Sunday, November 3, 2013

Rustic Furniture: Book shelves

With the completion of my Rustic Coffee table and End table, I decided to replace my crappy book shelves with new book shelves that match my new furniture.


The books shelves seen above were originally $20 each, and after a month or so the shelves started to droop.  Typical cheap junk!  Black was also the only color that Target had, and did not match the rest of my furniture at the time I bought them - so I am happy to build new superior shelves that will match!

To start I designed a book shelf to match the style of my coffee table and end table.  The image below was created in SketchUp, but I forgot to include the X-shaped cross beams that are present in my other Rustic furniture - don't worry - I will include them later!



I color coded each part of the book shelf.


And I created a sheet to bring to the hardware store for each of the lumber cuts.


Since I am building 2 book shelves, my car was full of cut lumber.


I also had left over lumber from my previous projects I plan on using - always keep the scrap lumber when you get it cut at the store!

I clamped the pieces together and cut them all at once using my circular saw.


Now that I have all my lumber I can start!  I began with the tops of the book shelves.  I drilled pocket holes in the 2x6's and then screwed them together using pocket screws.


Soon I had a set of 2 book shelves tops.


Next I started making the frames.  Once again I used pocket holes and screws to assemble everything.  I started with one frame first.



I placed one of the tops onto the first frame to make sure it could support the weight.  


Luckily the frame is quite strong, so I assembled the second frame.


Now the frames are together!  Then I added the lower shelves.  Once again, these were attached using pocket holes and screws.


At the end of this work day the 2 shelves next to each other would create problems while getting ready for work the next day.  So I stacked them and used clamps to make sure one didn't slide off the other.


The next day I added the remaining shelves.  Once the bottom shelves were in place I measured and marked where the other shelves will go.  For this is used a T-square to mark the same positions on the parallel legs on each side.


Then I used my clamps to balance the side beams in place.  I used a triangle and level to make sure everything lined up correctly.  Then I screwed the beams in place.  


Once the long front and back beams were in place I tried repeated the process for the shorter side beams - but the narrowness of this area made it difficult.


So I had to drill holes in the sides...


and screw the smaller beams in place.


Once all the beams were in place I attached the shelving to the beams using pocket holes and screws.




Next I placed the whole book shelves upside-down on the ground.  I centered the frame and traced the frame onto the tops.


Then I removed the frame and marked where to drill.


Then I drilled on the pre-made marks.  These holes will connect the top to the frame.


Once I finished drilling I used my countersink to widen the drill holes.


Then I placed the tops on the frame and screwed them on.


Next I used my block plane to even out the tops a little bit.  I find that using a utility glove helps when skimming down tough wood.  Otherwise your palm is going to get sore quickly.


Now it's time to sand, so I brought both shelving units outside.


 Both the tops and frames received a good amount of sanding.  For this I used my Belt sander....


...my mouse sander...


 and good old sandpaper.


Once again I made use of my DIY saw horses (seen here).  This made it easier to work on the lower shelves and underneath each shelf.


Sanding both of these bookshelves took about 3 hours.


I purposely left a decent amount of imperfections.  Aside from liking the look of it, I also wanted it to match my coffee table and end table.  But some areas will receive some wood filler - namely the holes on the top where the screws were drilled...


...and the joints between the shelves and the frame.


I set the book shelves aside and let the filler dry.


I forgot to mention earlier that there is a specific front and back to each book shelf.  In the image below you can see that the top of the bookshelf extends past the frame on the right side, and is flush with the frame on the left.  This is because the bookshelves will be against the wall when done.  Since I am not putting a back to the book frames I want as small a gap as possible between the wall and the shelves. Later on when I attach the decorative corners and bolts that match my other rustic furniture, I will only be putting them on the front of the shelves.....but I'll get to that later.


Once the filler dried I sanded them smooth.


Using a sanding sponge was also good for corners.


After some clean up it was time to work on the cross beams.  Like my coffee & end table, I took my 2x2's and put them in place on the table.


Using a pencil I traced where each piece will fit into the corner of the frames.


I decided for these shelves that I was not going to make the X shape I did on my other furniture.  Instead I will have only one beam going diagonally across each side.  The main reason for this was that the sides were not wide enough for 2 criss-cross beams. It will still match my other furniture, so I am ok with it.  Once I had my shapes, I cut them out using a saw.


Then I sanded them and put them in place.


I glued them in place and tried nailing them as well, but I did not have nails that were long enough.


So I drilled some holes and screwed them in place.




Then I did a little more sanding. Looking at the back of one of the book shelves I felt they needed a back - perhaps some more cross beams.


So I went to the store and bought some thin wood.


I cut them to make an X on the back.  Below 2 beams are taped together.  But the thickness of 2 beams overlapping will not make it rest against the wall very well, so I cut one of the beams in half so that they form an X but are not overlapping.


Then I glued and nailed the back beams in place.


The joint in which the 3 beams meet need support, so I took a wood paint stirrer...


...and I cut it in half with my miter box and saw.


Then I used glue and clamps to hold it in place until it dried.


And it came out nice!


Then I did a little more sanding followed by a good cleaning.  Then I decided to add the corner hardware and bolts that are also on the other furniture I made.




The next step is to stain, however the days are now shorter and the weather hasn't been ideal for staining, so I had to wait.  To pass time I took some leftover wood and some sheets of MDF wood that I found in a dumpster.


I cut, glued and nailed them together with some strips of cardboard to make a box.  The wood and cardboard made up the sides.


The MDF made up the bottom.


It was a simple little side project to help pass the time.  
Now it's time to stain!  I took the box and the shelves outside and flipped them over.



I started staining from the bottoms first.



 I used the same stain as I did for the coffee table and end table.  Since this stain also has polyurethane in it, all I had to do is wait for it to dry.


Once the stain had dried, I flipped the shelves over and started staining the tops.  Since the shelves were too high to reach when standing upright, I placed them on their sides.


The box was also flipped over and stained.


After a short while both shelves were completed...


...and left out for a few hours to dry.


When it had dried I brought the shelves inside and began sanding it by using steel wool, and various grits of sandpaper.



The image below shows the difference between a sanded and unsanded finish.  The left has not been sanded, while the right received steel wood and medium/fine sanding.


The steel wool softened the surfaces, while the sandpaper helped give it a worn, rustic look.  After sanding I gave the bookshelves a good cleaning.


Then I added the decorative end caps and bolts.



Next I removed the stuff from my old book shelves....


Replaced the old shelves with the new one...


...and put everything back.


...and moved my recliner back.


The new shelves fit everything nicely and look great!


 Next I repeated the same steps for the other book shelf.




And the other side looks great too!


And I'm done!!!!






I do not have immediate plans for the box I made, but soon I plan on making a console table for my TV and game systems, and it will be the perfect box to hold my game controllers and remotes in.



The new shelves look great, are quite durable and match my other furniture perfectly!  I am so happy that I made them!


Thanks for reading!

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