I'm pricing and researching supplies for built-ins in my living room. The plan is cabinets on the bottom, a cubby for a TV and staggered shelves for several hundred HEAVY books above that. My instinct is to build the whole thing out of 3/4" birch ply, but I'm also looking at pre-built wall cabinets for the base to possibly save myself some hassle.
This leads to a number of questions about material choice and structural design. For instance, could a couple IKEA wall cabinets be the base for a structure that will hold a thousand pounds? Two thousand pounds? (I'm aware the floor has to support this as well - I'm on a slab.)
So, based on materials, joints, and structure, how can I estimate how much a piece of furniture can hold? How much weight can a box-frame support? At what span will a shelf of material X fail? Are there tables or online resources available for this sort of thing?