Redwood and mdf bookcases - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 Old 08-11-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 353
View Howard Ferstler's Photo Album My Photos
Redwood and mdf bookcases

Normally, I do not do much large-scale woodworking in the summertime.

I live in north Florida, and my shop is small and so I do a lot of work out on an adjacent work deck, and so the heat and humidity (and sometimes quick-growing summertime showers) can put a damper on projects. I can do work in the air-conditioned shop, and that is what I partially did with the bookcases that I decided to take a chance and build during the hot, humid season. There were times when I was wondering if I had made the right timing choice.

A retired professor friend of mine is ending his hobby with model trains, and so he is selling them off and also selling off hundreds of feet of redwood display shelving that he put up in 1980. I purchased 260 feet (at a buck a foot), and probably will purchase more down the line, as I come up with the available storage space. He still has about 600 feet of this now rare wood.

Anyway, the tops and bottoms of the bookcases are double thick, with the visible surfaces .75-inch redwood, with the layer underneath being mdf. Edge-trim moldings are redwood also; 0.75 inches thick. The sides are double-thick (1.5 inches) mdf, and the shelves are 0.75 inch mdf. The redwood was given a fast stain job with Minwax red oak (fast, because waiting too long for the stain to soak in makes the stuff turn almost black), and the top clearcoat was Minwax spray-on satin lacquer. In most of my past projects (some of which are related on this site) I used Minwax poly varnish, but that stuff dries slow, and I appreciate the speed with which lacquer dries and can be recoated. The visible results are about the same, and the decreased durability of the lacquer (compared to poly) is no big deal with bookcases.

The side panels and shelves were given three coats of Rustoleum dark walnut satin spray, with two more coats of Rustoleum gloss clear coat. (Home Depot does not carry the dark walnut in glossy.) The result was pretty good, although it is a job to get the edges of mdf sanded decently smooth. The front edges of the sides were covered with beveled redwood trim strips. The style of the bookcases matches that of an audio equipment cabinet I built for the same room a while back, which was also reported about on this site. For the cabinet, however, I used cedar instead of redwood, which looks surprisingly similar once stained.

The side panels of the bookcases have their outer layer solid mdf, with the inner second layer done in sections that left grooves for the mdf shelves to fit into. The shelves are held in place by Kreg pocket screws and PL construction adhesive. The tops are held in place by Kreg screws and PL adhesive, and the bottoms are held in place with conventional screws from below, also with PL adhesive. Bottom standoff boards, doubled at 1.5-inches thick, and somewhat smaller in width and depth than the redwood bottoms, are edge painted in black and affixed to the bottoms of the units to allow the redwood bottoms to "float" above the floor.

I calculate that the bookcases (the tall ones are 48 inches high, 44 wide; and the middle one is 60 inches wide and 36 high) weigh in at 130 pounds each. Because of this, I did not assemble them out in my shop, but instead brought the individual, cut and finished (and properly sized) boards into my AV room and did the final assembly work there - just like a kit. The shop lacks the space for assembly, anyway, and if I got some "volunteers" to help schlep them to the house they would probaby get dinged up. The backs of each unit are 18-inch masonite sheets, painted dark walnut, and brad-nailed and glued not only to the tops, bottoms, and sides, but also to each shelf. Even without the back panels the units were absolutely rigid, but with the panels in place they are bulletproof.

The TV on top of the middle one is a 56 incher (for a size reference) and those tall things in front of the bookcases are speaker systems that I built (and reported about on this site) a while back. Those are finished in pine, and a future project will involving pulling the components out of them and giving them a thick redwood covering job to get them to match the style of the bookcases.

Note that the left and right ends of the bookshelf array on that wall (the corners) are empty. I am currently building tall (about 58 inches, 14 inches in diameter), cylinder-style subwoofers to fit into those areas. (I built even taller ones for my main music system a while back, and I reported on that project at that time; these new ones will be a similar design.) Once complete, I am hoping to have me a good-looking arrangement at that end of the room.

I would say that the project cost me about $400, which is considerably less than what it would cost to buy similar bookcases from a place like Wood You and have somebody do the final finishing work. Overall, the bookcases do what I want (give me more shelf space) and most importantly, my wife likes them.

Howard Ferstler
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2012, August, home-built bookcases.jpg
Views:	795
Size:	97.1 KB
ID:	49159  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2012, August, bookcases (detail).jpg
Views:	346
Size:	94.7 KB
ID:	49160  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2012, August, bookcases (detail 2).jpg
Views:	313
Size:	83.2 KB
ID:	49161  

Howard Ferstler is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 08-14-2012, 02:22 AM
Making sawdust in MS
rayking49's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Ms
Posts: 4,000
View rayking49's Photo Album My Photos
Looks very good. Once you get your speakers wrapped, it will look even better.
rayking49 is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 08-14-2012, 03:41 PM
Senior Member
mat 60's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Readfield ME
Posts: 449
View mat 60's Photo Album My Photos
Thay do look very good..ITs a good day when the wife is happy.
mat 60 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 5 Old 08-26-2012, 11:10 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 20
View Greg_D_R's Photo Album My Photos
Howard, as a home theater guy, I appreciate your room. Great job!
Greg_D_R is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 08-27-2012, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 353
View Howard Ferstler's Photo Album My Photos
Originally Posted by Greg_D_R View Post
Howard, as a home theater guy, I appreciate your room. Great job!
Thanks for the complement. The subwoofers are complete, by the way. There is an article by me on this site about their construction, but here is a new photo of the room as it now is. I guess what we have now are subwoofers as an art form.

The next project will involving putting a 5/8 inch thick veneer of redwood over those existing front speakers to get them to artisticallly match the looks of the bookcases and subwoofers.

Howard Ferstler
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Bedroom two, 2012, Aug, front wall, wide.jpg
Views:	481
Size:	88.9 KB
ID:	49853  

Howard Ferstler is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Built-in Bookcases liquid6 Design & Plans 11 01-08-2013 01:55 AM
Our new redwood bike. Made from reclaimed urban redwood grape stakes. Semantics General Woodworking Discussion 23 12-09-2011 11:23 PM
Bookcases JAKESCHS.COM Project Showcase 6 12-04-2010 06:23 PM
Bookcases and Cabinets AndersonsWoodworks Project Showcase 10 01-12-2010 09:15 AM
Oak Bookcases, how much? bsharding1982 General Woodworking Discussion 2 02-29-2008 03:35 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome