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I have heavy wood shelves about 1.25" thick and extend 11" from the wall, with differing lengths ranging from 34" to 100". I've noticed that even shelf brackets that are even 5-6"L have a high weight capacity but are much cheaper than 10-11"L brackets. These are for the kitchen so will be holding dishes.

Are there any fast rules for how close in size the bracket and shelf should be?

If not, what is the shortest bracket length that is acceptable or should I not worry about length and just look at weight capacity?

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The problem isn't weight capacity (that is important, but usually not the problem). The problem is balancing. If you have a bracket goes the full depth of the shelf then it supports the entire shelf. If it only goes halfway (e.g., 6" on an 11" shelf) then if the center of gravity is anywhere in the front half of the shelf, you will have big problems. In addition, a shelf supported under its entire depth (or the majority of the depth) does not necessarily have to be securely fastened to supports, it can just rest on top of the supports. But if the last support is near the center then even just a little weight could easily tip the shelf unless it is securely fastened to the supports.

I would not trust short supports for dishes or books.

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  • Yes. I would want the support to be at least 3/4 of the shelf depth. – Mattman944 Nov 3 '20 at 1:01

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