Another MDF shelf question

13 Aug 2012
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United Kingdom
Hi all

I'm building some built-in wardrobes and using 19mm walnut veneered MDF for the internals. They are pretty basic wardrobes: approx 1.2m wide, with 2 hanging rails in each and a shelf above. There is a vertical panel in the middle of each wardrobe dividing the space into two, to support the hanging rails and the shelf. The shelf will sit on top of the side panels, back panel and vertical panel in the middle (all made of the veneered MDF). It therefore creates two shelves, each approx 610mm deep and 600mm wide.

As the shelf is made from MDF, I am concerned about sagging. I am wondering if the eding I choose could help stiffen it up without detracting too heavily from the appearance. I've got 4 basic ideas in mind for the edging, plus a fifth option of doubling the material up for the shelf to make it 38mm deep. I've attached a super-basic diagram of the options I am considering and have described them below. Any thoughts on which would be best would be much appreciated..... I may be over-thinking and over-engineering this! Thanks.

1. Basic 2mm edge-banding. Pros: Cheapest option. Cons: zero additional support

2. 5mm solid wood edging. Pros: best appearance; some additional support against sagging offered?. Cons. More expensive, harder to do

3. L-shaped stair nosing, covering the edge but sitting underneath the shelf too (material is 7mm thick). Pros: easiest to fix; would presumably offer more support against sagging

4. Angle iron fitted to front of shelf (router used so it sits flush with the rest of the board) covered with L-shaped stair nosing per 3 above. Pros: whilst angle iron not being used correctly, would still offer (I hope) significant support against sagging). Cons: pain to fit, more expensive again

5. Double up shelf material by gluing two boards together; edge with say 7mm x 40mm solid wood strip. Pros: I have sufficient shelf material spare (it would neatly use up my remaining offcut); it is easy in concept; presumably would eliminate the risk of sagging over such a short span if done properly. Cons: not sure how effective it would be - I would effectively be gluing two veneers together; material would be twice as wide as the material used for the vertical support so would look chunky and a bit odd

Any thoughts and advice welcome!



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Thanks- ill keep it simple then. As regards finish: ive been advised to use osmo door oil. Do i need to finish both sides, even where one wont be visible? And if so can i finish the invisible side with danish oil or something other than osmo? Osmo is expensive!
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