Is this possible?

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woodywoodpecker

New User
Wood Woodpecker
I am new to wood working and have done small projects (simple side table, etc) so far. My wife really liked a simple contemporary book shelf at a retail furniture store that was about 1200 bucks! We cant afford that so I am attempting to build this myself. Attached is a sketchup image for the plan that I developed.
http://devang.com/images/zplan.jpg
I am not sure if this can be built sturdily. I need experts on this forum to comment on the structural design of this and if this needs more support?

I plan to use 2 inch by 12 inch white wood for this project. Wife wants a dark walnut finish on this.

Recommendations on lighter wood or materials to use are most certainly welcome.
 

woodywoodpecker

New User
Wood Woodpecker
Image added in thread.

zplan.jpg
 

Canuck

Wayne
Corporate Member
I think that you would be ok depending upon the type of joinery you use.

I can see myself cutting a dado in the vertical piece (middle) to support the middle of each horizontal shelf. For the butt joints you could do shallow mortise and tenon, dowels or just pocket screws with yellow glue.

If you are going to stain it, how about getting some 5/4 red oak ?

Lastly. I am not sure that I would want pile a ten year subscription to National Geo graphics or many encyclopedias on it. Watch the weight!

Interesting design there though.:icon_thum

Wayne
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
Looks like a good project. For joinery, mitered full blind dovetails would be nice :slap:

Seriously, with the center support there just about any corner joints would work. Dados in the back support would be good if you were going to put books or other heavy stuff on the shelves. If it's going to be for small items I'd just screw it from the back.

I'd use something other than "white wood". If your wife wants a walnut finish why not just make it out of walnut. There are sources here that can fix you up at a reasonable price. If the budget is really tight I'd suggest poplar.
 

dlrion

New User
Dan
+1 on using real good hardwood for this and not "White Wood" I hope you aren't referring to pine, because it will come apart really easy. Use a good strong wood... Walnut is one of my favorites.
 
T

toolferone

I see that the shelves are 12" deep. The dado in the back board will help with alignment, but I would look at having the shelves each mounted to the wall for strength. The shelves look thick too, so maybe a light torsion box design would help with weight, strength and design.

I do really like the free floating design.
 

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason
Without that board on the back, I wouldn't trust that design, but with that, if you're putting a bunch of screws in it, I think you'll be fine. I would screw that back board into a stud too, maybe use some kind of spacers to make up for the space of the baseboard without tilting the shelf (if applicable). :thumbs_up:thumbs_up
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
++1 for the suggestions to use dado's and screws in the vertical back support and a very good hardwood. Personally, I think something like this would look good in naturally finished cherry, but not w/ a dark stain.

Second point: have you considered making the shelves a little shallower than 12"? If this is primarily for books, I think you'll find that most hardcovers are only about 8-9", so a 10" shelf works well. That would reduce the weight of each shelf a little.

Good luck w/ the project, and of course we want to see pics of the building process and the finished product. :gar-La;

Bill
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
+1 on the dadoes. For wide shelves, I'd maybe add some screws from the back as well. For the butt joints, dowels or biscuits would work well. Material-wise, I think cherry or walnut would be your best choice, but it's not something you can usually get fully surfaced. I've seen some beautiful results by using poplar and a medium brown stain. You can get poplar at Home Depot or Lowe's, it machines well, and it's not too expensive.

Think about how you're going to fasten it to the wall. If you plan to simply screw the vertical piece into the stud, make something to cover up those holes afterward, and apply the same finish as the rest of the piece. Or, use something contrasting to make them stand out.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
I would.......[guessing 3/4" material] dado out 3/8" where the shelves intersect the back on both the back and the shelves. this locks it all together. then I would close in the right top and bottom sections. the free floating ends are the weakest parts. I would use either a lock miter or a drawer lock bit for the shelves to keep it free of mechanical fasteners. this also limits or eliminates the end grain showing. I may consider using miters and biscuits but I think the lock miter would add a bit more strength and also add character to the design. each shelf would then be supported from either the top or the bottom or both. If you have the skill set you may also try through dovetails.:icon_thum
 

jmauldin

New User
Jim
I agree that supporting the shelves is essential, and the use of hardwood like oak or walnut would be the best, possibly making them 4/4 or even 5/4. As to supporting the shelves with dados, why not use half-lap joints? It seems to me that this would make the joint even stronger and more stable.
Jim in Mayberry
 

Dutchman

New User
Buddy
++1 for the suggestions to use dado's and screws in the vertical back support and a very good hardwood. Personally, I think something like this would look good in naturally finished cherry, but not w/ a dark stain.

Second point: have you considered making the shelves a little shallower than 12"? If this is primarily for books, I think you'll find that most hardcovers are only about 8-9", so a 10" shelf works well. That would reduce the weight of each shelf a little.

Good luck w/ the project, and of course we want to see pics of the building process and the finished product. :gar-La;

Bill

I agree with Bill. Go shallower if possible. Miters will give you more of the contemporary look she wants. Also agree with Bill on not being sure about a dark stain on this design.
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
My wife really liked a simple contemporary book shelf at a retail furniture store that was about 1200 bucks!

Thats how I got started into woodworking. I have a garage full of tools now and an almost empty house with no furniture :rotflm:

Guess it doesn't help that most of what I build I consider practice and give to my parents, hehe.
 

gator

George
Corporate Member
I'm not sure that I can explain this so that it will be understood, but here goes. I agree that any significant amount of weight on the shelves will pull them out of dados or even tend to pull screws out (if screwed through the back support). I would somehow try to drill through the back support and into the edge of the shelves about 6 inches or more and run a pair of steel rods through the back support and into the shelves.

George
 

woodywoodpecker

New User
Wood Woodpecker
Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. The bookshelf will hold primarily small decorative pieces and not actual books. I am thinking about reducing the width of the shelf to 8 or 10 inches.

Can someone recommend where I can get walnut boards at a reasonable price locally?
 

Dean Maiorano

New User
Dino
+1 on the torsion box design.

Two good reasons to consider the TBD are the potential to use hidden wall mountings and possibly cheaper material costs. You could use a hardwood veneer plywood, there are numerous options and sources available.
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A torsion box blow-up diagram:

torsionboxshelf.jpg


That diagram is from this site (where you'll find plans/instructions):

http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com/page.asp?p=705
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A picture of another torsion box shelving plan, similar to the one you seek to construct:

torsionboxshelf2.jpg


That picture is from this site (where you'll find plans/instructions):

http://aw.staging.imagemark.net/blogs/projects/archive/2008/09/12/Torsion-box-Shelves.aspx
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If you use the second torsion box design (or something based on it), you can still utilize the vertical components, either as a full height band (with dadoes, etc.) OR as spacers that are individually the height of the space between the shelves, where they'll fit snugly as either an actual structural (weight bearing) component or simply as a decorative element. They could be jointed into the torsion boxes as well, your call as to how complicated you want the design to be. In such a design alternative you can screw the vertical component(s) to the wall or to the shelf, depending on how you're intending their function (load bearing vs. embellishment).

Good Luck,

Dean
 
T

toolferone

+1 on the torsion box design.
Two good reasons to consider the TBD are the potential to use hidden wall mountings and possibly cheaper material costs. You could use a hardwood veneer plywood, there are numerous options and sources available.
Dean

Thanks Dean for pulling the data together.
 

Dean Maiorano

New User
Dino
No problem, I love offering advice from my experience and researching for another's benefit. Frankly, it's helping me renew and deepen my own skill level and knowledge base. Anything for a fellow wood wrecker...I mean worker.
 
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