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Wood is all 19mm MDF except the back panel and the horizontal boards are wedged between the sides and held by 2 screws on each side. I want to reduce the chance of the shelves sagging over time.

How much weight should the current unimproved construction be able to hold?

I intend on storing all my power tools inside here, so no more than 10kg per shelf. In order to prevent the boards from bending over time the current plan is to stabilize them from below.

How would you stiffen the shelves without wasting too much space?

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I know this construction isn't the best but the shelf won't be used for storing Olympic plates. Just a few screwdrivers and grinders etc.

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On request I got my SLR + tripod and made some shots. The place is still in a bit of a mess though:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j4vGKHsy1xOceUMfYAolw1ZqHy_NvEIo/view

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    How much weight it can hold depends on the quality and make-up of the MDF and the environment in which it will live. High humidity and/or swings in humidity and temperature will stress most MDF enough for it to sag under its own weight eventually. So maybe tell us how this is expected to be used, and how long you expect it to last.
    – jdv
    Oct 31 '20 at 14:47
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    "How much weight should the current unimproved construction be able to hold?" This is impossible to answer definitely because MDF varies so much. Plus, how much each shelf can hold and how much each shelf can hold without visible bending are two completely different questions. As a utility item for me some bow would acceptable, but you might feel differently.
    – Graphus
    Nov 1 '20 at 10:27
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    Just to clarify one important thing, no glue holds each shelf just the 2 screws each side? If the whole thing is glued together it greatly limits your options (or at least makes some more difficult to implement) but alternatives are wide open if it's just held together by the screws. Also, what is the back panel? And do you have any objection to fastening through it? If the material is suitable just nailing or screwing from the back would do a lot to improve resistance to sagging.
    – Graphus
    Nov 1 '20 at 10:31
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    The link says I need access. You can edit your post and include the pics directly - makes everyone's life easier.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 3 '20 at 11:29
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    "The place is still in a bit of a mess though" Gosh how in the world do you find anything in that, Place for everything and everything in it's place "mess" you have there? My shop should be so messy. I know i set that hammer down somewhere, oh wait, how did it get back on the pegboard.
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 3 '20 at 17:54
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As clarified in the Comments, the back panel is thick enough MDF that fastening in through from the back is viable and that alone will do quite a bit to resist any tendency towards sagging.

If you want to stiffen the shelves still further there are various established ways of doing this for plywood that could be adopted here, e.g. the below:

Plywood shelf edge stiffeners

But the simplest option I can think of, which can be retrofitted to the unit without any need to disassemble, is just to add a central support. This can be full depth back to front, a ply, MDF or solid-wood panel slid into place. Or a single narrow board at the front, either tacked in place with some toenailed brads or held by a dab of glue. Note that you'll want to add a support underneath the bottom shelf as well.

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You could stiffen them up by nailing or screwing a 1/2" x 1" or 3/4" x 1 1/2" hardwood strip across the underside of the front edge of each shelf.

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  • I would have to use steel because some of the tools are already close to bumping the ceiling.
    – AzulShiva
    Nov 3 '20 at 10:30
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So this is what I did.

Added screws from the back for each shelf:

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Screwed a 2mm thick and 25mm wide Aluminum strip to the front of each shelf. I also put tension on the Aluminum so it would counteract the sagging (pressed downwards as hard as I could on the middle part while putting in the screws).

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I got them from my scrap metal heap, else i would have went for steel. They are 6mm wider than the wood so they're only slightly in the way. Not much vertical space for the tools in the shelves, some tools already had to be put in sideways, although my main drill will probably remain on top of the shelf for good. She's the boss in the house.

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The entire workspace. Work bench surface is 25mm MDF + 25mm MDF + 5mm MDF, all raw.

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Old unused Visaton FRS 8M loudspeakers used as tool holders. Tools are now magnetized as a consequence. Not sure so far wether that's a good thing or not :\

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Elevation of Mitre saw, Table drill and Table are all perfectly aligned. Had to add a dust fairing to prevent the Mitre Saw from blowing sawdust all over the Workbench.

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And no this is not the entire shop. The other side of the room will give the bandsaw a proper place. I will add a table saw, CNC drill, 3d printer and a weld station.

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