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Thread: Hanging bookcase on wall without french cleat?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Charleston, WV
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    Hanging bookcase on wall without french cleat?

    I need to hang a bookcase (43" x 36") to a wall in my kid's room and for design reasons, didn't plan on a french cleat (and it's too late to add one). Instead I attached stretchers between the sides under two shelves, glued and screwed (with plugs). I assume the unit will carry a fair amount of weight since it is expected to hold junior's books .

    My plan is to use either long course thread drywall screws or small diameter lags into the studs, but I'm starting to worry about the strength of this approach. (I guess, now that I think about it, using a FC which is lagged or screwed into the wall would provide roughly the same degree of shear strength, but I want to be sure. I suppose I could just add a decorative supporting cleat below the unit for additional strength.) Any suggestions or have I just answered my own question?

    Thanks,
    Tony

  2. #2
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    Mar 2003
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    It sounds like you're describing the standard upper cabinet in a kitchen. Those are generally installed with screws into the studs. I've taken apart enough kitchens to be surprised at the shear strength of a few drywall screws. I'd use better screws than drywall ones, but otherwise the technique does work. Those cabinets do have a "nail rail", so that the screws are going through something more substantial than a quarter-inch plywood back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    State Capital, WI
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    Tony,

    I would not use "drywall screws" to attach the shelf. Use washer head screws. The BORG sells these for attaching kitchen cabinets. The have an auger point and the larger bearing surface helps prevent pull through. I believe that they have a greater shear strength and would be less prone to failure. Attaching through the stretchers of the shelves into the studs should be adequate. As Jamie said, this is very similar to how an upper cabinet is attached to a wall. good luck.

    Rob
    oops ....1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 - yup all there, whew!

  4. #4
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    I agree with Rob...drywall screws are not the right choice. They are brittle and not designed to hold a lot of weight, despite the fact that so many use them. The best choice is nice #10 or #12 2 1/2" screws designed for the purpose. And even the washer-head version can be countersunk and plugged if you desire that for aesthetics.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Bay Area - Northern California
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    1/4" x 2 1/2 or 3" lag bolts into the studs are my choice for hanging cabinets. I used these to hang my 50" plasma and my kitchen cabinets. Just make sure you pre-drill the holes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Charleston, WV
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    Thanks for the tips, folks. Actually, I meant deck screws, not drywall screws. I have some of the coated variety in the shop which should work fine, if I can't find any of the "cabinet mounting screws" at the local borg tomorrow.
    Tony

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Frederick, MD
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    317
    As others have said - use cabinet screws (you may have to ask around - but they DO have them). And make sure you get the screw solidly into the studs. You don't want those cabinets coming off the wall. I had it happen to me when I was a kid (my dad used molly bolts into drywall - they didn't hold). When the shelf unit collapsed - it ALL came down. My friend had been sitting on the floor right at "ground zero" about 10 minutes before the thing came down. If he had been there when it collapsed.... it wouldn't have been pretty. My father and I both learned a valuable lesson that day.

  8. #8
    If it is the added depth of a french cleat that is the problem, there are low profile metal ones available. Perhaps it can be attached to the stretcher without sticking out too far.

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