I'm looking at different shelving options and I really like the look of this shiplap wood. I'd like to use it for shelving by connecting two of them together widthwise to make a shelf that is approximately 12" in depth. I'm unsure about this for 2 reasons:

  1. I don't know how strong the shelf would be (my brackets will be 16" apart)

  2. I'm not sure how I can attach the pieces together (would glue be enough?)

The entire depth of the shiplap would be supported by brackets so the joint doesn't need to be super strong.

  • Gluing prefinished wood never gives a strong joint, no need to anyway using 16" centers. Depending what you plan to place on the shelves, you could go every 32", but then the edges should be glued, but then the wood is wrong for that.
    – Jack
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 2:00

2 Answers 2


With brackets 16" apart your lap joint would not need to be super strong.

You could just use a good quality wood glue.

Do all your cuts first and then glue the boards together and place on the brackets.

Use an appropriate length screw from the underside of the bracket to secure the shelf to the bracket to keep if from moving around.

  • i disagree with cutting before glueing. Much easier to cut one board to final size than cutting 2 boards and try to line them up while glueing.
    – Quoc Vu
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 4:52
  • @QuocVu I recommend it in this case because the the two boards are only glued together at the very narrow overlap of the ship lap joint. Moving around long glued boards could result in that joint breaking/splitting. It could be done afterwards if care was taken to support both pieced of the glue up when moving it off and on the saw etc.
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 16:50
  • the shiplap joint is much stronger than the standard butt joint. And the butt join is what we use to make big boards. If clamped tightly, I have never seen the glue given up. Even if you smash these big boards, they are most likely to break elsewhere than at the glue joints
    – Quoc Vu
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 23:13

if you have a router or a table saw, you can easily remove the finish on the lip of the board. Then wood glue them will give you a super strong connection. Glue on bare wood is much preferred as the finish prevent the glue from penetrating into the wood.

If you have only a circular saw, you can cut off the lip on each board and do a standard edge joint. It won’t be as strong as with the lips but still plenty strong for shelves.

make sure you clamp them well together and the boards stay flat. Cut after glueing to get perfect straight edges.

use small short screws to attach to the support brackets.

have you thought about what to do w/ the exposed edges?

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