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Take a look at this calculator. You are correct in looking for beam deflection but the details matter for accuracy. http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm Using Red Maple as the wood type with your measurements above the calculator estimates a .1" deflection with a 40 pound per foot uniform load.


It will depend on your book load, and whether your "hard maple" is really sugar maple or not. There is, of course, an easy way to deal with the calculations these days. Do be sure to read all the "notes" below the calculator. Shelf thickness (or "depth" in beam speak) cubed is indeed the correct factor, and why even small changes in thickness make large ...

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