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mnp13 03-31-2012 09:55 AM

Please help me with my built-in book shelves!
Ok, I'm in somewhat of a "crunch time" now, and I need some guidance on how to put this all together.

First - please don't advise that I go get a book. The round trip to purchase one is well over an hour and I'd don't have the extra time right now. Unless there is one specific one that I can call in and have waiting for my husband to pick up on the way home.

Second - please don't second guess the project. That really doesn't help me.


My upstairs hallway is getting a built in! YAY! Now, I'm not sure exactly how to assemble it. It will be eight feet wide, with fixed shelves, shelf depth gets smaller as they get higher, nine foot ceilings.

I have tongue and groove bead board for the back, and the current plan is to put strips of moulding under the shelves in the back and on the sides for support.

I was planning to divide it into three sections, three feet, two feet, three feet. Here's where I'm not sure what the best practice is: The vertical boards that will divide the sections - is it better to cut the shelves and attach to the sides, or cut a groove in the vertical and the shelf and slide them together to make a + ??


woodworkbykirk 03-31-2012 01:34 PM

if you want the shelves to be fixed definitely dado them. it makes for a much stronger joint than simply butting them into the gables (sides)

are the 3 units fitting into a recess or just getting fastened to the wall behind. if their fitting into a recess i would make the two end units slightly less than 3' just incase the space is out of square or not perfect which will make it harder to install. once in simply put a peice of trim on the edges to hide the gap

mnp13 03-31-2012 03:35 PM

They are on a flat wall, I'm working on the bead board right now.

oh'mike 03-31-2012 05:35 PM

Do you have the tools to make a dado?

Like Kirk suggested--It is easier to build as three seperate sections--for handling --clamping and installing.

mnp13 03-31-2012 06:03 PM

I actually have a dado set, I've never used it, but the directions and everything are in it - inherited it from Grandpa so it's ancient, but looks brand new.

They actually aren't three separate sections horizontally, though they are basically four separate vertically, since they step back in size every two shelves.

I'm almost done with the bead board, that would be complete but I need an extra set of hands because one of the boards is badly warped; I need to wait for my husband to get home.

Tomorrow I'm going to start on the cabinet base and then the shelves.

woodworkbykirk 03-31-2012 06:32 PM

if i have to dado on site i just use my 1 - 3/4 hp router with a 3/4 straight cut bit and a site built jig that clamps down where the dado needs to be. this has suit me just fine in many occasions. the only thing i have to do is do it in a couple of passes as trying to take out 1/4 of stock is too much for the bit, it will burn up the bit in no time. i tried doing it with a laminate trimmer but 1/4 shank bits are too small and a small router like that doesnt have the power to do such a task and it wants to wander

ktkelly 04-01-2012 02:21 PM

Not a fan of fixed shelves...

I would much rather use shelf pins and have the shelves be adjustable. That way if you decide to have some larger items at some time, you would be able to. Also a cleaner look than having cleats on the sides and back.

If you go 3-2-3, you may want to use a double 3/4" plywood shelf with a MDF facing. That should give you less chance of a sag with a 30+" wide shelf.

mnp13 09-03-2014 01:59 PM

Hello ancient thread! I actually mostly finished this project. It's still waiting on the doors, but the books are up.

Yes, the corner supports look crappy, but they mostly disappear now that they are painted to match. Eventually they will be replaced, but that's down the road a bit.|

First thing on them was 10 years of This Old House!

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