A hammer in search of a nail…

As I mentioned previously, Laura wants a set of bookcases in the new house’s study.  We decided to build these ourselves.  Below is the initial start of the cases: several sheets of plywood have been ripped into lengths for the sides, tops, bottoms, and shelves.

Bookcase Wood

Bookcase Wood

The cases will have poplar frames covering the plywood to provide a nice trim look.  Here’s a lot of that wood stacked on the workbench.

More Wood

More Wood

There are going to be five cases in total.  The outer ones will be slightly recessed from the middle three (about four inches).  The cases will be floor to ceiling (just under nine feet with crown molding to cover the gap from the tops to the ceiling).  After spending most of the first day cutting up the plywood for all five cases, we were able to assemble two of the cases (the ends) but without the backs.  These have two fixed shelves which are flush with the front of the case.  Above those will be four more shelves which are adjustable and will be recessed from the front about four inches.

End of Day One

End of Day One

Here we are on day two (last Saturday).  We now have backs on the first two and have assembled the third one.  The three inner cases will have one fixed shelf and below that will be doors covering the lower section which will have one adjustable shelf.  You can see how this one is slightly proud of the two ends.

First Three Cases

First Three Cases

And here is a random shot Laura took of me setting up the tablesaw for cutting some dadoes.

Paul Setting Up the Table Saw

Paul Setting Up the Table Saw

They seem to be multiplying… Now we have four of the cases completed and the end of the second day (half day, actually).

First Four Cases

First Four Cases

Five cases standing proudly in a row…  Here are all five cases.  We’ve also built the six inch high bases they will sit on.  The base is in three sections, two on the ends (recessed) and one in the middle that spans the three center cases.

All Five Cases

All Five Cases

And here are the same cases now dry-fitted into the back wall of the study.  There is about 1″ between the cases and the walls.  This is “as planned” which is pretty good for amateurs.  Laura and I were half-afraid it would be too wide.  The ends will be covered with the trim I showed in one of the first pictures (the poplar boards).  This will provide that nice built-in look.

Cases in the Study

Cases in the Study

This is the end of day three.  Next steps will be to secure the bases to the floor and wall, secure the cases to the wall and bases, cut out the holes in the second case (from the left) for the outlet and telephone jack behind them, then start adding the trim to the sides, top, and bottom.  We also need to finish cutting the shelves (23 more to add to the picture above) and adding a 1×2 poplar trim to the front of each one (and possibly routing those trip pieces to add a nice chamfer to the tops and bottom).  Once that’s all done, it will be time for painting.

By the way, does anyone have any input on the electrical outlet and telephone jack?  They are situated directly behind the second case and I’m wondering if it would be better to just pass them through the 1/4″ plywood back (so the outlet covers are on the back panel).  This would be easiest, but they will be behind the bookcase door.  One alternative would be to only put doors on the center cabinet (not really wanted since we want to be able to hide a few things and three covered sections are currently the “plan”).  A second alternative would be to move the outlets down and extend them to the front of the base of the cabinet.  This would require more work, including some electrical conduit run.  I’m up for the work, but I’m afraid the outlet would interfere with the base board trim.  The base is six inches high and a standard wall plate is about 2 1/2 inches wide (if situated sideways).

Thoughts? Feel free to add them in the comments…

Stay tuned for the further saga of the “bookcases for the study”.

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Comments on: "Bookcases for the Study – Part One" (2)

  1. Hi! First of all, when do you have time for all of these projects? Second, when are you going to come to my house and build a cabinet for my TV? I’d leave your outlet where it is behind the door. If you need to run a cord anywhere, you can always cut a little hole in a shelf top or side and most of your cord will be hidden.

  2. The joys of empty nesters! Laura and I generally work on them part of the day on Saturday and Sunday. Nothing really happens during the week. The bookcases so far have been three days of work (Sunday, Saturday, Sunday).

    You have to speak to my manager, Laura, about other projects. I’m sure she’ll be happy to volunteer me though since she’s already got a project on my backlog for her sister. 😉 I do have to build a cabinet for my AV equipment (in a cubby similar to your TV), so maybe I can practice on you…

    The particular outlet is switchable via the wall, otherwise I wouldn’t really worry about it. I just imagine later adding a floor lamp or something (like next to a chair for reading) and don’t want to have it coming out the cabinet door.

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