Monday, August 19, 2013
Building Built-In-Bookcases: Part Two
After I got one case assembled, I repeated the process three more times so that I had a total of four cases when I was finished. The first one I immediately took downstairs before building the remaining three just to make sure everything fit as it should. This reminds me to make sure you calculate the diagonal dimension of the case to ensure when you are tipping it up it doesn't hit the ceiling. Since I also built a platform to raise the shelves up off the floor a bit, this gives me more room for tipping them without scraping the ceiling.
Here they are all set in place on top of the 2x4 platform I built. On my previous shelves I built for my old house, I simply side the shelves up against the wall. This created two problems. First the walls weren't straight so there were gaps between the shelves and the wall. Secondly, because the middle stiles were thicker, it gave the shelf an odd aesthetical appearance. So this time, I left enough room that I could adjust gaps as needed to make things appear pleasing to the eye. I shimmed between all the cases and clamped them together and then centered the whole works to the space. Once I had that dimension, I took them back out and started installing them one by one from the left to the right.
Once the first one was screwed to the wall which I did down low where my future books will cover up all the fasteners, I slid the next case in place. I shimmed it away from the first to my predetermined dimension, clamped it in place and screwed the cases together. I then screwed the second case to the wall and to my base while making sure everything was plumb and level. On the second case, I also had an electrical outlet that I wanted to cut around so that took some measuring.
Here they are all screwed together and firmly in place. My oldest daughter can now safely use them like a ladder and not worry about the shelves and hundreds of pounds of books tipping over on top of her.
Finally, I used some hardwood oak 1 by material that was included in my previous cost estimate to cover up all the exposed plywood ends and to give it a structural appearance. Three quarter thick plywood just doesn't have the same aesthetic look as my 1-1/2" rails and 3-1/2" stiles. I decided not to replace the crown molding though I may after I get everything stained if I think it will add something to it. I did replace the baseboard trim to help give it that built-in look I was going for and also to help hide the fact that the floor isn't level. I could have bought a wider board and scribed it to the floor but that would have been a tone of work and I think the white trim will help break up the color of the floor to the stain of the bookcases and provide visual interest. Although I presanded all my pieces, there always seems to be some scuffing as I get those thing moved into place and after setting tools on the shelves as I am working. So after everything was in place, I did a light sanding with a quarter-sheet palm sander, vacuumed up the dust and prepared to stain everything.