How Can I Tell If My Dishes Are Too Heavy for My Shelves?

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Q: I live in a 1950's ranch with knotty pine cabinetry. We just got new dishes and they're much heavier than our old dishes. It got me wondering — how much weight can these old cabinets hold? Is there a rule of thumb? The cabinets are one long unit with three shelves and a wooden back. 

Sent by Jen

Editor: Readers, do any of you have expertise on 1950's cabinetry?! Any advice for how to tell how much weight shelves can handle?

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Related: Tip: Measure Your Shelves Before You Buy New Dishes

(Image: Faith Durand)