Books! More Books!


Both my wife and I love books (I admit, my wife is better at it) but the shelves we had we’re crappy, overflowing and falling apart. When she asked me for an additional book shelf for her birthday I decided to go overboard, as I like to do, and build her a “library”.

I spotted some “cabinet grade plywood” on sale at the orange home improvement store and decided that I could actually afford to build this. When I got there to pick it up however, they had only about half as many sheets left than I needed. One of the managers decided to let me have oak plywood instead for the same price. So I hauled a bunch of 3/4″ cabinet grade oak plywood home for the price of discounted pine and got to work. Since this was supposed to be a birthday present, I had to keep her out of the shop. My son is five and his promise of not telling mommy goes like this: “Daddy is NOT building you a bookshelf!” So he was banned from the shop as well.

Wrapped up as a birthday gift.

Wrapped up as a birthday gift.

I build the carcasses and the base frames they rest on in my shop. The carcasses are 3/4″ plywood with dadoes for the fixed shelves and tops, glued and nailed with small finishing nails. The backs are 1/4″ plywood.
The base frames are made of 2×4 dimensional lumber and are supposed to be covered by base boards (yeah yeah, one day I’ll finish it).

The face frames were installed after the shelf was in place since the carcasses share stiles and the whole library is too big to move in one piece. I didn’t own a jointer or a planer back then so the face frame is made out of S4S 1×3 material.

Close up of the face frames.

Close up of the face frames.

The finish is supposed to mimic the espresso color of the other furniture in the room but it ended up being a little bit too light. Still looks good. I do regret however that I only stained it and didn’t put a clear coat on top of it. It would have protected the wood even better and made it smoother. Lesson learned.

Probably the hardest part was taking a picture of it. The room is too small to easily get a good overview and the lighting is cozy at best. Combine that with a iPhone 3GS camera, known for it’s outstanding quality and the missing flash and … well at least you can tell what it is.

This project was done in June 2012.


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