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I have two free standing wardrobes, 2.8m by 2m (depth 70cm). Actually inside the wardrobe there is one internal 'wall', halfway 1m, so it divides each wardrobe into 2, but is no stronger than the side 'walls'.

I would like to remove the back board

(for ventilation purposes and to keep an eye on possible mould)

but I am worried about racking

(when a rectangle box structure slides horizontally forming a diamond before collapsing...).

What are my best options?

I thought about using internal L brackets, similar to shelving brackets, I have some industrial strength ones to hand for 60cm shelves (with a diagonal support within the L). Could that work? Would I need to support all four angles? IF I use internal L brackets should they be longer? Or if these brackets are overkill, let me know because i don-t want to waste these shelving brackets!

Or should I go for four strips of backing plywood to place within the original backing board grooves? (a piece along each vertical, and each horizontal) So a a partial back board by at least with this some of the wall behind is visible.

Or.. the fact there are two wardrobes, shall I join them?

Or....?

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Consider drilling a series of 4" holes instead. You'll retain most of the shear strength, and get some ventilation. Diagonal braces are more effective but more work. T brackets at each rear junction are a possibility, but probably not as strong as the backboard with 4" holes.

  • Thnx again Bryce, So if I wanted to avoid the backboard and accept reasonable cost and effort, what would you recommend? – EnglishAdam Jan 28 '14 at 10:33
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    @Gamemorize, Bryce's fix is a good one at a reasonable cost, with the 4" holes at the top and bottom of the backerboard. No disassembly is needed, clear the contents, drill the holes clean up and replace your contents. Your mention of removing and replacing with smaller corner pieces in the corners only, would work too, though there would be no real way to "lock" them in as a full panel would do. So the potential of the connection to fail is possible. The backs are set in they way they are to account for wood movement, when it is not accounted for will allow a wardrobe to fall apart. – Jack Jan 28 '14 at 15:54
  • @jack, it is a very good solution and may even be what i do but i can-t accept it because the question states I want to remove all the backboard. – EnglishAdam Jan 28 '14 at 22:42
  • Not a good idea to remove all of it. Using small metal brackets that screw in place are concentrating a lot of pressure in small places, the screws. Wood needs to move, cabinets are constructed such that it is strong, yet allows the wood to move. If you feel you must remove the back, use the angle brackets that were suggested to attach it to the wall instead of using them in the corners where they will fail. if not immediately, in time, and wood will crack. Then moving the cabinet will be precarious at best, should you need to. The diagonal brace Bryce mentioned is the next best thing. – Jack Jan 29 '14 at 1:45
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The easiest solution would be to fix a diagonal tension/compression member across the back, from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. If you use a rigid support like a metal rod, you'll just need one. If you use something like steel cable or webbing, you'll need two forming an X. Note that whatever you use cannot have much stretch to it, or the wardrobe will be wobbly even if it isn't in danger of falling down.

An eye bolt at each end with a turnbuckle in the middle would be a good solution for getting steel cables taut. Use crimping sleeves to hold everything in place, and cable thimbles for the bends to reduce stress on the cable.

Lag Eye Bolt Turnbuckle Crimping Sleeve Cable Thimble

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    I don't know why someone downvoted this so I'm restoring to neutral. – ThePopMachine Jan 28 '14 at 15:51
  • Thanks, I like your thinking.. but i would worry that with typical modern wardrobe 'wood' just as the cable was taut it would tear the eyebuckle out... – EnglishAdam Jan 28 '14 at 22:36
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My vote would have been for equilateral triangular sections of hardwood (with sides of 50-60 cm each) to fit in the grooves left when you remove the back panels. Would be similar to your idea of shelving brackets, but less "industrial" in appearance than either the brackets or the steel cable solutions.

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