Opinions on this wood shelving unit?

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Oakley213

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Hello folks! Thought I'd start a new thread to ask for all of your expert opinions on these bookcases. I've been on the hunt for a solid wood cubed shelving unit for a very long time. Welcome all of your opinions on this one! (e.g. pricing, maintenance, quality, wood type, durability, finish, etc.). Additionally if you know of any similar units that are worth checking out please do let me know! Thanks!

 

TheTiddles

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Depends what you like, personally I think it’s ugly. What’s the desire for solid wood driven from?

If you wanted you could make something similar from cheap pine furniture board with a saw, a drill and a plug cutter
 

Oakley213

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Thanks for your reply! Just love the pattern and feel of solid wood. I'm a long way off from being able to make something like this but one day hopefully!
 

Bingy man

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Not sure of your capability but there is nothing too complicated about making something like this yourself. As “the tiddles” says pine furniture board or similar and a few basic tools and your set , f/board is available in several sizes and widths and tbh we all have to start somewhere or it will never happen. At £250-£300 I’d also give it a miss .
 

ajs

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I see they have been sold now so either way the answer is moot. Personally I don't like the look of them from a design perspective. I dislike the lack of any back or bracing to prevent them from parallelogramming. You describe them as bookcases but in my observation that kind of design is they are usually sold as a "display" case, i.e. not load bearing to any significant extent. Given they're second hand and will need to be manhandled in/out of a transit or similar that's something I'd be doubly concerned about.

Of course asking here will always attract a comparison with something you could make yourself and I understand the restrictions on ability and resources... Join the club mate. Still you probably could knock up an equivalent for less money if you don't price in your time using only basic tools and techniques.

That is where sites such as this sometimes let the beginner down IMHO. Not everything needs or even benefits from fancy joints, precision dimensioning and so on. Especially given the above concerns about the design, I'd much rather trust e.g. simple dowel joints used to their strengths than mortice and tenons or dovetails used in ways they're not suited to.
 

Oakley213

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Thanks for your thoughts! Yes, I agree that it's more suitable to call them display cases. The design's really basic and I intend to use it both as a storage system (where you can put baskets into the cubes) and to hold books, as well as display items. I'm basically looking for a solid wood version of Ikea's Kallax shelving unit (KALLAX white, Shelving unit, 77x147 cm - IKEA). I like a lot of Ikea's versatile designs but not really their materials (I've had a number of Ikea pieces fall apart). It sounds simple enough to make, if I have the time to learn properly and invest in all the equipment, etc. I'll look into that.
 

ajs

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Hmmm, that's a very clean minimalist design. If that's the kind of look you want I'd tend to say go for something commercial. That kind of look depends on extreme accuracy and the nature of the design puts a lot of faith in the integrity of the joints. High class work in short.

How attached are you to that backless design? Needn't be a full back, a three or four inch lip at the back of each shelf (forming an L cross section) would stiffen things up considerably. Alternatively a vertical pillar of e.g. 1x2 down the middle if that would be preferable.

A final option would be to keep the essential design but keep everything square using flat T and cross brackets on the front and back of the shelves. Simple and effective but you're not going to hide them. If done accurately that kind of thing can have its own aesthetic (make a feature of the engineering instead of trying to hide it) but of course it's a completely different effect to that of the IKEA units.
 

TheTiddles

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I’ll disagree with ajs on this one.

I think this is very basic and very simple, you can even see the plugged screw joints (nothing wrong with that).

You could get the boards cut to size at your timber merchant, build sand and stain this in a day as a beginner.
 

thetyreman

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this would be very easy to make, but if you want it to be seriously strong and hold academic/heavy books it will need joinery like housing joints, the joints need to be tight and well made or it won't last.
 

ajs

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I do have a tendency towards overengineering and it's possible that is coming through, but equally I wouldn't underestimate the requirements.

One thing that is giving me a moment's pause is when I think of a couple of bookcases I picked up from Argos perhaps ten years for somewhere around £40 each. Make no mistake, these are absolute rubbish but they have done the job.

They're 6' tall, 12mm chipboard, one fixed shelf halfway up, the others are repositionable. The one in my bedroom is  full (see photo) and while some of the shelves are sagging a bit the unit as a whole seems solid enough. The joints are simply screwed butt joints. The screws are fairly long (three or maybe even four inch) - accurately drilling pilot holes that deep is easy for factory processes. It's a bit trickier with basic tools but I'd put it in headscratcher territory rather than impossible.

Crucial though is the bracing to keep everything square. There is a small kickboard at the front but that's probably only 3". There is however a full back. It is only a hardboard panel pinned on but even hardboard can impart a good deal of strength used like that, with the load travelling along rather than through the surface. As I recall before the back went on those bookcases didn't inspire a lot of confidence and were decidedly wobbly even when empty.
 

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Spectric

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I dont think I can comment on the look because everyone has different taste from 0 to 100 but they are just boxes in a box so with the right tools they would not be that hard to make. I will agree that solid wood does have a look not matched by MDF and for me I prefer the more chunky solid look than just a collection of MDF panels fixed to each other.
 

recipio

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It may start out as a room divider or display case but human nature tends to forget and piles on the weight over the years. Putting a back on it would prevent racking but then it wouldn't be a room divider. Any board over 16mm thick would do so it's really an aesthetic choice. Without resorting to joinery it could be screwed together using confirmat screws or even pocket hole screws for the shelves and confirmat for the carcass.
 

TheTiddles

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Yep, you are definitely over thinking this.

Bookcases often have back panels and need them as the shelves are floating. Fasten those shelves through the sides, make them 40mm thick and then they perform a very different function.

Housing joints are nice, but a screwed butt joint is drawn into compression, that plus glue is really pretty tough. You’d probably need a sledgehammer to break it apart.

If you are worried about the complexity of drilling a 100mm screw hole… not sure there’s any way to help you there.
 
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