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Picture of Bookshelf (Design by Strooom)
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Books are heavy, and as a result lots of bookshelves bend.
Also, most bookshelves stand on the floor, making them not so stable, dirt collects behind them, and cleaning the floor is difficult.
Standing on the floor many books are not at eye-height, which is not ergonomic either.

So I decided to design a bookshelf which would :
  1. be strong enough to not bend, even when fully loaded with heavy books
  2. be hung to the wall, so it would be more ergonomic and easier to clean
  3. have no screws or fittings visible in order to keep the minimalistic design
As it turns out, this bookshelf is not hard to build, and it's dimensions can be easily adjusted to really fit the wall you have available.

This instructable is in the furniture contest, so if you like it, please vote ! Thanks
 
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Step 1: Concept explained

Picture of Concept explained
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The bookshelf consists of 3 types of parts :
  1. Wooden 'hooks' which are attached to the wall with plugs and screws/bolts. I used 3 hooks per side (so a total of 6). Each 'hook' is attached to the wall with 2 screws/bolts.  These 'hooks' and their screws/bolts are carrying the whole weight of the bookshelf, so you should dimension them right for the job. I took 8mm bolts
  2. 2 Sides : left and right are symmetrical (identical but mirrored). The sides are 'hooked' upon the hooks mentioned above
  3. A number of shelves, 5 in my case. They are all identical. They fit between the two sides.
You could change the dimensions as follows :
  1. make the sides higher or shorter, depending on your ceiling height. I kept ~40cm of space around the bookshelf. My ceiling is 265 cm, So I made it 180cm high
  2. make the shelves shorter/longer. Mine are 155cm, but you could take any length... (see last section)
  3. vary the number of shelves. I took 5, but you could easily make more or less shelves. You need one at the top, and one at the bottom. All the remaining shelves are evenly distributed vertically.
  4. change the depth : I took 30cm as this fits most books, but If you build it for pocket size books, or CDs/DVDs/BRs, you could make it (eg) 15 cm deep instead

Step 2: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools
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note : Dimensions below will yield a bookshelf that is 1800mm high, 1550mm wide and 300 mm deep.
Using the Sketchup model (included below), you can resize it to your needs.

Materials :
1. partlist for the sides (the 2 sides are symmetrical)
  • 4 pieces 1781.4 mm * 290.7 mm * 18 mm Blockwood. This blockwood has one side with a quality veneer, Oak in my case.
  • 5 m of 32 mm * 32 mm wood, eg. pine
  • 5 m of 70mm * 9.3 mm solid wood, Oak in my case. This kind of wood is available from wooden floor shops.
2. partlist for the shelves (the 5 shelves are identical)
  • 10 pieces of 1414 mm * 290.7 mm * 18 mm Blockwood
  • 14 m of 32 mm * 32 mm wood, eg pine
  • 8 m of 70mm * 9.3 mm solid wood, Oak in my case. This kind of wood is available from wooden floor shops.
12 Screws 8mm * 100mm (for mounting the hooks to the wall). You may need to select appropriate screws depending on the type of wall

12 wall plugs

Tools :

Router with bits
Sander
Clamps
Drill



Cost :
  • The blockwood costs ~ euro 40 / $ 50 for a 122*244 cm panel, and you will need 2
  • The solid 'floor' wood costs ~ euro 40 / $ 50 per m2, and you will need about 0.8 m2
  • The wood use for spacers and hooks is rather cheap, lets say euro 20 / $ 25
  • Bolts/ plugs / other : euro 20 / $ 25

So the total cost is about euro 160 / $ 200

Step 3: Google Sketchup model

Here is a (Google) Sketchup model that allows you to examine and modify the Bookshelf. 

SketchUp is free 3D software which is really powerful and easy to use !
If you like woodworking, you should try SketchUp.
Many tutorials are available, especially in the podcast arena. 

Step 4: Building the parts : 1. Hooks

Picture of Building the parts : 1. Hooks
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  1. Cut 6 identical pieces of 30 cm long from the 32mm* 100mm wood
  2. Then cut each piece in half under a 45 degree angle : this will yield 6 sets of 2 pieces each : one to attach to the wall, and one to go inside the 'sides'
  3. Using a drill press, drill the holes for the screws/bolts : MY bolts are 8mm * 100mm, so I drilled two holes of 8mm all the way through.
  4. Depending on the length of the screws/bolts, you will need to 'sink in' the screws. I used 8 mm * 100mm bolts : they stay 50mm in the wood, and 50 mm in the wall, so after drilling a 8 mm hole, all the way through, I drilled a 16mm hole, 50mm deep only. This can be done best with a so-called Forstner drill-bit (see image below)
  5. You may want to sand and/or round of the hooks that will go on the wall a bit at their front side. This way it will be easier to slide the 'side' panels over them when assembling the bookshelf.

Step 5: Building the parts : 2. Sides

Each side consists of 2 blockwood panels, some solid wood-strip and 3 halves of the hooks from previous step
  1. Put one blockwood panel (1781.4mm * 290.3 mm), face-down (ie the nice Oak side down) on your working table. Protect underside if needed to avoid damaging the wood.
  2. Glue the 3 matching parts of the hooks onto it. 'Dents' need to be facing 'down'
  3. Glue 32mm * 32mm wood strips at the other 3 sides, they function as a spaces. it's easiest to keep these strips 5 mm to the inside of the panel.
  4. Glue the second blockwood panel, face-up onto it. Align both panels so that they are exactly on top of each other.
  5. Glue two 290.3 mm long strips of Oak (70mm * 9.3 mm) to the top and bottom of each side. Check that the front of the side is now all flat. (use sander or router to remove excess if needed)
  6. Glue a 1800mm long strip of Oak to the front.
  7. Use a router with flush bit to remove the excess of the front, bottom and top strips
  8. Cut 5 pieces of 270mm * 32 * 32 and glue + screw them to the inner side of each side. These will be the guides carrying the shelves. If you round of the from side of these guides, sliding on the shelves will be easier. Warning : until now both sides were identical. In this step, the left and right side are no longer identical : the guides need to go on the right for one and the left for the other side.
  9. Oil everything with wood oil.

Step 6: Building the parts : 3.Shelves

Picture of Building the parts : 3.Shelves
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Very similar as the sides :

  1. Put one blockwood panel face-down
  2. Glue two 32 mm spacers onto it
  3. Glue the second blockwood panel onto it, face-up, check alignment
  4. Glue the front strip
  5. Remove the excess front strip with the router and a flsuh-routing bit
  6. Oil with wood-oil

Step 7: Assembly

1. Attaching the hooks to the wall :

Attaching the hooks to the wall is the most difficult part : the position of all 6 needs to be right :
  • the hooks need to align on a vertical line, if not, you will have difficulty sliding the sides over it.
  • the hooks need to aligned on a horizontal line, if not your bookshelf will not end up level
  • the hooks need to be spaced correctly, or not all 6 hooks will carry a load.
So take your time, and double check all drill positions. It is ok to draw some lines on the wall with the center lines for drilling etc, as all these lines will be hidden by the bookshelf later on.

Tip 1 : drill a hole (same diameter as the holes you intend to drill) in a small piece of plyboard. Then position this plyboard with its hole at the exact location of where you are going to drill into the wall. This will prevent your drill from 'running away' from the exact location.

Tip 2 : tape a small plastic bag below the to-be-drilled hole with painters-tape. This will catch most of the stone-dust
Insert plugs and mount the 6 blocks to the wall


Insert plugs (use best quality plugs), And screw/bolt the hooks to the wall. Make sure the each hook is perpendicular to the wall and floor.

2. Hang the 2 sides to the wall :
Slide each size over the hooks. Use a rubber hammer (and some protection piece of wood) to bring it close to the wall and all the way down.


3. Slide the 5 shelves into place :
Start with the bottom and top shelves, then add the middle ones.

Step 8: Ready

Picture of Ready
This is really fun : moving your favourite books in...
Click the image to view the animation.. :-)

Step 9: Making it Better

This bookshelf could be even further improved with the following ideas :
  1. Add lights : due to the hollow nature and the design, it is easy to add some LED lights into the shelves. This could be done with traditional spotlights, or with the more fancy LED strips.
  2. If you make really long shelves (>3m - > 10ft) I would advise to support this with some extra 'hooks' which are attached onto the wall. (horizontal hooks, this time)
  3. Put your stereo equipment in it and use the shelves ans sides to hide all cables
  4. You could cut a groove in the front strips, which wold allow to slide glass panels in, making this shelve a display case.
teotsin2 years ago
Although this might seem like a work demanding solution at first, I think the idea is brilliant, in the sence that it solves ongoing bookshelf problems and is very minimalistic.
Very well done and thank you for sharing this. It certainly is professional work
strooom (author)  teotsin2 years ago
I'm glad you saw the simplicity and flexibility of this design !
Indeed 'Less is More (<=>)' was my design goal here.
zbrannigan1 year ago
Really nice work, top craftsmanship
HollyMann2 years ago
It looks beautiful - high quality! Great job!
Sequimania2 years ago
Nice instructable. This method can also be used to hang headboards onto the wall instead of bolting them to the bed frame. It provides great support for heavy headboards - upholstered, reclaimed wood, vintage doors.
samawajeeh2 years ago
nice bookshelf
lasherza2 years ago
Stunning Stunning Stunning!!! - Going to definately give this a try.... ( no carpentry skills i say sheepishly )...
agis682 years ago
greate and simple in desgn....thnx
vincent75202 years ago
Great and a very nice design.

But do NOT fix these shelves on a sheetrock wall !!!… ;D
wolflore2 years ago
Beautiful shelving! Just what I need. Can you give an idea of the materials cost?
strooom (author)  wolflore2 years ago
I've added a cost estimate to the Instructable
chuckyd2 years ago
The look is great and the instructable is well defined.

I offer a suggestion that would make hanging the shelf a little simpler and require less precision. One of the oldest methods of mounting things to a wall is a French cleat. The cleat consists of two parts only, and they can be ripped from a single piece of lumber. The lumber needs to be as long as the shelf is wide, or a little less. I usually use a strip of 1x4, which actually measures 3/4"x3 1/2", or about 20 mm x 88 mm. Rip the lumber down the length at a 45 degree angle. Level and screw one piece to the wall studs with the angle pointing down into the wall. Screw the other piece to the back of the shelf at the top, with the angle pointing up towards the front of the shelf. This method is more forgiving and is more secure than screwing the wood to the Sheetrock.

Also, a rule of thumb for shelf span is that 4 feet is about as far part as supports can be before sagging takes place. This is an average and will depend on wood species and thickness. Man made wood products, such as particle board have about half the span capacity as solid hardwoods.
strooom (author)  chuckyd2 years ago
Hi, I was not aware of something like a French cleat, but after googling images, I can say that this design is in fact using a hidden French cleat : the French cleat is inside and integrated into the bookshelf sides. Instead of running long horizontally, here it is done in 6 short ones. But the mechanism is definitely the same.
ginbum chuckyd2 years ago
Love using a french clete, though it would be exposed in this shelf design. Stephen
chuckyd ginbum2 years ago
It can be a part of the design.
Dale_D2 years ago
This is really nice and well done! Congrats on a great project!
ginbum2 years ago
What a simple, elegant design. Very nice concept. i will be trying this for sure. Stephen
MsJaxFla2 years ago
I think that is the most beautiful bookshelf I have ever seen! And just a genius design. Great job designing and building it. Wow, just WOW!
pantalone2 years ago
This is beautiful work, and looks very strong.
smmiller5062 years ago
If I understand this correctly, you aren't installing this into studs, just the drywall hanging on the studs. Can I suggest bolting this into studs for more strength? I personally wouldn't want the drywall to accidentally rip off...
strooom (author)  smmiller5062 years ago
In my loft there are no drywalls, the walls are all brick and mortar and they are 70cm thick. So strong enough to bolt whatever onto them...
If you hang this onto a drywall, you definitely need to bolt this to the studs.