built-in bookcases, more carpentry than woodworking

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Project by jdh122 posted 08-18-2015 10:46 AM 1600 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So my brother decided he wanted to get built-in bookcases made, preferably out of solid wood. The estimates he got floored him (several tens of thousands of dollars) and I told him that if he took a week off work I’d travel the 1500 km to come do it with him. So I shipped a bunch of hand tools, had him buy a jobsite table saw and a biscuit joiner. With no ability to joint or plane, he bought a stack of S4S red oak 1X12s. There’s plywood in the backs of the bookcases and in the paneling, but the rest is solid wood. The paneling is made from a kit.
It took us 8 days of dawn to dusk work. And the glue-ups of the countertops were frustrating (had to do one of them twice, with barely enough clamps), but it turned out OK. The bottom cabinets are made out of Ikea kitchen cabinets, framed in so that you can’t see the plastic anywhere (oak spacers between the cabinet boxes), and we got custom oak doors made at a cabinet shop.
There’s no complicated joinery – everything is glue, screws, brads. The shelves are held on adjustable wooden standards.
Finished with amber shellac (Zinser premixed). I hadn’t anticipated how much time the finishing would take, but there’s a pile of wood there (especially since we did the wood paneling too).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

6 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7740 posts in 2245 days

#1 posted 08-18-2015 01:42 PM

Wow, nice.
That’s not something he could take if he ever sells the house, and it SHOULD help to increase the value if he ever does sell.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Julian's profile


1434 posts in 2929 days

#2 posted 08-18-2015 02:38 PM

Looks great.

-- Julian

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3105 days

#3 posted 08-18-2015 02:40 PM

Very nice. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Northwest29's profile


1664 posts in 2729 days

#4 posted 08-18-2015 07:02 PM

Very, very nice! I am truly envious of the room, the view and all the books so nicely located close by. You are a good brother.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View jdh122's profile


1058 posts in 3056 days

#5 posted 08-18-2015 08:58 PM

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. It was a fun build. The main downside was that we set up the miter saw, tablesaw and sanding station in the garage/on the sidewalk, and the room was on the second story of the house. So it was measure, go outside and cut, bring upstairs and check, take it back downstairs to take off the thickness of the blade, times 1000. We probably both walked a complete marathon that week up and down the stairs…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View firefighterontheside's profile


19617 posts in 2095 days

#6 posted 08-18-2015 09:27 PM

That’s great Jeremy. Nicely done. You’re a good brother.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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