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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I just moved into a house about a year ago, and I'm finally getting around to some more cosmetic/leisure projects. The advent of Pinterest has also catalyzed the whole process. My wife has commissioned me to build a bookshelf in our formal living room. I have never built anything before, bookshelves included. There are so many guides online in regard to building shelves, but I have so many particulars, it's hard to know which one is best for my situation. I'd love any insight you could provide or any resources you could link me to.

The Job:

- Stand alone bookshelves covering nearly the whole wall (140w x 108h). It won't be one big shelf, but rather split up into three sections, most likely. We're open to different plans and looks, but we like more asymmetrical looks.
- The backing will be assembled with pallet boards to provide a rustic look
- The shelving boards will be painted white, so there's no need for a wood that stains nicely.

The Tools:

- Circular saw, sander, hammer, drill, workbench, ratchets

Considerations:

- We like cost efficiency, but we don't want to sacrifice quality. If the tradeoff is worth it, we'll spend more.
- I have minimal knowledge of woodworking and minimal equipment
- I have people who can loan tools or help me once I have an idea of what I'm doing, so I may be able to do a little more than basics if I'm pointed towards an idea.

The Questions:

- What sort of plan would look decent but could be done by someone in my position? We're going for a rustic look, so it doesn't have to be a stained, ornate shelf.
- What sort of wood should we use? We don't need a nice staining wood, but we want a wood that won't have too many issues warping, that will hold up to use, is sturdy, yet is cost effective.
- What other tools would I need to borrow/purchase to make this happen?

Thanks in advance for all your help!
 

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John
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3,028 Posts
My wife and I just moved into a house about a year ago, and I'm finally getting around to some more cosmetic/leisure projects. The advent of Pinterest has also catalyzed the whole process. My wife has commissioned me to build a bookshelf in our formal living room. I have never built anything before, bookshelves included. There are so many guides online in regard to building shelves, but I have so many particulars, it's hard to know which one is best for my situation. I'd love any insight you could provide or any resources you could link me to.

The Job:

- Stand alone bookshelves covering nearly the whole wall (140w x 108h). It won't be one big shelf, but rather split up into three sections, most likely. We're open to different plans and looks, but we like more asymmetrical looks.
- The backing will be assembled with pallet boards to provide a rustic look
- The shelving boards will be painted white, so there's no need for a wood that stains nicely.

The Tools:

- Circular saw, sander, hammer, drill, workbench, ratchets

Considerations:

- We like cost efficiency, but we don't want to sacrifice quality. If the tradeoff is worth it, we'll spend more.
- I have minimal knowledge of woodworking and minimal equipment
- I have people who can loan tools or help me once I have an idea of what I'm doing, so I may be able to do a little more than basics if I'm pointed towards an idea.

The Questions:

- What sort of plan would look decent but could be done by someone in my position? We're going for a rustic look, so it doesn't have to be a stained, ornate shelf.
- What sort of wood should we use? We don't need a nice staining wood, but we want a wood that won't have too many issues warping, that will hold up to use, is sturdy, yet is cost effective.
- What other tools would I need to borrow/purchase to make this happen?

Thanks in advance for all your help!
Hi Bj - Welcome to the forum.:icon_smile:
Given your stated level of expertise and list of tools available, and at the risk of irritating some other members, take a look here:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL037C5E74BBE4AC7A
Not my favorite method but likely offers the best chance of success given what you have available. In addition to the pocket hole jig required to go this way, I would also suggest investing in a router to add the detail touches; softening edges, adding decorative features, etc.
To go that high, you will need to look into a way of attaching those things to the wall, whether single units 9ft:eek: tall or shorter, stacked units. Something like that is going to be HEAVY and lethal should it fall.
Good Luck :smile:
 

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You can use poplar if you want a good paint grade hardwood, or you can find pine at a big box store of sufficient width that you won't need to do glue ups of panels.

You won't need any more tooling if you keep it simple, it is just a matter of what design decisions you want to make. If you want ogees or roundovers you'll want a router, but if everything is square you can do without.

Traditional joinery will require more tooling, or you can get a Kreg jig, or if you want to buy almost nothing you can just screw butt joints and plug or fill them before painting.

A bookshelf can be as simple or as complicated as you want, its pretty open ended.
 

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I actually just got done with this type of build. I am just a guy with a hobby and enjoy building things around the house. As you outlined, I have very similar tools. In the link, I built the whole project with a circular, drill, miter saw, compressor/nail gun and a router. However, the whole job could have been built without a router and the miter saw. Have a look.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/built-bookcases-47762/
 

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You will also need a good Tri-Square for making accurate crosscuts with the Circular saw. a couple of 6" "F" clamps would be good too!
A simple butt joint shelving unit could be fabricated using the wood from pallets and some drywall screws. Something like this...

 
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