Back of my wooden bookcases too thin and cheap looking

careercounselorNovember 8, 2009

Greetings! I purchased three pine bookcases with crown molding (long search) and I love them except for the very thin, cheap looking backs--I want my fix-it guy to replace the back with something that gives a more polished, sturdy look before I paint then. Originally my paint store recommended a wood filler to fill in the graininess of the thin backing which would require me to sand like crazy--this seems like a poor solution--am I on the right track in just pulling the backs off and putting someting more solid on them--I will be painting the bookcases to give a custom, builtin look.

Grateful thanks for your ideas. If I am on the right track, what thickness would be recommended?

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jbranch

It is hard to say without some photos and some knowledge of how the back is currently attached. What does your fix-it guy say? Also, with books in place, you may not see much of the back anyway. In one of my bookcase projects I used a 3/8" beaded knotty pine plywood for the back and it looked great, so thin is not necessarily bad.

Here is a link that might be useful: Large bookcase project

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 8:32AM
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karinl

It does depend on how its attached now. If it's just nailed or stapled in, go for it. If it's slid into a groove anywhere, it may be tough to do and you can't go much thicker anyway. But even if you stay thin, you can get really nice plywood - check a specialty lumber supplier if you can. In Canada, Windsor Plywood has great stuff (they have a couple of American stores).

You don't always have to sand like crazy when you use filler if you are going to paint afterwards, provided you apply the filler smoothly enough in the first place, usually using a nice wide scraper (may look a bit rustic in the end, but might be better than what you have now). In any event, if you want to do that, it will be easier to work on if you remove the back. You might also consider wallpapering the back (again, if possible, remove the back first to make the job much easier).

KarinL

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 1:56PM
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brickeyee

"Originally my paint store recommended a wood filler to fill in the graininess of the thin backing which would require me to sand like crazy--this seems like a poor solution--"

Hopefully they meant past wood filler.
It is used to fill the grain of oak and other woods when a smooth surface is desired.

Behlen markets theirs as 'Por-o-pac.'
It is available in both solvent and water based.
The water base will of course cause some grain raising.

You thin the filer slightly (naphtha for the solvent base) and paint it on.
After it flashes off the naphtha it turns from glossy wet and you wipe off the excess across the grain.

Burlap works well, as do plastic putty knives.

If you are going to paint it should not need any sanding unless you do not remove enough.

Here is a link that might be useful: Behlen Por-o-pac

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 5:20PM
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