I'm gearing up to build some shelves. Some really long and some really short. My goal is to figure out how on thin I can go depending on how long the piece of Wood/MDF/Melamine is going to be.

I also understand that all 3 materials have different strengths, but lets assume all 3 are the same strength.

For example when I pick up a nice piece of 4x8 - 1/2 inch piece of plywood. As hard as I try to bend it, it doesn't bend. But I never see people using anything less than ~3/4 thickness shelving regardless of the length.

Is there Formula for thickness of Wood/MDF/melamine for shelving?

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    You may get some help using the sagulator . woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator – Kris May 14 at 1:29
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    I recently did a set of 8 foot shelves. I had limited studs I was able to use for that span, so I needed something strong. I may have went overboard, but I used 2x10 douglas fir boards. From what I've read, douglas fir is lighter and stronger than the typical pine boards you'd buy. – Phaelax z May 14 at 6:55
  • @phaelaxz Yea brother, that's pure drama. I think 1 inch piece of wood would be overboard. I've already decided on going with 3/4 inch board across the board with all my shelves regardless of size. – Sickest May 17 at 7:42

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