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Backless bookcase

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Forum topic by vino82 posted 02-20-2013 10:11 PM 2184 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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vino82

8 posts in 640 days


02-20-2013 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: building backless bookcase hickory furniture entertainment center

Hello,

This is my first post to this site as well as my first carpentry venture. I am looking to build a backless bookcase. I plan to butt the bookcase against the side wall of a brick chimney (you can see the chimney from all four sides in the house). We think being able to look through the bookcase and see the brick will be nice. I also plan to use this bookcase more as an entertainment center than a bookcase minus the TV, just equipment. I will have the wiring run through the shelves and out the side of the bookcase and around the chimney corner to be tucked into the corner of the mantle. The TV will be above the mantel. I also want to mount recessed puck lights into each shelf, so shelves thick enough where i can drill a 1/4 hole to sneak the wires to the lights would be necessary (i’m an electrician). The wiring is not why i’m here however I was curious if anyone could guide me in a good direction to build a 4 – 5 shelf unit about 38” wide maybe 16” deep and about 60’ high. I expect to build something permanent secured to the floor and/or brick. As far as trim/molding goes we could be happy with simple straight edges. The floor is made of 4” hickory planks so we may want to match the hickory to the bookcase, stain and all. Any guidance wood be appreciated.

vino82


11 replies so far

View CplSteel's profile

CplSteel

142 posts in 883 days


#1 posted 02-20-2013 10:47 PM

The problem with a backless bookcase is racking, it is solved by having enough shelves (cross supports) to eliminate the racking, making these shelves thick will assist in eliminating racking, also attaching a bookcase to the wall will help. Because you are going with thick shelves and attaching it to a wall, you are basically set.

You just need to figure out what you want the bookcase to look like. Once you know the look you are going for then it becomes an issue of how to achieve that look, which should not be a problem with your criteria.

FYI, 16” is a bit deep for a bookcase.

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vino82

8 posts in 640 days


#2 posted 02-21-2013 01:20 AM

I think that we may go with a square-linear look. To stay in tune with the shape of the bricks. As far as securing to the floor I imagine I could screw a 2×4 to the floor and build the case walls off of it… I can’t quite grasp how I should secure the bookcase to the brick wall as it has no back.

Thanks

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15076 posts in 1056 days


#3 posted 02-21-2013 01:26 AM

This may not be what you want, but these are some I built, http://lumberjocks.com/projects/76034

I do have a back on these, but it could be done without. You would have to put steel T brackets on the back of shelvesto mmake them more solid. Just a suggestion.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View vino82's profile

vino82

8 posts in 640 days


#4 posted 02-21-2013 01:57 AM

Those are some beautiful shelves there Monte. And it has the simplicity im looking for. 7 pieces of wood. Im impressed as to how you can’t obviously see how the shelves are supported. Are they resting on pegs?

Steel T brackets makes sense for structure. How would i secure the shelves to the brick in an inconspicuous way?

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1688 days


#5 posted 02-21-2013 02:02 AM

To fit the wiring and lights, make torsion box shelves. Yes, backless stuff can rack, but with thick torsion box shelves, I doubt that would happen. Just look at IKEA type stuff, it doesn’t go out of shape.

View Whiskers's profile

Whiskers

389 posts in 745 days


#6 posted 02-21-2013 02:13 AM

I’ll 2nd the metal t-braces idea as well as suggest corner braces. You won’t need T-s on every shelf, just in the Middle would be good for that height. Than you can use shelf supports and make the shelves adjustable. I put those metal braces on anything I buy from the stores nowadays cause it is so shoddily made of pressboard with funky little metal cam systems, and I frankly don’t want it coming apart the first time I move it. A box of 20 T’s or 40 Corner braces can be bought right now on Amazon for about 50c each. Just got a box of each myself last week. That’s 50c per brace, not box.

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vino82

8 posts in 640 days


#7 posted 02-21-2013 11:54 AM

I’m not quite sure what it means to “rack” or “racking”. And how backless cannot rack.

I was looking at torsion shelf building plans as well as thick cuts of wood (2” or so) for the shelves. I think i’m leaning more towards the thick cut lumber, possibly something exotic like zebrawood. As far as attaching the shelves to the side walls of the bookcase would it be suitable to use T braces on the backside and maybe a peg or dowel recessed into the shelf and side walll with glue?

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15076 posts in 1056 days


#8 posted 02-21-2013 11:59 AM

I drill 3/8 shallow holes and use3” ceramic coated deck screws from the sides. Then it just plugged and sanded. I canbbuild a set fairly quickly this way. The back is glued as well as screwed. No wobble.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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vino82

8 posts in 640 days


#9 posted 02-21-2013 12:04 PM

So Monte are you suggesting that because of tge weight of my case that securing to the brick may be unnecessary? I will be able to easily secure it to the floor. I will be backless if that will greatly weaken the strength and allow wobble. I think I will use your shelf securing method.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2928 posts in 1962 days


#10 posted 02-21-2013 06:33 PM

If one side of the case is securred to something solid; either the fireplace or wall, it will not rack. A rabbeted 1×2 on the front and back edges of each shelf will keep them from sagging. Don’t forget a toe-kick space at the bottom on both sides. The bottom shelf should be not less than 4” above the floor for appearance.

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vino82

8 posts in 640 days


#11 posted 02-21-2013 08:03 PM

Will i require the rabbeted 1×2’s if im using 2” thick shelves 36” wide? I may take montes suggestion and screw them through the side walls with 3” decking screws.

I think i may attach the case walls to the brick with T braces, hiding the T behind where the shelves will go. Then slide the shelves in and secure them to the case walls…again im new at fine carpentry work, im not sure if this may be an approved method.

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