Built-in Bookcases





Introduction: Built-in Bookcases

After measuring the room and calculating the size of each bookcase I ripped oak plywood down for all the sides and the 3 stationary pieces for the top, bottom and lower shelves. I built a jig for my router to make sure all the dados where consistent.

Step 1: Beginning Assembly

I made rabbits in the side walls, then glued and screwed the case together. Then I glued and nailed breadboard backing in place which helped make sure everything was square.

Step 2: Painting

Then came painting. I used a water based Acrylic-Alkyd paint on all surfaces. I wanted easy water clean up with a durable surface. If you use a latex paint, anything you place on it (books, frames, knickknacks) will stick to it.

Step 3: Connect the Dots.

I made the vertical end caps in two pieces so I could glue and screw them to each bookcase with a inch overhang and create a panel look for the fronts that could be nailed in place. This is also the point that I added the face plate to the top and bottom of each unit. then came the crown molding and base trim.

Step 4: Doors

I made the door frames out of poplar and the panel out of MDF. I made a jig so I could run the MDF upright with the blade set to the degree I needed. After running the MDF through the saw four times you are left with a beautiful panel look that can float in the rails and stiles of the door frames. Only glue the frame so that the door can expand and contract with temperature and humidity. Here is a photo of the Jig I made. All you do is rotate the piece to cut all four sides then I cut a rabbit on the back side to then out the edge.

Step 5: Shelves and Doors

I doubled up three quarter inch plywood for the shelves and trimmed it with poplar for a solid wood look. Used a hole templet for the shelf brackets ad attached all the doors to complete the project. There are electrical outlets located in two of the units for TV and other electronics.

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    Nice work they look like factory made how long did its take you? They have expensive look to them

    I believe a picture is worth a thousand words. With that being said, if there is any part that you cannot figure out, please ask. These bookcases where built for my specific needs and room dimensions so yours would definitely vary in some way or another.

    I was really hoping for actual instructions of some kind. Instead this is mostly "look what I did". Bummer.

    Thank You

    Your work is amazing. I've always wanted to have a library with shelves like the ones in your instructable. Once the kiddo moves to her own place, I will try to make her room into that library, presuming I am not in a nursing home by then. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Beautiful work. Unfortunately you lost me on how to make the raised panel jig in the instructions, but I'm sure I could figure it out. Looks like a lot of work and well worth it if you have the space.

    1 reply

    Sorry this has taken so long to post but I was out with food poisoning. Here is a picture of the Jig I made. I set it up quick to take the photo but you can see the cut. All you do is rotate the piece to cut all four sides.

    Very nicely done! Wonderful end result to be proud of, for sure!
    You have my vote.
    To satisfy my curiosity, does the row of built in cases also separate two rooms?
    Looks like you have similar crew labor costs as well. ?
    Again, nicely done!

    1 reply

    We have an eleven foot ceiling plus a seven inch step down in that room. There is a wall dividing two rooms with an arch pass through right at the eight foot level so the book cases are exactly eight feet high.

    Excellent work, these turned out fantastic. I've been wanting to do something similar for years, but it's always seemed so daunting. Thanks for sharing how you made yours :)

    This project turned out amazing! Love the detail of the crown molding.

    1 reply

    Thank You, I have done crown molding before but figuring out the doors and columns took some research.