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Bookcase Strength

Posted by tgd2008 (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 21, 08 at 20:05

Hi all,

I would like to get a temporary bookcase from Ikea. This is only $20 but says the shelf load is only 44lbs. I have lots of books I want to store there for a while. I'm wondering, if I prop a book tightly under the middle of each shelf, is that enough to support and increase the load tolerance. Weighing some books, it would seem they would weigh more like 80 lbs on each shelf. Is it just the thickness of the shelves or would the unit itself have to be sturdier to hold heavy loads on the shelf. I have some better units already, which are holding only books. The shelves are about 1/2", 30" wide, and only have the holes and plastic tabs holding them.

Their bookcases also say to secure them to the wall (anything over 30"). I've never come across this before for bookcases and the ones I have are just freestanding. I just want something temporary and don't like the idea of attaching them to the wall. I may also be moving the bookcase around a bit while work is being done.

Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bookcase Strength

Actually, this case is only 2 feet wide. So maybe it would be 60 pounds instead of the recommended 44 pound load.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flarke Bookcase


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RE: Bookcase Strength

A $20 bookshelf is going to be a temporary, disposable sort of item, but yes; propping a book (or, really, anything reasonably solid) under the middle of each shelf could dramatically increase the load-bearing capacity. You'd have to extend those supports all the way down to the floor. You might also want to do an extra-good job of attaching the back panel to the uprights, because it's the back panel that keeps the whole think from collapsing sideways.

IKEA wants you to fasten it to the wall because they don't want to hear that one of their products fell and smooshed some small child. It's fairly tall, could be loaded to be top-heavy, could be incorrectly assembled, could be set up on a shag carpet with thick padding... they don't know how careless you are, so they're covering themselves.


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RE: Bookcase Strength

Thanks Jon. I'll make sure each shelf is supported through the middle and maybe the ends with the taller books.

I think the back is just that thin cardboard material that slips into grooves though. The sides are usually bolt-like fasteners.

I realized last night, after seeing this case was only 24", that the Billy cases (a bit more expensive, and very popular) have about the same load-bearing rating. They're 31" and carry 66 pounds. So both work out about the same. I thought the cheaper one was capable of supporting less; thinner wood or something.

I would think a bookcase would be capable of handling all rows of books, but you never know these days. I did weigh a stack about 10" and it was 25 pounds.


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