Library project

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Solid maple sawn boards 150 x 32 mm sound like they may be coming in at about £40 per 9 foot length.
Timber like that would make far stiffer shelves than mdf. You might get away with 3 foor spans.
If you can process it, is it worth stumping up the ££ ?
Maybe Tulipwood would be stronger than mdf or at least less saggy, very cheap and paints lovely too.
 
> there is no real need to fabricate the units as two separate boxes fastened on top of each other

The main reasons for this is that I only have a 1.5m rail to cut straight edges, I could join two rails together but I'm not confident it would be 100% straight over a ~2.2m span. I might give it a go with my prototype and see how it turns out, it would save time/effort not constructing two boxes each time.

> Solid maple sawn boards 150 x 32 mm sound like they may be coming in at about £40 per 9 foot length
Do you know of a good supplier for this? I'm located in Norfolk, which is a little out of the way making collection somewhat tricky.
 
> Solid maple sawn boards 150 x 32 mm sound like they may be coming in at about £40 per 9 foot length
Do you know of a good supplier for this? I'm located in Norfolk, which is a little out of the way making collection somewhat tricky.
I'm in the process of buying some Canadian hard maple from Arnold Laver timber. My local depot is Manchester but it's their Leeds or Sheffield branch has maple in stock so it's being transferred over for me to collect.
They are national - Peterborough will be nearest to you.
Stock sizes include nominal 25, 32 and 38mm thick, 125 and 150mm wide.
Board lengths vary - sounded like 2.6 through 3.6m
You say what you need and they pick boards that are at least that size so you always have offcuts that you have paid for.

I'm modifying built in shelving in an alcove after adding a central heating pipe drop in one corner. The side of the "bookcase" will be thickened to box in the new pipes.

I bought ash from them 2 yrs ago. Thats another strong timber but not as fine grained or stiff.
 
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Most board suppliers stopped supplying blockboard many years ago, You are now offered chipboard, MDF or ply. I used to use it for kitchen and wardrobe carcases as it was a lot more pleasant and lightweight to work with, That was until I was supplied with some oak veneered, keruing blockboard . which was heavy, smelt bad and oozed sap. The real Rolls-Royce of blockboard, was laminboard, which was what G-plan used in their furniture.
Yes, we are at the mercy of the market. For the library project like the one above I would now probably just use panelboard to avoid having to finish it.. The trick is to find a blade in the table saw that will give a chip free cut. I used to use a lot of black ash finished chipboard but that's obsolete now as well. The only problem is it ends up a very skinny 16 mm thick unless you are lucky to find a board at 19 mm.
 
I guess I'll provide an update on where I'm at with this project.

I built the plinths/floor boxes a couple of weekend ago:
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The house we're in is reasonably new (~20 years old) so the floor and walls are relatively even. Levelling them (not shown above) took me a while but wasn't too bad. I bought a cheap Parkside laser level from Lidl earlier in the year that was _invaluable_ in double checking things were level.

I've had the past week off work so I've started to build up the boxes.

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So right now all the boxes are built and I'm halfway through attaching them all together and fixing them to the walls/floor.

I'm pretty happy with the way it's going so far, all the boxes are square enough (within a millimeter or two) and they are all going in nice and level.

Attaching the 45-degree corner bookcase has been interesting. The corner bookcase is 400x400mm that lines up at 45-degrees with the adjoining bookcases which are 300mm deep.

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The geometry of it all means that this corner bookcase doesn't actually touch any walls. So to make it secure I've had to make small triangular brackets that means I can join it to the bookcases next to it. Not a huge problem, just more complicated than I imagine it would be. I'll buy some kind of long bracket thing so I can fix it to the wall at the top.

Having never really done a project like this before some things have surprised me:
  • Routing for the grooves and the bookcase strips was an absolute bane. Each one took 2-3 passes so I've spent the majority of the time slowly passing wood through the router.
  • I bought some banggood parallel guides (the red ones, well-reviewed) to make straight parallel cuts. Two issues I've had: 1) when calibrated using the recommended method they do not measure widths accurately, they are 2-3mm out. I've had to make my own calibration jig to ensure I could cut perfect 300mm boards; 2) the stops slip when using them repeatedly. I noticed early on that the boards I was cutting were getting very slightly wider the more I cut. So I've had to clamp the stops as well as screwing them in place as hard as they'll go. You get what you pay for I guess.
 
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I decided to go for the more expensive option in the end and bought some birch plywood from a local lumberyard. I think it's a bit of a miracle they had any at all.

I guess the next phases will be to build out/attach the surround/face frame for it all and then to paint it.

So my next couple of questions:
  • I'm going to need to fill a load of screw holes/nail holes/joins. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good wood-filler? I've done a bit of research and I'm not super keen on using the two-part filler that sets in 5 minutes. I'm going to have _loads_ to do and I'd rather not be mixing more filler every two minutes. The cure time doesn't matter, it can take 24 hours, I'd rather optimise for easy-to-work-with on a large scale.
  • Painting: I'm going to paint the bookcases white and from some searching I've already done and videos I've seen I'm going to want to use a water based acrylic eggshell. I've found this primer Leyland Trade Universal White Multi-surface Primer & undercoat, 750ml | DIY at B&Q and this topcoat Leyland Trade Hardwearing Acrylic Eggshell Brilliant White 2.5L | DIY at B&Q . Are these any good? Peter Millard has a pretty old video (5-6 years) on painting where he says these are alright but I wonder if there's a better alternative nowadays?
Thanks
 

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