The Waterfall Bookcase
Let me start this off with not only is this my first challenge, but it is also my first blog entry so I hope I’m not
breaking any rules here.
This bookcase is only my third project and it has been a challenge.
It’s been something like 5 years in the making and somewhat of a family joke (yeah, I’ll do it when Dad finishes the bookcase…) but I have this bookcase that is almost ready for assembly and thought I’d
present it in this challenge. I actually found the original plan for the sides of the case. They are very
ragged and since it was done to 1 grid to the inch scale it was too big for a single scan so there is a
top and bottom plan for the sides
It started out as a floor model, standalone regular bookcase. The basic measurement was 53” tall and
The idea quickly evolved into a step sided case with graduated width shelves to hold picture books
on the bottom shelf, text books on the next, on up to paperbacks on the top shelf. Five shelves in all.
I liked that look but as I was studying the design I noticed that it if you looked at it from the side it was
kind of like a cascading waterfall. All I had to do was round each of the “steps” of the waterfall. To make
the edge pop out I decided to use a contrasting wood. I went with maple as
the main wood and purpleheart as the accent wood. The accent wood forms a 1” band down along the
front of the two sides and a 1 1/2” strip along the front of each shelf. I also decided to add another stripe
of accent wood to the sides to break up the solidness of the maple. It just looked better.
Picture of the actual side
All shelves have a 1/4” decorative strip of accent wood running along the back edge. The top four shelves
have a front piece on them that is made from the accent wood and is 3/4” x 1 1/2” and match the
rounded step of the side (1/2” round over) and overhangs the bottom of the shelf by 3/4”. They are
notched so the front edge of the accent wood is even with the sides at that level.
The bottom shelf is 14” including base and fits down in the base on cleats. It has no front edge.
2nd shelf is 12” including a 3/4” lip up 14” from base
3rd shelf is 10” including a 3/4” lip up 12” from 2nd shelf
4th shelf is 8” including a 3/4” lip up 10 ” from 3rd shelf
5th shelf is 6” including a 3/4” lip up 8” from 4th shelf
The side extends up 6” above top shelf
The back is a hardwood plywood that fits into a rabit along the backs of both the sides.
Next I decided it had to have a base. I’ve always like the mission style and Greene & Greene so the
base has that influence.
To cover the plywood edge along the top I created a reverse image of the
front of the base at a slightly smaller scale.
Here’s a picture of the bookcase dry assembled by my helpers. We had some issues with sliding in all
four shelves at the same time in this upright dry assembly so I’ve just a picture of the top shelf installed
but it gives one an idea of what it will look like.
Here’s a frontal view with just the top shelf in
The last view shows a detail of where a shelf meets the side.
I used more pictures than others have, I hope that was alright. I’m not much in the design department I’m