Built-in bookcases

Posted by jerry on January 14th, 2007 — Posted in DIY, Journal, Woodwork

So a week has passed – with a couple of 40 degree celsius days I’ve actually had about four days – well mornings and early evenings to get into the shed and build more bookcases. the plan is to build in the bookcases around the room. The challenge is that they need to be fitted around a window and across a corner.


I built seven low bookcases in the style of the one I built before. I wanted a floor-to-ceiling book case at one end flowing into the corner unit. So the seventh low bookcase has one side that goes up to the ceiling – the reason for that will become clear shortly.

The standard bookcase is pretty straightforward, so I’ll just focus on a couple of details – the stuff they don’t tell you in the woodwork magazines – and how I solved a couple of …er… issues. There are obvious ones like coping with skirting boards to get the shelves to fit against the wall – on two sides. And there are less obvious ones like the wall not being straight or perpendicular! And then there is the issue of building the corner shelves – which I’ll cover tomorrow.

Fitting against a wall

In the previous post I talked about the cutout for the skirting board, but what if you want to butt the shelf against a corner? The easy solution is to apply packing pieces to the side, shaped to the profile of the skirting board. As I shall be covering the joins with some beaded trim these can be fairly crude


And to get the view from the front


While this might look a bit lop-sided it will blend the unit to the wall. At least it would if the wall were perpendicular to the floor. In this case it isn’t! So I found some close-grained Tasmanian oak and shaped it by holding it upright against the shelf side and running a pencil held against a small block and running the block against the wall to get the profile transferred to the board. I then cut this so that the gap between the wall and the shelf is suitably covered.

To fit the tall shelves I wanted to be sure that they would fit around the curved architrave at the top of the room – a process best done while the shelves are single boards rather than assembled units. I decided to take the medieval approach and make a wooden template.

First I went up a stepladder and shaped a piece of cardboard to the architrave


Then I transferred the shape to a piece of scrap timber


And then I cut this out with a coping saw. So now I have templates for the skirting board and the architrave


As you can see the tall bookcase has a fixed shelf in the middle to prevent the sides from bowing. And that is the story so far




Comment by Roxana

Wow I just love this built-in bookcases.I think my husband and I will make one for our 10 year old daughter.Thank you Roxana!

Posted on July 7, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Comment by Mary Jo

Beautiful – Love to see the finished product, complete with books … can you post? Thanks!

Posted on October 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm

Comment by jerry

You can see the finished shelves – filled – at http://lostbiro.com/blog/?p=442


Posted on October 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm

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