Choosing Shelving Materials & Hardware

man using screwdriver

You put a lot of craftsmanship and time into your projects, so you want to use the right materials for the job. As with tools, always try to purchase the highest quality material and hardware your budget allows, as appropriate for your project's intended use. For instance, don't waste money buying a fine hardwood, such as cherry, for a utilitarian bookcase that's going to sit in a basement or workshop.

Projects in Materials and Hardware

Know your stock
This section of our website helps you decide the materials to choose for different purposes. You'll learn the differences between hardwoods and softwoods, when and where to use each type, and how to select them. You'll find out about the special properties of plywood, the many grades and types it comes in, and how to shop for it wisely. Stories here also describe and compare other composite sheet goods, such as oriented strand board, particleboard, and fiberboard. And you'll find tips for how best to use each type of material.

Understand the hardware
Walking the hardware aisles at a large home center can be overwhelming. This section of our site will guide you through various types of fasteners.

And fasteners are just one category of hardware. No less puzzling is the variety of hinges, shelf brackets, and other products that help you assemble wood into functional pieces of case furniture and shelving. You'll learn to recognize these as well.

Finish off the project
Finally you'll discover the materials that experts use to give the finishing touches to bookcases and shelves -- the magic, easy-to-use product that makes an inexpensive piece of plywood look like a costly solid board, for example. Or how to employ moldings to give simple boxes a degree of finish and flair that makes them a source of pride as well as practical functionality. Many cabinet- and furniture-making solutions are quite simple. This section will provide the material know-how you need to get the kinds of results you'll be proud to showcase in your home.

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