Design & Style
E-mail Article to a FriendPrint ArticleBookmark and Share

How to Build a Bookshelf

Expert DIY Tips from a Master Carpenter
Published: October 19, 2011
READING SPOT – A lot of natural light and a comfy chair make this corner the perfect spot to curl up with a good book. Eight-inch-wide oak timbers frame the large-book-capacity shelving under a cathedral ceiling. “Having the room proportional is crucial,” notes Johnny Miller of OakBridge Timber Framing in Ohio. In this case, “If it doesn’t feel right, you’re not going to sit there and read.”
Photo by OakBridge Timber Framing
Expert carpenter Gary Katz demonstrates techniques at trade shows and lumberyards across the country and writes how-to articles. Follow his tips for building a bookcase, and you’ll have an heirloom that your family can enjoy at the cabin for years to come.

  - If you want to stain the finished bookcase, use ¾-inch hardwood-veneer plywood. If you intend to paint, use birch-veneer plywood.

  - For paint-grade plywood, hide edge grain with poplar stiles, rails and nosings. To match stain-grade plywood veneer, use hardwood stiles, rails and nosings.

  - Make shelves permanent; don’t bother with adjustable shelves.

  - Accommodate most books by making shelves 10-½ inches high and 9-½ deep.

  - Shelves that are 12 inches high will keep your magazine issues off the floor.

  - Coffee table or art books require 14-inch-high shelves.

  - Fasten 32-inch-wide modular units together on site.

For more info, check out For Pros by Pros: Built-Ins and Storage.
Related Issues
Subscriber Only Content
Subscriber Only Content
Look for this icon. This denotes premium subscriber content.  Learn more »
Become a Member
Register online for access to more valuable resource information.
Don't miss your connection to the reader forums, projects, photo galleries, and more.
Subscriber and Member Login

Free Twice-Monthly E-Newsletter

Receive useful tips & inspiration from Cabin Life