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What are the Different Types of Shelf Brackets?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are many different types of shelf brackets, which are often divided and categorized based on the shape of the bracket and the materials from which they are made. Wooden brackets are quite common and are often used for supporting wooden shelf systems, while metal brackets are often sturdier and used to support a number of different types of systems. Different types of metal brackets can be used for different purposes, often to support different amounts of weight and to serve purely utilitarian functions or as decoration. There are also a number of different shelving systems that can be used with different types of shelf brackets.

Shelf brackets are basically braces that support a shelf, often through a secondary system, though they may be connected directly to a wall. Wooden brackets are fairly common for structures, such as book cases, that are made from wood and to which the brackets are meant to match. These brackets can be quite sturdy and support a fair amount of weight, though in general metal brackets are stronger. Metal shelf brackets come in a number of different shapes and sizes, and can be made from iron, bronze, steel, or other metals.

The amount of weight different shelf brackets can support typically depends on the type of brackets used and the shelving system they are used with. One of the most common types of brackets are “L” brackets that consist of a single piece, or two pieces, bent or connected at a 90° angle. This creates an “L” shape and one side is mounted to a wall or shelf system and the other side supports the shelf on top of it. While these shelf brackets are quite strong and can support weight well, they are often strengthened by the addition of a gusset that connects the two surfaces, typically as another piece that goes between each corner to create a triangular shape. “L” brackets can be made with different designs, such as swirling gussets or ornamental leaves and vines, to be more decorative.

There are also a number of different shelving systems that can utilize different types of shelf brackets to support shelves. Fixed bracket systems usually consist only of brackets connected to a wall, with a shelf on top of them. Built-in shelving uses structures that are already present, such as two nearby walls, to create support and shelving between them, within the existing area. Adjustable slotted shelving uses a number of vertical slotted bars that are mounted onto a wall; shelf brackets can then be inserted into the slots to create adjustable shelves at different heights.

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