I am building an adjustable shelf 96"x20"x12" (H x W x D) adjacent on both sides to an inside wall corner, anchored to wall - does it need a back?

Since this will be kind of tall and slim I will probably install a fixed shelf board in the middle to make it more stable and rigid. This shelf will be used to store boxes with smaller tools, larger tools etc. etc.

It will sit 1" away from each wall because there is electrical conduit on that wall. Since it is at the top I might chose to cut the side panels to allow them to get closer to the wall and eliminate the gap at the back.

As mentioned I will use some furniture anti-tip brackets to make sure it is secured.

Do I need a back board for these shelves? My concern is the stability and rigidity of the entire structure, not that things will fall through the opening at the back.

In case I decide to install a back what is it regularly used for? The material is 5/8 melamine, side panels pre-drilled.

  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because cross-posting questions isn't helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 28, 2023 at 15:38
  • You are again policing the site more than you should. A while ago I had two questions in one and another guy who was abusing his rights here told me that that is a two questions in one and I should split them ...so can you leave this question alone please ?
    – MiniMe
    Jun 28, 2023 at 16:10
  • I'm one vote. If enough others agree with me, then that's how it works. FYI- cross-posting is frowned up at pretty much every site on the whole internet and some places don't have a system of votes, it just takes one to close/delete/ban.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 28, 2023 at 23:53
  • yeah but not many sites have taliban moderators that run ahead with the dogmatic interpretation of what and how, and who behead everybody that does not obey or comply. You keep saying cross posting but you avoid clarifying why in the past in a similar situation I was told to split the questions although they were related and I had to post the same context twice but ask different questions. Here you are doing the opposite, you consider that cross posting.
    – MiniMe
    Jun 29, 2023 at 3:41
  • Cross-posting is different than asking multiple questions in one. This is exactly the same question you posted to Home Improvement. Neither of them had multiple questions, but some of your posts have been multiple questions in one. It seems, though, that I'm the only one here who thinks the question should be closed, so I guess you're safe.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 29, 2023 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


If it's anchored to the wall, nope.

Backs on freestanding units serve two functions (arguably three on a bookshelf or dresser), but the one that concerns us here is that backs add rigidity. Without any diagonal bracing the open box of the four sides of a bookshelf or chest of drawers can be very prone to racking. Once you fix a back in place it makes it essentially impossible for the thing to rack since it has to either tear the fasteners free or rip the back apart. Even backs of very modest material like 1/8" (3mm) hardboard can be effective in preventing racking for years of service, even for items moved repeatedly.

The only reason to add a back here is aesthetics — do you mind seeing through to the wall behind? If you don't mind, no need to bother with a back unless you think it will aid in the installation of the unit into the corner as a single piece.

  • Until some small item falls off the back of the shelf...
    – gnicko
    Jun 28, 2023 at 16:53
  • It will store boxes and larger tools
    – MiniMe
    Jun 28, 2023 at 17:48

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