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Building a bookcase

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cisamcgu

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Hi,

Dear All,

my daughter has requested a large bookcase (with a ladder !!!). I am planning on following this outline plan :

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/ho ... ng/4268525


Basically I have never built anything this large before, and I am a little daunted. Is it relatively simple, or is there an even simpler way. Also, I have had a search around for bookcase ladders, but they cost a fortune if you want a proper one with wheels and everything, has anyone added a ladder to a bookcase before ?

I think, really, I am looking for reassurance that I am doing the right thing and shouldn't just nip down to IKEA and load up with Billy bookcases, and also I'm looking for advice about bookcases in general and ladders in particular.

Kindest regards

Andrew
 

TheTiddles

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I wouldn't rule out the IKEA idea, buy the bookcases in whatever suitable finish, then where the cases join use a custom hardwood face frame, maybe plinth too. It'll save an age and may well do so on money too. Just make sure to bolt everything to everything else and then to the wall.

Aidan
 

AndyT

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I think that Pop Mechanics design is quite well thought out as a way of getting a big piece mostly out of sheet material but looking classier in the parts that show. A few tips from the various bookcases I have made:

- If you are not set up for precise cutting down of big heavy 8x4 sheets, it's a much better idea to go to a supplier who has a proper panel saw and get them to rip the sheets down into the widths you need. (This is actually almost the same as going to Ikea and buying bits from them, as Aidan said.

- Depending on the width you need, solid wood shelves can be stiff enough - there's a handy on-line "Sagulator" which will tell you how they will react to a full load: http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm

- Adjustable shelf fittings (eg library strips) can be much easier than lots of joints - but once you've got the shelves filled you will never adjust them again. There's a nice period version with long wooden strips with a saw-tooth cut along them so that wooden strips sit in them, but you can be much simpler than that with pins, studs, magic wires etc.

- A bit of decoration on the shelf edges (moulding plane / scratch stock / router) will make the whole thing look more expensive than it was.

- A ladder is quite easy to make (narrow stiles with parallel housings for the treads) - but if you have too much time on your hands, you could always try a chair which turns into a set of steps - I'm slowly working on one of these at present.
 

Rob Platt

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book cases are fairly easy to build as is the ladder. only you know if your capabilities are up to it or not. you will however never develop unless you stretch yourself.
all the best
rob
 

simocco

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Hey dude, dont be daunted. the plans in your link look pertty good. id say that if you are going to do fixed shelves (in dadoes/slots) they would need to be failry accurate so that all your shelves are level. the face frame looks to more of face pieces!! even easier. i dont have a biscuit jointer so id be glueing and nailing there. i followed a lot of Norms projects (OK all of them) he did a book case and a library ladder, its a good starting point. Post a few pics of your progress, all the best
 

Benchwayze

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Hi Andrew,

Once you have your drawing, sketch, or whatever you like to work from, think through the actual processes you'll be engaging in.
Type them out in order. Follow your list to the letter.


Unless you have a giant shop, working space is going to be your main concern. But I'd put the dust sheets down in the room, and send daughter to a friend's to stop-over for the weekend. Use the room itself for as much of the work as possible. :D

If you feel better making smaller pieces, make the design 'modular'; say three smaller units that stack. Make adjoining tops and bottoms half the thickness of the sides. Add a face frame last, so it looks like one unit when done.

HTH
John :D
 

cisamcgu

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Thank you all for your advice and encouragment.

Once I have finalized the plan and started, I will hopefully be able to post some pictures here.


Again, many thanks
 

Digit

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There's one piece of advice not mentioned Andrew that I consider essential.
Check the room for squareness! There's nothing worse than finding that you've made the structure to the wide end of a taper. Trust me! :oops:

Roy.
 

cisamcgu

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Digit,

Thanks, I had not thought of that - excellent idea

Thanks for all the advice, anything else is more than welcome!

And if anyone has plans or links to plans, preferably free or at least cheap, that would be great

Andrew
 

custard

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Digit":nkv3mp7r said:
There's one piece of advice not mentioned Andrew that I consider essential.
Check the room for squareness! There's nothing worse than finding that you've made the structure to the wide end of a taper. Trust me! :oops:

Roy.
+1

Square solid plinths and a level datum are what you need.
 

twothumbs

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Yes to checking square and also vertical plumb, then you can allow for make up pieces or end scribing trims. Haven't looked at the design to see which. Make sure you allow for actually erecting it and dont find yourself getting wedged in. But importantly enjoy doing it and being priud of what you are doing. Good luck.
 

cisamcgu

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Well, it has taken some time, but I am almost finished. I'll post some pictures shortly but basically everything has gone to plan - just a ladder to sort out now

Andrew
 
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