The shelf-pin holes in the sides of a bookcase I’ve owned for years have become elongated, allowing the support pins to slide out. What can I do to save this piece of furniture?

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Q:

The shelf-pin holes in the sides of a bookcase I've owned for years have become elongated, allowing the support pins to slide out. What can I do to save this piece of furniture?
—Sam Burdine, Freehold, N.J.

A:

You have two options here, Sam. First, you can enlarge the holes [Photo A], and then install brass sleeves that will once again hold the shelf pins securely [Photo B]. To prevent grain tear-out around the rim of the holes, use a sharp, standard-twist drill bit and drill the holes in 132 "-diameter increments to keep the holes centered.

A faster but less elegant option is covering the oblong holes with a metal shelf standard [Photo C] and matching shelf clips. These standards typically get fit into a slot so they mount flush, but you can simply surface-mount them over the old shelf-pin holes, and then shorten the length of your shelves to fit. Buy shelf-pin sleeves and pins, shelf standards (also called pilasters) and clips, and sleeve-setting punches from Lee Valley (800-871-8158 or leevalley.com).

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For best appearance, choose standards as long as the inside height of your bookcase or cabinet. Position screw holes to miss the shelf-pin holes.

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