Need help building bookshelves


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Old 12-02-12, 04:03 PM
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Need help building bookshelves

My wife has challenged me to build some bookshelves in our den. The shelf design comes from the store 'Design Within Reach" and they run over $1900 each, and we need at least 3. I would prefer to create them myself if I can. See photos below for more details. Making square cuts is not a problem -- it is more about how to notch out the wood, etc. Any and all help (any any part of this project) will be much appreciated. I'll gladly post photos of my progress. Thanks.

full photo
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another view
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details
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shelf as notched

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2nd photo

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top support rail

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  #2  
Old 12-02-12, 04:43 PM
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Table saw with a dado head would do it. If you don't have that, a router and straight bit will suffice. The hanging method used is called a french cleat. A jig saw would be the way to go to cut that shape out.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 05:45 PM
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That's a very interesting design but it really asks a lot of those shelves when cantilevered that way. I would use 3/4" plywood with hot melt veneer taped edges for the shelves. In fact, if you don't have the means to cut those dadoes in the uprights, you could make them with built up 3/4" stock too. One continuous center spline laminated with separate pieces on each side and front leaving a 3/4" gap as shown in your pic. It would have to be glued on 100% of mating surfaces with yellow wood glue. Slots in the shelves cut with bandsaw or jigsaw. I think I would move the outer uprights in another inch or two from where they are in the sample pic.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:43 PM
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Thanks. I'll give it a shot. Some additional questions: When using a jig saw for something like in the photos, how do I make sure the lines are nice and straight? Whenever I use a jigsaw, I find that I end up with slightly curvy lines....

Also for the french cleat, do I have to worry about the wood splitting? If I load up the shelves with books, even if I add another upright for support, should I be worried about the weight of the shelves pulling down the uprights and causing them to split?
 
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Old 12-02-12, 07:54 PM
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Also for the french cleat, do I have to worry about the wood splitting?
Good question. Reinforce that area by adding a screw or two from the back. Be sure to predrill.

I wonder if that bookshelf could function if loaded 100% with books. It's a nice design, but may be more for knick-knacks. I would do a mock up of one shelf and do some testing first. The shelve sin the picture appear to be made out of veneered MDF. No way to be sure, but MDF makes a terrible bookshelf. Go for a nice veneered plywood and avoid solid wood. The verticals should be solid wood. You can also reduce the load on the one cleat by adding more.
 
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Old 12-02-12, 08:42 PM
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Are you planning to shelve books? If so, you need actual bookcases, standing on the floor, slightly tilted back by cheating the bottoms and, possibly, secured to a stud by screws and an angle iron at the top.

We have more than 30 bookcases in our house. Only two of them are anywhere near as insubstantial as the ones you show. Those two hold a turntable, some thin drawers (near the bottom), and some pottery we find attractive.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 12-04-12 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Correct misleading terminology
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Old 12-03-12, 03:52 AM
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Or you can do bookcases. I fear the holding capabilities of the one you picture for books. Nick Nacks, sure. Good design, though. Using a jig saw just requires control of the head and a slow and deliberate movement on one side of your drawn line. Lighting is especially important when using a saw like that.
 
 

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