Monday, September 1, 2014

Office Bookshelf

For my next project I decided I needed to clean up my office a little and build a bookshelf to help organize it better.  To start I made a simple 6-foot bookshelf in SketchUp.

I then bought the wood I needed.

I marked the boards for cuts and positioning using my plans.

I made the cuts using my circular saw and a guide rail.

Next I made pocket holes on the shelf boards.

Here's where I made a huge mistake:
The day before I used my pocket hole jig to make holes in some 2x4's.  To do that I had to set the jig and the drill bit to 1.5" thickness.  The boards for this project are .75" thick.  I should have set the jig and bit for .75" thickness, but I forgot to.  So all the holes are no good.

To correct this mistake I used the guides I made earlier and instead drilled straight holes.

I used some clamps to make sure the boards were positioned correctly while I screwed the pieces together.

After a short while the sides, top, bottom and shelves were attached.  But I still wasn't very happy about the mistake I made.

I used my hand planer to level the edges of the boards.  I haven't had too much experience using this tool, and as a result of being slightly impatient, I messed up once again.

I was able to quickly fix the mistakes I made with the planer, but I was annoyed.  

There are times you just have to walk away from a project for a while in order to come back refreshed, and with a level head.  I should have done so at this point, but I didn't and as a result I kept making poor decisions.  I decided to screw on molding to the frame of the bookcase.  This is not the way to do it.

After messing up the molding I finally walked away from this project.  After a while I came back and began correcting my mistakes.  I removed all the molding, and began making it look nicer by cutting nice edges with the router.

When the trim was all routed I began gluing and clamping the trim down.

I used my brad nailer to nail the trim in place.

Then I added the trim to the shelves.

Once the trim was nicely in place I began filling in all the holes and mistakes I had made.

Then I spent a very long time sanding.

Despite all my earlier mistakes the bookshelf looks alright.  The correct size pocket holes would have made the whole thing stronger, but I warrant that this shelf is a lot stronger and will last longer than any similarly sized bookshelf from Walmart, Target and even Ikea.

Since the furniture in my office has a very light stain, I stained this bookshelf using another light colored stain.

When the stain dried I brought it inside my office.

I used an L bracket to screw the top of the shelf to the wall.

Then I began using the bookshelf!

I made too many careless mistakes during this project, but I went back and took my time to salvage this thing.  All-in-all this is a pretty decent bookshelf.  It was inexpensive to make and it should last for years.

Thanks for reading!

Update: After about 7 months this bookshelf is still holding strong!  No drooping shelves or anything.  But, I would like to make it better by giving it a back - which I should have done in the first place.  I also want to fix the trim on the top which just looks bad, and also make the whole thing darker.  So I took everything off and unscrewed it from the wall.  

I went out and bought some 1/4" plywood for the back.

But before I attach the back I sanded the boards...

...and I also sanded the whole unit a bit.

Next I attached the back using brad nails.

The boards on the inside need a little covering up at the seams.

So I cut some more 1/4" plywood...

...and I glued and nailed the strip to the back seams.  It's not the nicest looking cover-up, but it keeps the back flush and will prevent any warping.

The smallest brad nails I had were too long and popped through the back.  This was easily dealt with using some cutting plyers...

...and some sanding.

After a short whole the bookshelf was looking more complete than ever.

Now it's time to tackle the top trim.  I ripped off the old trim and cleaned the edge with a chisel.

I then cut some wood for the new trim.

Then passed it through the router.

I attached the new trim with glue and brads.

I then added some more trim to the top...

...and 2 small pieces to the front to cover the gap between the top and side trim.

Then I began to sand the whole thing inside and out.

After quite a lot of sanding the wood was soft and most of the old stain was gone.

Then I cleaned it up.

Looks pretty darn good now.

But it could look better...

...with a darker stain.

When the stain dried I added clear coat, followed by sanding and cleaning.

Then I moved it back into the office.

Then I repopulated the shelves with my stuff.

The bookcase is heavy enough now that I no longer need wall anchors.

This is definitely an improvement over the earlier version.  It's stronger and looks a whole lot nicer!

Thanks for reading!

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