I'm starting to plan a record player & typewriter display unit for my office. I've built some of the other furniture in my office; some bookcases & a wall-mounted desk. I've got a basic set of tools (drill, impact driver, circular saw, table saw, jigsaw, hammers, etc.) but nothing fancier than that.

Most of the design I have sorted out, but there is one thing that I'm not sure how to accomplish once I start making sawdust. I'd like to have two shelves that are at an angle to show off the typewriters (and a Tandy 102) a bit better.

This is what I've got in SketchUp so far:

enter image description here

The two yellow squares are records, the blue boxes are the typewriters. The empty spot is where I might put a receiver, or some other collectibles.

My plan is to build all of this out of plywood. I'm still figuring out how thick I want to have the outer part of the display cabinet, it's probably not going to be the 1.5 inches in the image above (feels like that'd be too heavy to get up the stairs!).

So I'm wondering about mounting the shelves at an angle like in the image. Could I get away with just using shelf pins, or should I do something a bit more permanent?

  • The thick case edge looks good, but 1.5" plywood will be very heavy and overkill. Instead, make a face frame 1.5" thick and apply it to the front to hide the edge of the plywood and give you the thick look. It's a common cabinet making trick.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 27, 2022 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


I'm still figuring out how thick I want to have the outer part of the display cabinet, it's probably not going to be the 1.5 inches in the image above

3/4" plywood is very strong :)

But probably 1/2" plywood would be ok for expected load! See video from The Honest Carpenter.

Could I get away with just using shelf pins

Much modern kitchen storage is made from weaker material than plywood, with shelves held by pins. Based on loads these shelves can hold without problem yes you will get away with just using shelf pins.

  • Shelf pins, however, are designed to hold horizontal shelves. At an angle, an extra pair in the front (6 total per shelf instead of 4) might keep the shelf from sliding down the angle.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 27, 2022 at 11:57
  • @FreeMan, don't know about anyone else but when I read "shelf pin" I immediately visualised actual pins, the round ones with the flange somewhere in the middle, rather than any of the shelf supports where there's a flat on the projecting portion. Edit: assuming the OP did mean the type the shelves are supposed to just rest upon, the face frame could function as the stop to keep them from sliding out of the case.
    – Graphus
    Feb 27, 2022 at 16:48
  • The round ones are what I also envision, @Graphus. As drawn, without a face frame, the selves would likely just slide. With a face frame, as you note, that should serve to hold the shelves back.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 27, 2022 at 18:32
  • @FreeMan, uh, over here the plain pin type commonly go into small slots on the underside of the shelf. Is that not a thing over there?
    – Graphus
    Feb 27, 2022 at 19:46
  • Some shelves have slots, some are flat on the bottom and just rest on the pin. When the shelf is captured between the front & back of the cabinet, it's not going anywhere eitherway.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 27, 2022 at 22:33

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