Our Custom Bookcases: After moving in to
our new home, we started on a project to build custom bookcases for the study.
Our cheap old particle board Wal-Mart specials just weren't up to the task of
holding all our books. Designing was started in July 2013. We began
construction in August 2013. We took our time and acquired some
neat tools to help with the task. The shop now has a track saw (great for
accurate, straight cuts in sheet goods)
and a new miter saw (capable of crosscutting the entire width of the shelves). The bookcases are constructed from 3/4" oak plywood
and trimmed with solid oak lumber. We decided on shelves with fixed
all the other bookcases we've had over the years, we always set the shelf height
to the tallest book and never readjusted. We did make accommodations for
the few tall books we had. The design allowed for the taller coffee table type books on the
bottom shelf (15") with seven shelves (10.5") for normal hardback and paperback books.
We built two sets of bookcases. The door to the study is situated on a corner of the room. The plan was to put the bookcases on the walls flanking the door. The room has nine foot ceilings which allowed us to make use of the full 8' length of a sheet of plywood. The two sets of bookcases differ only in over all length because the length of the walls are slightly different. Each set has three individual bookcases attached together and trimmed out to look like a single unit. All the cases have 1/4" plywood backs to enhance the looks and add strength. There is a low base unit that the three sections sit on to raise the bottom shelf off of the floor. The three bookcases in each set were permanently attached together and the tops of the bookcases were then permanently screwed into wall studs so there is no chance of tipping. The result is that they will never leave the room without tearing them apart.
Since the bookcases are covering up electrical outlets on the wall, access holes were cut in the backs exactly corresponding to the location of the outlets. The access holes are hidden with square covers made from 1/4" plywood. Construction lasted a long time, being completed in mid-February of 2015. The bookcases came out so well that we didn't want to risk botching the staining and finishing. So we contacted the professional that stained and finished all the cabinets, doors, and baseboards in the house to see if he could finish the bookcases for us. He said that he could but that he was booked up for a long time. He finally was able to send a team out on November 10th, 2015. His crew did a fantastic job, so much better than we could have done. It was definitely worth the wait. Thank you Jessy Estrada.
The Before - what we were using prior to building our custom
Five units, two with backs
Test fitting a bookcase to the base. Also shown are temporary supports to keep unit from tipping over.
Bookcases completed but not stained or finished:
Stained with three coats of lacquer: