Another newbie built-in bookcase....

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Das108 posted 01-04-2012 12:23 PM 2478 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Das108's profile


6 posts in 1125 days

01-04-2012 12:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: newbie bookcase

Hi all:
I am setting out on my first big project and wanted to run the plan by the experts here to make sure I’m not making any huge mistakes and to answer some questions I have.

I’m generally going for something not too complicated with nice clean and simple lines, both because it fits the space and I’m a beginner. I’m thinking red oak based on price and complementing the oak parquet.
Something generally along these lines, but perhaps even simpler top.

For tools I’ve got a router and a decent set of dado blades, a circular saw with a new Freed Diablo carbide 70 tooth blade, a bunch of corner and foot-long bar clamps and the usual drills and other basic DIY tools. Can probably borrow a compound mitre saw for the job as well.

This is a project for my condo’s living room (see picture).
Window side: A set of bookcases running under the window, which is about 34 inches from floor to edge to window frame and runs a bit shy of 8 ft wide. I’m thinking 3/4” oak plywood carcasses with same material for a fixed dadod middle shelf. (With the overall height seems simpler that way). Face frame and shelf edge from solid oak. A relatively simple molding (shoe or cove or the like) around the top edge. For strength this probably works out to three units attached together with the stiles of the face frame covering the gaps.

The corner: this is a little tricker. I’m thinking the easiest way to go around the corner is a triangle-shaped unit of the same height where the front makes a 45 degree turn from each adjacent unit. Obviously the resulting shelves aren’t great for books, but can be a nice corner display space and could maybe throw in some lighting or something there.

The sidewall: the goal here (presuming I get this far) is maximum book space, so full-wall 8 ft high units, running about about close to 8 feet. At least one fixed shelf but mostly adjustable using dadoed rail inserts Obviously its supposed to appear continuous with the rest of the setup.

1) generally does the overall plan and material choices seem reasonable?
2) on the shelves, should I be planning to have them with the edging be flush with the face frames? or recessed?
3) is 1×1/2 solid oak edges for the shelves about right? It seems sufficiently strong to help the shelves and also obviously thinner than the frame which seems to look better)
4) would 2” wide stiles between the units be right (covering 3/4” sides and 1/2” spacer)?
5) do the tops/bottoms of each unit go the full width (i mean if you were looking straight down at the top, would the top piece cover the side pieces or would you see the top edge of the side pieces)?
6) The top piece: since the top of the window unit is going to be very visible, should I plan to cover the entire assembled set with one continuous piece of plywood, on top of the tops of each for the cleanest look?
7) For the corner/transition, I’m thinking if my rail that goes across the lower pieces continues at the same level and sort of divides the tall units in half, it will tie it all together and break up the tall units. That would also wrap around and go to the wall on the two exposed sides and cover any exposed edges of the top on the window/shorter piece.
8) Should my bottom rail also wrap around the exposed sides (and cover up the exposed edges of the bottom pieces?)
9) for the backs, can I use 1/4” ply and attach it to the fixed shelves, tops, bottoms and hidden sides, but just butt it against the exposed sides? or should I dado the exposed side panels? (it won’t be a rabbet because I’ll need to scribe to the wall).
10) Temperature concern: the window wall is basically a thin sheet of metal between inside and outside. It is also not air/watertight. I’m thinking of putting up a moisture barrier sheet against it and then some insulation against the metal which would come before the wood goes up against it.

Thanks for any/all ideas/comments/guidance you have (including telling me this is not realistic for me). Sorry if it got a bit long but I figured more information was better than less.


-- Thanks!

3 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


15873 posts in 3008 days

#1 posted 01-04-2012 04:50 PM

David, you’ve probably scared off anyone who might be inclined to reply, because sometimes a description that seems clear to the person giving it is very hard for someone else to actually visualize. And your plan includes a lot of those kinds of descriptions. But here goes:

1. Yes
2. I would recommend recessing them a bit and slightly rounding the shelf edging. But this is personal preference.
3. I think 1” edging will make the shelves too bulky looking. I would do 3/4. Again, personal preference.
4. If you need the spacer for leveling issues, okay. Otherwise, I would just butt the units and make it 1 1/2.
5. I’m going to say top between the sides.
6. Yes, I would let the top extend out a bit, and use some sort of crown underneath the overhang.
7. I’m lost on exactly how you are envisioning the corner, so I’ll pass on this one.
8. Yes
9. I can’t exactly visualize the problem, but your solution sounds reasonable.

Good luck!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View CharlieM1958's profile


15873 posts in 3008 days

#2 posted 01-04-2012 04:54 PM

By the way, you didn’t say what kind of adjustment you planned for your shelves, but I recommend the inset type of standards and clips I used on my oak bookcase.

Click for details

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Das108's profile


6 posts in 1125 days

#3 posted 01-04-2012 05:12 PM

Ha. Ok thanks for the answers and the pointers on good posting. If it helps I found a picture of a similar corner solution:
The difference in my situation is that the portion on the left side of the corner is full-height, while the corner itself and the right hand units are short.

(I was also planning to have the corner unit go all the way into the corner for a more built-in look rather than cutting across as the one in this picture does and put it up a 2×4 base/toekick for the “built-in” look rather than legs, but the picture is quite helpful in seeing what I have in my head).

-- Thanks!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase