Project Book Shelf
During my recharge week (May 21-25), I had lots of academic work to do, but I also wanted to do something that activated a different part of my mind. At the same time, one of my big tasks was to clean my office, something I try to do two or three times each year, usually at the end of a semester. Two forces had been leading me to accumulate a bunch of books on the floor of my office, in piles. First, I had too many books. Second, When I would use a book at my desk, I would get up to get it, and then set it on the floor around me so I would have it handy if I needed again soon. Then, when I was in a hurry and needed more room, I would move the pile to another spot on the floor and WHAMMO, I have a mess on my hands.
So as the start of my semester cleanup, I decided to build a bookshelf. But I don’t have wall space in my office for another bookshelf, and that wouldn’t solve the pile problem. Solution? Two sided rolling bookshelf. Read the rundown and all the messy details after the jump.
Day 1: Plan, Buy, and Cut
- I sketched out a plan for a simple bookshelf, 36″ high, 24″ wide, 18″ deep. I planned to put a divider down the middle and put shelves on either side, and casters on the bottom.
- I went to Home Depot to buy my supplies. We have a great local hardware store, but they don’t have lumber and I didn’t want to double my time by taking two trips. The lumber was annoying, because I’d planned to use a consistent shelf board I’d seen for sale that was 18 inches wide. Alas, it was actually cut 17.3 inches wide, which was too narrow for the double shelf I wanted to make. So I had to improvise using a couple pieces of plywood. Here’s what I bought:
- 1 finished board for the shelves, 1/2 x 18 x 72. (four shelves)
- 1 plywood sheet, 3/4 x 24 x 48. (top and bottom)
- 1 large plywood sheet, 1/2 x 48 x 48 (sides)
- 1 thin plywood sheet, 3/16 x 24 x 48 (divider)
- 16 small stainless steel brackets for the shelves
- 4 medium stainless steel brackets for the top
- 4 outside stainless steel brackets for the bottom
- 4 stainless steel casters
- Using a table saw, I cut the lumber. I cut grooves for the divider to sit in by setting the table saw at a depth of approx 1/4 inch and then running the boards over the blade twice. This was tricky and precise, but it worked out okay.
End of Day 1, roughly five hours to shop and cut.
Day 2: Bookshelf, assemble!
- Attach brackets to the top of the bookshelf, leaving room for the side shelves to rest on it. (Amateur error 1: I should have used a router (if I had one) to make the grooves on the top stop 1/4″ from the end so they aren’t visible peeking out on the final product, which they are.)
- Attach one side to brackets on top, put a little glue in the divider groove, put in the divider, put other side into place, flip and attach second side to top.
- Attach brackets to shelves, attach shelves to side board on the ground, flip over, attach shelves to the other side board.
- Turn unit to rest with top on the ground, attach bottom using outside brackets (Amateur error 2: I forgot to purchase screws short enough for these brackets, had to make a hardware store run; used the local place this time around..)
- Attach casters to the bottom. (Amateur error 3: I forgot to check that my newly purchased screws had wide enough heads to hold on the casters, they didn’t. Luckily, I found a cache of the right-sized screws, so I didn’t need to go to the hardware store again.)
Day 2 finished, roughly five more hours. And that’s it. Right now, its unfinished, but it matches the bookshelves in my office, which are also made from plywood and unfinished (though I put clear lacquer on them). Here it is, with both sides full of formerly-floor books, nestled into its alcove by the aquarium.
Because it rolls, I will keep one of the shelves at the top reserved for books being “currently used,” and just wheel it near to my desk for writing sessions. This should solve the book pile problem. Yay!