation of how to do this! I would not have thought about the process as you explained it, so you saved me some major goof-ups! Thanks VERY much, XSleeper!
 
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Old 03-26-13, 10:38 AM
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Glad to help... hope it solves your problem so that you don't have to deal with it again!

If you don't want the screws to be visible, instead of countersinking them and using a 2" deck screw, you might be able to find some 2" trim screws at the lumber yard. A trim screw leaves a smaller hole, and when you sink it just below the surface of the wood, you can then fill the hole with colored putty, hiding it.
 
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Old 03-26-13, 10:57 AM
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Good idea! I'll see what I can find. Thanks again. I mentioned that I have four of these to do, so will have some good practice with the first one before I tackle the others. As mentioned previously, I may just do two of the shelves 1/3 from both top and bottom, rather than just the center one, for added stability. Think I'll tackle this later in the spring, early summer, so that I can get them into the garage and work out there. That will give me time to box up all of these books!
 
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Old 04-20-13, 11:44 AM
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Ready to get started on repair.... BUT.....

Okay, so I'm armed with all of the tools and hardware. A man at Lowes helped me and suggested I get a box of All Purpose Wood Screws, Star Drive, Cross-cut Thread Type 17 Point, 8x2... which included the star Bit which I hope I donít strip or break.

I have chalk lines drawn on the inside of the sides of the bookcase - to show the top and the bottom of the shelf where it is to sit. I'll start by drilling the 3/32" holes between my chalk lines, into the sides from the inside out, then drilling the countersink on the outside as you directed.

But --- Because of the distance between the inside of the bookcase side and the edge of the shelf (where it's bowed out), the pegged shelf brackets towards the front of the bookcase sag. In order to draw a proper chalk line, I had to reach under and raise each bracket up to a right angle temporarily. I also noted that a number of the holes Iíve used over the years have enlarged a bit, so moving the height of any of the shelves is not really an option. I know - too many heavy books! LOL My description is probably clear as mud, thus I am posting pictures of how bad it is.

Your directions then advise me to replace the angle brackets, place the shelf in its proper position, drill the pilot holes into the edge of the shelf, then install the screws. Sounds simple - but Iíve realized that with no one to around to hold the shelf even, I cannot both hold the shelf level and drill the pilot hole or place the screws into the edge of the shelf.

Question #1 Ė if I put wood filler in the hole and insert the metal peg of the bracket, duct taped it securely at a right angle and left it overnight, would that possibly be enough to hold the shelf through the drilling process? Or, would something like a small amount of Gorilla Glue in the hole and on the back of the bracket work? The issue of the shelf being up to ľĒ away from the side of the bookcase still exists, but if the brackets were completely secure I might be able to keep them level for the drilling and the screws.

Iíll bet you feel as if you are trying to help the Three Stooges with a construction problem!

Thanks.

Below: Brackets near front of shelf as they sit now versus as they SHOULD sit
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Old 04-20-13, 03:45 PM
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The shelf doesn't need to be installed to snap your chalk line, if you want to draw a line with a pencil, use a straightedge to keep the line straight. That will get your pilot holes in the correct place. When working alone I often cut pieces of lumber to hold something in place. Sometimes the lumber can be wedged in place, other times it needs a clamp.
 
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Old 04-21-13, 06:25 PM
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Still need a way to keep pegged shelf brackets in...

I think I know what you are saying; however, I have no problem drilling the pilot holes through the sides of the bookcase. I have the lines all marked where the shelf will sit.

The issue is that the shelf itself will not stay level on the brackets so I can put my bit THROUGH the bookcase side and INTO THE EDGE OF THE SHELF. If I can get the brackets to stay in and hold the shelf where it is supposed to be, I could drill pilot holes and place the screws all the way into the shelf edge, too. Right now, the brackets bend down due to the spacing the bulge creates.

I don't own a piece of lumber to ues as a wedge or support anything - and the shelves are 32" X 12" = very heavy. I don't own a clamp and don't have $$ to buy one.

What I am trying to find out is if there is a glue or filler that I could use in the peg holes, insert the pegged brackets, leave them overnight, and have them be firmly attached for a time. With the brackets in the right position, not sagging, the shelf will be appropriately aligned and level, at least long enough for me to finish drilling the pilot holes and insert the screws.

Thanks.

Granny K.
 
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Old 04-22-13, 05:37 AM
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Gluing the pegs will probably work. Would it be feasible to use your books or something to prop up the sag in the shelf until you secure it with screws?
 
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Old 04-22-13, 07:16 AM
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You can drill new peg holes 1/2" left or right of the damaged holes. Another option is shim between the bracket and shelf with cardboard (not corrugated) to the proper height.
 
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Old 04-22-13, 07:29 AM
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What type of glue to you recommend? Gorilla Glue expands, I guess, and I have no way to clamp the bracket for awhile. I can duct tape it. , I guess, but a non-expanding glue might be better. I might also try a piece of wood (toothpick) in the peg hole with the glue to make the peg tighter in the hole.

Re: using books to support shelf - A good idea; however, the shelves are all pretty weak due to the bulge in the sides, and the books might bring the shelf down. I'll sure give it a try, though And, maybe I can use the shim idea with that lower shelf to hold it steady, then use the books to support the shelf I'm drilling..

Thanks, guys, for your patience and good suggestions. I'll "bite the bullet" and give it a try.

Granny K
 
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