built in Book shelves

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Project by Jim55 posted 10-27-2012 02:29 AM 1319 views 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We have a large room built on to the end of our house. It is tied in to the Central h/a system but it was built with windows all around and it is just not an efficient area for heating and cooling. The previous owner had built in a Dearborn type wall heater. It was a non functioning eyesore when we bought the house and we installed a wood stove. I pulled the remains of the heater out but then I had this big hole in a paneled wall. No chance of matching the paneling, what to do? So I hit on the idea of building bookshelves into it. The walls are only 2×4 framed so it was too shallow to remain totally inset so I built the shelves out a little.

You can see the result in the pics. The shelves are plywood and the supports were cut from plain pine 1×4s. The back board is actually the wood backing from a piece of cheap paneling. Frankly, it looked better than the phoney pasted on paper imitation wood grain on the front. I also lined the sides flush with the wall with that paneling back. I had decided on the rounded ends for the shelves to avoid having square corners to bump into. I also think that they happen to look better especially with the radii of the support pieces.

The front edges of the shelves I contoured the with my router. I forget with what pattern. For the under supports, I drew out patterns until I had one that looked right to me. Then I cut them out of a 1x and lined them up so as to appear as a continuation of the side panels. The support fronts I put the radius onto by hand with rasp and sand paper.

The finish is plain Minwax “classic” or “golden” oak gloss poly/stain (I forget just which) brushed on.

A final note of interest are the two levels on the shelves. They are wood and were my grandfather’s. One has a patent date of 1912* on it. The other is unmarked. G’pa came here from Croatia in 1911 and it was said he used these in the building of his house. My Aunt still lives in that house. I also have an old framing square, monkey wrench (NOT the same as a pipe wrench!) and a brace & bit that was his.

As it turned out, the cheap panel backing seems to blend with the surrounding walls quite nicely. For that matter, I think the whole thing blends right in. I had been concerned that it was too close w/out being close enough. Close but no match, know what I mean?

  • For those with interest in antique tools:
    The larger level is the one marked. It was made by “HENRY DISSTON & SONS, KEYSTONE TOOL WORKS, PHILADA. USA.” (I guess they took it for granted you knew what state it was in.) The level has a patent date of Oct.29, 1912. Just a few days short of a century! Of course, that does not say when the tool was made, exactly. The company was first founded in 1840 and is still in business today as “DISSTON PRECISSION INC.” What’s even more remarkable is that they are still in Philadelphia!

2 comments so far

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2503 days

#1 posted 10-28-2012 03:33 AM

That’s a nice looking piece. I don’t know anything about the tool history. I have some tools, that my Grandfather and Father used, and I treasure them.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View WDB's profile


13 posts in 2471 days

#2 posted 02-28-2013 07:24 PM

Nice looking shelves and an informative post.

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