|Forum topic by Jonathan||posted 1412 days ago||7305 views||0 times favorited||2 replies|
1412 days ago
A year ago Christmas, Santa promised my wife that he’d build built-in bookcases with doors, as well as an adjoining mantel. Well, Santa got busy over the course of that year landscaping most of the yard by laying brick pavers, constructing a couple of raised brick planter boxes, installing a new 8-Zone sprinkler system and sodding after the first snowfall.
Santa promised to do this by Christmas of 2009. Thank goodness my wife knew Santa was a bit occupied over the course of that year and told him she’d rather he took his time and did it up to his standards, rather than trying to rush it before Christmas time.
The challenge here is that Santa has never really done any woodworking before, as the elves have taken care of it in the past. But Santa is ready to tackle this project on his own, as he wants it to be a personal gift.
OK, now that we’ve gotten the backstory out of the way, and everyone is hopefully vaguely up-to-speed, let’s dive into a few more details.
First off, I have very limited experience in woodworking, and am a bit short on tools right now, since I’m just getting started with this hobby, passion, obsession, whatever you want to call the level of involvement you have in woodworking. I am a novice. I don’t have much hands-on experience.
And I suppose I should stop on warn you now that this is going to be a fairly long post/question.
Now, with that being said, I’ve been trying to plan exactly how I want to build all of this, as well, as what materials to use, all to make it look like it fits the character of the house, which is a brick Tudor Revival, or American Tudor… whatever you want to call it.
Here are a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the space I want to use for this project:
(Sorry for the poor image quality. I had to take this on my phone as all of our photos are on a laptop with issues right now.)
The fireplace actually has a woodburning stove insert, but some or the brick surround is still visible. There is also a little niche right above where the mantle will go. There are two recesses, one on either side of the chimney, with a window in each nook. I will try to attach a picture when I get a chance of the “future construction site”.
The chimney is stuccoed, just like the walls. Level with the bottom of the niche, the chimney begins to taper upward at a noticeable rate. Not so noticeable is the slight taper from the floor up to this level. There is only about 1/2-inch worth of difference in width, but nonetheless, it will have to be accounted for in the design of everything in order to plumb-up the completed project, as I don’t want the wood that’s there to be scribed to match, but rather, I want to eliminate this disparity in width. I am also not sure if I want to remove the two sets of bricks below and to the right and left of the niche, but above all the other brickwork, or incorporate them into the mantel support, either “as-is,” or cover them with wood.
I’m also not crazy about the trim color, but don’t want to change all the baseboard trim, picture rail trim, and window trim just so the bookcases and mantel can be a different color.
Here are a few measurements for the space as it is before I begin the project:
The recesses are not exactly the same widths or depths, but very close. The right recess is 39.5-inches wide at floor level, and 40.0-inches wide where it begins to taper, which is where the mantel will be. Not sure if the top of the bookcases will be level with the mantel, or just below? Seems that it would look more seamless if it flowed as one, but that the mantel would stand out a bit more if it were a step higher? The depth of the right recess is 9-1/8 inches at floor level, and 9-inches at the taper. It is 48-inches from the floor to the bottom of the window trim.
The left recess is 39-5/8-inches wide at floor level, and 40-3/8-inches wide at the taper. The left recess is
Some of this disparity might be because of the heavy texture on the walls, but I don’t think the room was originally perfectly proportioned either.
The bottom of the niche is about 45-inches above the floor. The top of the right set of bricks is 44-inches above the floor, while the left set of bricks is 44-3/8-inches above the floor.
The chimney area is 65-inches wide, give or take, depending on where you measure. From the edge of the chimney to where the tile begins below the firebox is 6-3/4-inches on the right recess and 7-inches on the left recess. I figured this measurement would help in possibly designing the mantel stiles/supports as it might look awkward to have to wood overlapping the tile, but maybe not?
The two sets of bricks are 32-1/2-inches apart from inside edge to inside edge. The two sets of bricks protrude about 2-1/4-inches from the chimney. If you run a line across the top of the bricks, the niche opening begins 1-inch above this level.
The floor trim is 40-1/4-inches tall, and will probably be put back in place at the bottom of the bookcases to ensure the continuity of the room.
I suppose that’s enough measurements for now. That at least give you an idea of the space I’m working with.
A few requirements for the bookcases:
A few thoughts on the bookcases and mantel:
Sorry for the unorganized posting here. I’m mainly trying to get thoughts down on all this. I know there is a lot to respond to here, but if you even have one bit of advice on one little part of this project, please chime in!
Thank you in advance for your input,
-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."