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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking for a neat design for a bookshelf for a wall in my home, and I came across one that has stuck in my head and I think I'm crazy enough to at least try replicating it. Check this out: http://www.redesignrevolution.com/library-tree-branch-bookshelf-by-olivier-dolle/

The description there states that it is hollow and made from 80 pieces of veneered plywood. I've never worked with veneers, let alone built anything on this scale yet. I get that it should be hollow to reduce weight. Solid wood would be a monster. I would love to do it in the walnut color. Any advice on where to start? I'm thinking I'd want to start experimenting with some different materials. 1/4" birch plywood? Other kinds of plywood? Stain or veneer? Best way to join the "boxes" that make up the branches?

I love this design, but would want to get it right, both structurally and aesthetically. It will take some careful planning. Your thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I think the way I would do it would be to leave the face pieces until last. Make a "U" shaped configuration with a back, and you will have a way to install it to the wall.



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That's a great suggestion! I figured I'd use a bunch of keyholes in the back panels, but lining them up when mounting to the wall could be a real pain. I like your idea much better.
 

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Cabinetman's suggestion is a good one, although it seems that it would permanently mount the pieces to the wall. Another option is to leave the face pieces until last, and to use a French cleat system to attach it to the wall. You can arrange the French cleats before the face pieces get attached until you get just the fit you want and then attach the faces. This allows a secure mounting system but allows it to be easily removable.
 

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Cabinetman's suggestion is a good one, although it seems that it would permanently mount the pieces to the wall.
It would unless the face pieces over the fasteners were removable.

Another option is to leave the face pieces until last, and to use a French cleat system to attach it to the wall. You can arrange the French cleats before the face pieces get attached until you get just the fit you want and then attach the faces. This allows a secure mounting system but allows it to be easily removable.
It doesn't appear that there is sufficient horizontal areas that would support a french cleat system. With some planning and layout,these blind shelf supports would work and could be placed in fairly narrow areas. The framework could be made complete before installing.






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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm... I have another shelf mounted with a french cleat in my living room. It supports my rather large and heavy center channel speaker and is very sturdy. I really like that system, but I'm not sure it would work for this. As Cabinetman said, there isn't a lot of horizontal span with this. Too many books or something on an unsupported section could make it unstable without further mounting of some kind.

I like the blind shelf supports, but I still have to decide on what wood I will use to know if that would work. 1/4 plywood? 1/2 plywood? Not sure... What are your thoughts on materials? I stopped in the local Menard's yesterday and realized they carry more variety of plywood than I thought. Red oak, birch and even maple in any thickness. Some of the 1/4 stuff is veneered mdf. Any idea how that stuff holds up? Best way to join thin plywood?

So for mounting, I need to decide if it can be permanent or should be removable. I need to decide on the wood to use (all suggestions will be considered here), and then I need to draw up a plan and start making some sawdust.

Thanks guys, and keep the ideas rolling!
 

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2 thoughts on the French cleats - 1. they don't have to be perfectly level to securely hold the piece to the wall, especially when adjacent pieces butt against one another, and 2. French cleats don't have to run along the edge of the piece. For example, if you built a box but wanted to mount it diagonally on the wall, the French cleat could span across the corner and not run along the side of the box.

By being able to set up the French cleat system from the front of the box before attaching the front, you could get things aligned perfectly and the cleats attached to the wall in exactly the right spot. Once you attach the face to the project, each piece would hang in the precise location and orientation.
 

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My opinion isn't worth much, but why do you want to replicate HIS design? Take from it and develop your own. I saw at least 5 designs for me, that would fit for a wall.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX,
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My opinion isn't worth much, but why do you want to replicate HIS design? Take from it and develop your own. I saw at least 5 designs for me, that would fit for a wall.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX,
I searched the interwebs for a tree themed book shelf for a particular wall in my home and came across a design I like. I don't expect to replicate it, I want to use his design to create something that works for me. I don't have plans for it. I don't know how it is constructed. I opened the thread to get ideas and input for the biggest project I've decided to take on so far in my novice woodworking endeavors and learn from those with more experience than me. If I wasn't already thinking outside the box, I would have just bought one of his for $2400. (Okay, I don't have that kind of money for a dang bookshelf.)
 

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Hmm... I have another shelf mounted with a french cleat in my living room. It supports my rather large and heavy center channel speaker and is very sturdy. I really like that system, but I'm not sure it would work for this. As Cabinetman said, there isn't a lot of horizontal span with this. Too many books or something on an unsupported section could make it unstable without further mounting of some kind.

I like the blind shelf supports, but I still have to decide on what wood I will use to know if that would work. 1/4 plywood? 1/2 plywood? Not sure... What are your thoughts on materials? I stopped in the local Menard's yesterday and realized they carry more variety of plywood than I thought. Red oak, birch and even maple in any thickness. Some of the 1/4 stuff is veneered mdf. Any idea how that stuff holds up? Best way to join thin plywood?

So for mounting, I need to decide if it can be permanent or should be removable. I need to decide on the wood to use (all suggestions will be considered here), and then I need to draw up a plan and start making some sawdust.

Thanks guys, and keep the ideas rolling!
You could just use plywood for all of it. The back of the "U" could be ¾" ply of any species. The sides could be ¼" or ½" of the decorative plywood of your choice, and can be glued and pin nailed to the ¾" ply edge of the back of the "U". The inner frame skeleton could be any ply...like the back. Whatever your choice of exterior ply, The face of the shelf unit could be ¼". So, what you do is when you assemble the "U", add a small running cleat along the inside of the shell ¼" down from the edge. Your face plywood could be any ply. Once glued in place the top of the ply will be flush with the sides (sand flat). Then you could apply a "peel and stick veneer" (pressure sensitive adhesive...PSA, veneer). Or, you could use a paper back veneer and a solvent based contact cement. Then just file off the edges, and it's a clean assembly.

Note: Before gluing the face ply on, and I'm recommending using the blind shelf supports, arrange for the holes in the back for mounting the unit on to the supports.






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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the suggestions! I have some 1/2 and 3/4 cheap plywood that I will begin experimenting with in the next week or so.

Anyone know of a good source for veneers? This will be quite a bit of surface area to cover. I was thinking walnut or maybe mahogany. Did a spot check at Rockler's website and see that this could really add up in cost. I haven't set a budget for this yet, but will take any money saving advice on where to find quality veneers at good prices. Thanks in advance!
 
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