This simple bookcase system was customized to make better use of an area under the stairs.
Before You Begin
Step 1: Attach the Top to One Side
Step 2: Position the Shelves
Step 3: Attach the Remaining Side
Step 4: Fix the Base
Step 5: Attach the Back
Add Step 6: Paint
Written by Ed Frendo
As far as shelving goes, it doesn't get simpler than this. Alter the dimensions to suit your space. As for any project that requires identical sizes, have pieces cut by a cabinet-maker or sheet material supplier. Since there are only two different shelf spacings, use spacer blocks to save on repetitious measuring.
Usually the highest shelves are at the base for sturdiness but, because the big books are sometimes the best looking and most-often used, these shelves alternate between 9 1/2-in. and 13-in. and are fixed for strength. The tallest unit is 85-in., the middle is 61-in., then 37-in.. To keep the cost down, the units are made from 3/4-in., but if you use a thicker wood, they could be slightly wider. Make it easy on the eye by designing the shelves of each unit to line up. Finish them in a bright, reflective color to lighten the area.
Round over all edges using a router with a 1/8-in. roundover bit. Screw and glue the top piece to one side with #8 x 2-in. screws, ensuring the top is flush with the top edge of the end. Use the 9 1/2-in. spacer to attach the first shelf.
Screw and glue the next shelf in position, using the 13-in. spacer between the two, ensuring the shelf is firmly set against the spacer block. Repeat using the 9 1/2-in. spacer for the bottom shelf.
Rotate the cabinet on the workbench and attach the other side, gluing and screwing shelves into place. For accurate positioning use the corresponding spacer blocks, beginning from the top shelf and working down.
Screw and glue the base into position. Set it back 3/16-in. from the front edge of the bottom shelf. Glue an offcut of timber behind the base to stop it flexing in the middle.
Flip the cabinet over onto the face and attach the 1/2-in. back with #6 x 1 1/4-in.. Start by working down one side then across the top to ensure the cabinet remains square.
Paint inside, face and sides with an interior primer or wall undercoat. If you don't intend to paint the backs, at least paint along the top of the backing board where it's visible from the stairs. Use a spray paint, brush or roller two coats of paint on the sides. If the units will be full (rather than housing ornaments) one coat inside is enough.
© 2012 Reiman Media Group, LLC.