I am building 7 tall narrow BILLY bookcases to cover a wall. On my very first one, I put the top shelf in backwards – but didn’t realize this until I turned the completed bookshelf right side up.
I tried to gently pry the backing board off, but it started to tear and crack. Even if I manage to get the backing off and deconstruct the whole bookcase, I’ll still have nail holes across the white front edge of the shelf. I could remount this as a bottom shelf and the holes would be less visible, but I don’t want to tear apart the backing board. What do I do?
From my experience, the best way to remove the backing board is to use a mallet. If you don’t have one, wrap the face of a regular hammer with a piece of cloth to soften its blows. You’ll also need a piece of cardboard to protect the BILLY backing board against hammer marks.
Once you have the materials, from the inside of the bookcase, place the cardboard flush against the edges where the nails are. Then with the mallet gently knock the cardboard to push the nails out of the frame. You may need to knock in a few positions along the edges to dislodge the row of nails, instead of trying to push out one nail at a time. Do not pry from the back of the bookcase as it will break, as you have experienced.
Once the backing board is off, you will need to deconstruct the bookcase and put the shelf in the right way. And yes, mounting the nail-holes-riddled-shelf as a bottom shelf is a good idea. If they are still very obvious, some dabs of white wood putty may do the trick.
Another option, if you do not wish to go through all that hassle of assembling it correctly is to use an iron-on edge banding. Measure the thickness of the shelf and get an edge banding that’s wider than it. Iron it on and then cut off the excess for a clean finish. The downside of this option is you may not get an exact match in terms of color. And that particular shelf may stick out like a sore thumb against your other 6 BILLY bookcases.