Novice here. Building a book shelf along the full wall and floor-to-ceiling of my basement. Made up some plans, since I couldn't find any that really matched. Wondering a few things.

  1. Am I missing anything?
  2. Do I need any additional support (will attach to wall)
  3. I know MDF is looked down on, but am I "okay" to use it for the verticals like this? They seem SO Much easier with the pre-drilled holes...etc.
  4. Do I need the header 2x4s?

Notes: Was thinking the bottom would be 2x6s (treated, since on concrete), and the top would be 2x4s (not sure if needed, but figured I want something for the crown molding to go on.

Any thoughts/suggestions/insults welcome. Thanks! :)

enter image description here

  • MDF is looked down on? I think it's used far more often for bookcases than boards are; look at any flat pack stuff. It's a great material for this project, maybe ideal. If your pegs only go in half the board thickness you don't need to double up, unless that's a looks thing.
    – dandavis
    Feb 18 at 19:11
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    You are the one who has to look at it everyday, what anyone else thinks about MDF does not matter. If you like it, use it.
    – crip659
    Feb 18 at 20:17
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    This may be better served over a Woodworking stack. woodworking.stackexchange.com
    – Alaska Man
    Feb 18 at 20:24
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    Assuming that you're going to use 1/2" or 3/4 inch plywood for the shelves then you'll want to pick the one strong enough to not sag over time with the anticipated weight that you will put on the shelf. The vertical MDF boards are probably fine but if a dowel ever rips out (or downward) due to overloading then it will likely damage the MDF in a similar fashion to the image I posted earlier.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 18 at 21:08
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    @Dave Just use pressure treated when touching the floor and call it a day. There's no reason to build this and then lose sleep thinking about "what if it rots?" A few unexpected rainstorms and the concrete will gladly wick moisture into the wood.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Feb 19 at 14:44

Done! Ended up building the base and two verticals with treated 2x4s, and regular 2x4s for cross-support around the fireplace. Then sandwiched-in the verticals with MDF.

As you can see, I also used big L-brackets to support the long horizontals. Likely a bit overboard there, but I think they'll look okay once it's filled. Was hoping for a long, open spans aesthetic instead of putting extra verticals in.

The MDF looks nice for now. It does have little dings and nicks. Went with a rustic looking wood pattern, so it doesn't seem to affect the overall look. So far. We'll see how well it holds up over the years. It was certainly nice to work with, and saved a lot of painting. I think I'd use it again if I were to make another.

I haven't put the baseboard across the bottom yet. Haven't decided if I'm going to use the white baseboard that will be in the room, or more of this wood-looking mdf 3.5" pieces like the verticals.


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