31 Aug 2020
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United Kingdom
Hi I am PLanning to build a small shelf unit; a bit like a small open backed bookcase - so shelves with a frame. Was going to use dowels instead of screws, which I would glue. But should I also add glue to the whole edges of the shelves, rather than just the dowels, and then clamp? Presume there is no point in using screws as well as dowells. Thank you
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glued edges are pretty useless

A dowel jig is tremendously useful for centring and aligning dowels. use plenty, you are not a factory trying to save fractions of a penny. Drill the holes slightly longer than the dowels to accomodate any excess glue.

mine is a Wolfcraft kit, rather like this


you can buy extra dowels and glue cheaply.
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internal or external ??
thickness and type off timber??
general comments
you will need better fixings than dowels on say 15-25mm thick to avoid racking[collapsing sideways]
There is generally less to be gained from glueing the edges and potentially a lot more clean-up of squeeze out to deal with. If you incorporate sufficent numbers of dowels (at, say 64mm centres) of the right size (e.g. 8 x 40mm for 18mm thick material) with some bracing for strength (e.g. techniques such as dropped shelf front or rear lips, upstands at backs of shelves or full back fixed to both shelves and uprights, etc) it should not be necessary to glue the edges

In addition to the above - use fluted dowels to prevent hydraulic cracking of the material caused by compressed glue being unable to escape
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yes, I used upstands at the top and bottom of mine for rigidity against racking (kitchen wall cabinets) cut to the same size as the shelves for easy assembly

Once fixed to the wall there is not much to distort them.

I also have a full-height larder unit the joiner made for me, and he fitted a permanent ply back to keep it square.

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