Some background for my question:

  • I have three 2x12x10 planks of stock lumber we already ran through a planer to get relatively smooth.
  • They will be used for open shelving in our kitchen supported by 1/4" thick steel brackets that are rated at 200lbs per pair.
  • Each shelf with have three of these brackets holding them up.
  • On average, each plank weighs roughly 30lbs (rounding up for simplicity!)
  • Brackets will be anchored to studs.
  • However, brackets are simple "L" brackets with no "support" bar for cantilevering, hence the main reason for this question! See photo below.
  • Bracket dimensions are: 11.5" deep, 9.375" tall, 1.5" wide
  • Dishes, cups, and glassware can add up quick weight wise. For example, our main plates alone weigh ~25lbs.
  • There are plenty of studs to anchor into if I could devise a sort of French cleat system or something similar...

Question: Is there something I could rig up along the back lip of each shelf/plank to guarantee stability/hold?

Am I over thinking this? Would adding extra support besides just brackets be overkill?


3 Answers 3


I'd suggest that you add a bracket on top for every bracket underneath. The effect of this (very roughly speaking) is that you'll double the stiffness of the bracket and double the effective length of the half against the wall.

The only downside is a bracket lump that dishes won't sit on, but if it was really upsetting, you could put a groove in the top surface to flush up the bracket.

  • Great solution and I might have used it, but the spacing just didn't work to my advantage in this case. Feb 24, 2017 at 2:53

Final "answer": ended up putting in a series of pocket holes from the bottom of each shelf that lined up with studs. Then drove some 5" Spax screws. The shelves immediately stiffened up. Worked like a charm!

pocket hole

loaded shelves


I would strongly suggest that you get some better brackets. There is no reason to use something with out a reasonably decent design. Here are some examples:

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Acquire brackets similar to these that are sized to the width of the shelf material. Then securely fasten these into the wall studs and to the shelves themselves and you should have very little concern regarding the stability of the installation.

  • Thanks for the input, but my question does not consider using a different type of bracket. Question is very specifically geared towards finding a "reasonable" solution implementing the bracket listed above. Jan 30, 2017 at 5:22
  • @JakeSchmitz - Well sometimes the choices we make are not the best. I suggest that if you could let go of the less than optimum brackets that you would not be posting here fishing for some type of work around that may even be a kind of a kluge. Just being honest here as I see it.
    – Michael Karas
    Jan 30, 2017 at 7:52

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