Bookshelves /storage #1: Now that I've built it, how do I move it?

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Blog entry by curliejones posted 03-07-2016 01:49 PM 793 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Ever find yourself in this situation? I believe I may have stopped “progress” on these bookshelves just in time and I wanted to share a couple ideas for attaching handles so it could be moved handily and without danger to the project or surroundings.

After a recent plumbing leak (washer supply hose corroded) the “study” suffered the damage through the shared wall with the laundry. The baseboard was removed, a small amount of sheetrock cut away, framing and subfloor dried, and the old carpet and padding swapped out for the new.

One of those “someday” projects, building in shelving for books and miscellaneous storage was moved to the forefront. I bought four sheets of 3/4” plywood that is oak veneered and built jigs to break those sheets down to manageable 16” strips, 8 ft long.

I cut dados with a router for the first time after building the adjustable dado jig that you commonly see and built a case with a top, bottom, and a middle shelf and there are two vertical divisions between the two sides. That gives me six compartments. I drilled 300 holes for adjustable shelving using the Kreg jig and was happy with both the jig and the included drill bit. During assembly, this rascal consumed a chunk of floor space in the workshop and even after standing it up, the finish work prohibited sawdust-making. I put stain and a couple of coats of polyurethane on it and began to wonder about getting this into the house before I added any more weight to the project, measuring 81” long and 78” high.

After calculating the weight at approximately 120 lbs., my wife said she could handle it. The neighbor I shared many lifting and loading experiences with, both his and mine, recently had open heart surgery so my normal option was out. After studying the bookcase for a little, I decided to put handles horizontally at 26” off the floor. The horizontal middle shelf of the unit was around 40” off the floor, meaning the 200 ft trip would have to be all arm strength if we wanted to use the middle shelf.

I ripped a 10 ft. clear pine 1×8 in half and round the edges just a little for comfort. I used that same Kreg jig to insert three 1/4” dowels into some scrap plywood pieces that could be inserted into the plywood sides where I’d drilled holes for adjustable shelving. I pushed these into place with a little force then used a 6” f-style clamp on each of the four pieces to secure them in their assigned place. This gave me an extra thickness of 3/4” plywood so that my “handles” could be attached not only to the case work sides, but also to the plywood scrap.

I attached the handles at 26” off the floor so we could lift with legs and back while arms were extended and have a ground clearance of about 3”. Things went surprisingly easy using these handles and the screw holes left behind will be either against the wall in the back or covered by the face frame once it is attached. The little plywood pieces with dowels wiggled right out. This was a quick and easy way to move some pretty good weight and the firm handles gave us control that flexible lifting straps and the like would not have provided.

The last time I built something that was close to this large, it was built in halves, bolted together and then covered with a face frame. That’s a good method for me to keep in mind for any future large projects!

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

3 comments so far

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2548 days

#1 posted 03-07-2016 04:49 PM

Nice solution!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View JCinVA's profile


87 posts in 250 days

#2 posted 03-08-2016 07:06 AM

I like it. I wonder if the doweled blocks and clamps would be enough for a finished project that you couldn’t screw into?

View curliejones's profile


145 posts in 1685 days

#3 posted 03-09-2016 12:57 AM

Thanks sras and Hi JC in VA. I used a block of wood to protect the outer finished surfaces even though the f-style clamps had soft plastic clamp pads. This allowed to really crank down tight on the clamps. I imagine that the doweled blocks could be a little longer than the 6” I made them and easily hold more than three dowels to better distribute any stress over a wider area. Other than adding a few pounds, I’d see no reason not to double the clamps if you intend to avoid screwing into the workpiece. My intuition tells me it would be enough and I’d probably use blocks with 5 or 6 dowels. I felt the handle placement made a lot of difference in this move.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

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