New shelves -- questions

DiscussionsBookcases: If You Build/Buy Them, They Will Fill

Rejoignez LibraryThing pour poster.

New shelves -- questions

Nov 27, 2010, 3:29pm

I have two new bookshelves on order from here:

What kind of paint should I use?

These have adjustable shelves, & I don't know what they use to hold each shelf up. What should I look for? If it is some kind of peg, should I reinforce it with something else, or will that hold?


Nov 27, 2010, 4:02pm

These look like really well built shelves and should go a long time without particularly noticeable bowing. Mine that have pegs are completely full of books, some rather heavy, and I just turn the adjustable shelves over from time to time. Whether you can do that will depend on the type of pegs supplied.

Nov 27, 2010, 6:30pm

They do look pretty solid. I zoomed in a bit - it looks like they are wooden pegs. It really depends on how many books you intend to pile in there, and also what size you've ordered (I think the longer the shelf, the more likely it is to bow in the middle because it has less support, but yes, as hailelib said, you can just turn them over every now and then). Presumably the shelves are designed to hold books so there shouldn't be any great concern about the weight of the books, otherwise I'd say that's a pretty crappy bookcase and you should ask for your money back!

As for painting, it really depends what kind of finish you're after. If you stain it, you'll still be able to see the grain of the wood, whereas a paint (be it matt, gloss or satin) would be opaque. I think I'd varnish over the top of whatever you use, just to protect the finish (and your books!)

Nov 29, 2010, 12:31pm

I second the suggestion to seal the wood after staining it. I have a bookcase made of pine, stained dark, which over the years has had pitch ooze out of the knots, sticking the books down.

Nov 29, 2010, 4:59pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm planning to paint it white, and was wondering if there is a certain kind of paint that would be best to use?

Nov 29, 2010, 6:17pm

I have used enamel paint with success for many years. It is also good to use a pre-conditioning product before you paint (like, 20 minutes before you paint - it helps the paint work better).

Nov 29, 2010, 6:24pm

Go to a good paint store and ask their advice. Paint formulas have changed over the years, Real enamel is now hard to get in many places because it uses solvents that are toxic and now controlled. There are water-base paints that can work well, but you need a paint pro in your state who knows the local regs. Water base paint is much easier to clean-up, but older ones are not as durable.

Nov 29, 2010, 6:37pm

Use a latex paint. Both oil based paints and unpainted wood (especially pine) give off fumes that will damage the books over time.

I wouldn't worry too much about the durability of the paint. If you start with a good latex primer and add several light coats of paint, you shouldn't have any problems. If you've got a decent air compressor, I would recommend using an air sprayer. You can buy one for under $50 (significantly less at a discount hardware store like Harbor Freight), and it will eliminate the brush strokes.

Nov 29, 2010, 6:40pm

Also, I don't think you need to worry about reinforcing the shelves. At 3/4 inch thick and only 2 feet wide, it would take far more than books to bend them.

Avr 1, 2021, 11:52pm

I'm interested to know what is the best finish/stain/sealant to put on new wood shelves so that my books are not negatively effected in any way