Building a Bookcase

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated December 11, 2015)

Everyone knows just how useful a bookcase can be; after all we use them in just about every room of our homes. They can be used to store books, collections, knick-knacks, and all kinds of things. Just one thing though, they can be a little expensive. Instead of paying an arm and a leg for a good quality shelf, or decent price for a piece of garbage, why not make your own? It's surprisingly easy; all you need to do is follow these simple directions.

Materials:

  • Tape measure
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's level
  • 1/4 inch plywood or peg board cut to dimensions needed
  • Lumber, 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick (your choice)
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • Large box of 4d finishing nails
  • Drill with screw head (Philips and regular) attachment
  • Minimum of 24 screws #8, 2 inches long
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Stain or paint
  • Paint brush

Procedure:

  1. Draw a plan. The best way to get a great bookcase is to actually draw up the plans. This is actually fairly easy to do, simply draw out a sketch of what you would like the bookcase to look like on piece of paper. After you have drawn out the sketch, begin to place the dimensions that you want for your bookcase. For example if you wanted to have a case that was 5 feet tall, by 3 feet wide, by 1 foot deep, then you will need to mark it down appropriately. By the way, if you will be using these dimensions, this will be roughly a four-shelf unit.
  2. Get materials. Go to your local home improvement center or store and purchase the materials needed for this project. Simply give the dimensions that you will be using to the people in the lumber yard, and they can cut the wood to size for you. This is easier than measuring everything out yourself, and doing your own cutting. However, if you will be doing your own cutting, then be sure that you get enough lumber to complete the project. Be sure that you also get a 5 foot by 3 foot piece of plywood or peg board for the backing of your bookcase.
  3. Layout pieces. Once you get home with all your materials, it is time to lay everything out. The simplest way to do this is to lay out all the pieces according to your blueprint. This will allow you to know exactly where everything is going to be going, and you will have all the materials right at hand. Keep in mind though that you will want to set aside the paint/stain that you will be using since you don't want to spill anything. If you did not get your lumber precut, then this is the time to cut everything to size. Be sure that you double-check all measurements prior to cutting, since you want to avoid making any mistakes.
  4. Assemble. Begin assembling everything together. Have someone help hold everything in place as you screw the pieces together. You want to use screws since they will hold up to longer use and abuse than simply using nails. As you assemble everything, use a carpenter's level to ensure that you have all the pieces nice and straight. Take your time as you do this, and avoid rushing. Rushing leads to mistakes. As you are attaching each "shelf" be sure that you use at least two screws on each side, preferably use three to give added strength and support to the unit.
  5. Sand. Once you have assembled everything, you should sand the unit so it is nice and smooth. You don't want to receive any splinters when you use the bookcase. You will want to keep sanding until everything is nice and smooth to the touch. The best way to test this is to use a soft piece of cloth, and drag it over the unit and check for any snags. Fill in any holes or depressions with wood fill and sand again to ensure everything is completely smooth.
  6. Paint or stain. Apply your paint or stain according to the manufacturers directions. Be sure that you allow enough time for the unit to dry between each coating. Paint and stain usually darkens as it dries, so you will want to make sure you have reached the color you want and avoid over staining.

Congratulations, you have now built a bookcase. All that you have left to do is to begin filing it up with your books, knick-knacks, odds and ends, or whatever else you wish. Once you have finished filling the bookcase up, it is time to show it off to your friends and family.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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