Fix Saggy Book Shelf




Everyone has seen book shelves that seem to defy physics and bow until they almost touch the books on the shelf below. This is a simple fix to extend the life of your bookshelf and help keep your OCD for straight lines in check.

I performed this fix on our bookshelf which also has a TV in it. The fix is less ideal for shelves above eye level because the reinforcement will be more obvious unless you paint it.

Step 1: Intro and Materials

For this fix you'll only need a couple things.

Aluminum C or U channel or similar

Hacksaw for cutting metal, or similar

Measuring tape

Step 2: Clear Shelf

Remove all books and objects from the shelf.

Measure the width of your shelf.

Step 3: Remove Shelf

Remove the shelf

Not shown:

Cut Aluminum C channel the same length as your shelf (or a hair under, but not longer)

Step 4: Add Reinforcement

Place the C channel on the pins that hold up your shelf. I only put it on the back where most of the weight is, but if you have deep shelves or many heavy books then you may need to reinforce across both sets of pins.

If your C channel is too long, try to cut off a little or use a file.

Step 5: Replace Shelf

Put the shelf back UPSIDE DOWN if you can. This will allow the sagging and bowing to flatten back out from the weight of the books on top.

I added a red line so you can see the bow.

Step 6: Replace Books and Bask in Glory

Replace your books! Take the chance to organize them by series or theme or what not.



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    A slightly more invisible solution is to turn the C-channel 90° and slot the shelf directly in to it. Then simply rest the shelf on the brackets.


    2 years ago

    Gerat idea! I was thinking of getting a few C-profiles to put some LED strips in them and make hidden lighting, but I'll to put them up like this. (I have Element System shelves so I'll have to find out how to fasten the profiles to the brackets.)

    One tip: You might also want to put the heavier books near the sides of the cabinet/shelf, so that there's less downward force on the center of the shelf.


    2 years ago

    I don't think I have ever seen books put in the back of the shelf like that...

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I've seen a lot of people do this, then putting family photos, small porcelaine figurines etc. in front of the books.


    2 years ago

    This is a very nice solution, and it uses minimal tools. It is especially good if the bookshelves are borrowed or rented, because the metal channels are not screwed to the wood. l may even try including the idea into the next shelves I build, by recessing the channel into the wood of the shelf.