Introduction: Bungee Cord Book Shelf
Enter the Bungee Cord Book Shelf! Apart from it's outer storage of books, the unique feature of this shelf is the flexible lower level which can change to accommodate different sizes and amounts of books. The individual wood slats help to hold the books in place.
I made some wooden ties for my boys a year or two ago, and I have had lots of leftover bungee cord ever since. AND despite our efforts at minimizing how many kids books we own and have lying around, we have run out of shelf space for them!
We have a lot of "grown up" books that we don't need our 5 kids reading necessarily (and hopefully never need to, although they wouldn't hold our kids' attention right now anyways) that have been piled in our room on various dressers and bookcases in the den. Moving them means more room for kids' books! Now they are in one place and out of reach! I stuck them right next to my Mood Light Mirror. Which has survived several moves, kids playing with it, and several years so far, but I digress......
Thanks to Instructables and their shelf contest, I now had a reason to make something new and hopefully different that my wife and I could use in our room.
Note: my pictures tell the story more than my words at times. You've been notified :)
Step 1: Parts, Shapes, Cutting, Sanding, Drilling
For the arch, I had to use a screw and a pencil on a string. This allowed an exact starting point to make my curves, and by shortening the string I could make a 2nd curve of matching distance. Cut out with the bandsaw and sanded down.
For the shelf struts/pieces, I used a miter saw with a rigged up stop block, then marked points across all the blocks to drill holes out later. I had this long piece of oak wood that worked well for what I wanted to do.
I used pallet wood I reclaimed, for the pine blocks that start and finish the arch. Drilling the holes on this was a two-part process. I essentially made little right-angle tunnels for the bungee cord to run through later.
Then I got out the KREG jig and drilled pocket holes where needed. The holes on the ends of the arch were a tight squeeze to attach both the oak blocks and the pine end pieces.
Step 2: Pocketholes, Assembly, Getting My Butt Kicked
I laid out how I wanted to make the shelf work, and made sure I hadn't incorrectly drilled any holes nor missed any. Then I started assembling the shelf! I started with the left book support, then attached the arch pieces to the arch. The bottom pieces had one of them with a pocket hole for mounting to the wall, and the rest just waited for finishing after I sand them.
Since I wanted to hide the majority of the screws, it made it difficult with the pocket hole method, as there was no good way to clamp the slats in place for attaching them. This part was awkward, and took quite a while! Oh, and I sanded the pieces before attaching each one. Like I said, it took a while....
Okay, it took me forever. Like, I-grew-a-beard-forever to correctly attach the pieces to the arch. and then I ended up at the band saw to cut the lip off the back of one of the slats on the arch that secured in the wrong place anyways, despite my efforts!
After I was finally happy with it, and put pocket hole wood plugs and cut them down flush, I finally sanded and was ready to start finishing.
Step 3: Wood Finish, Clear Coat
My go-to for naturally finishing wood is boiled linseed oil. It makes the wood beautiful, and a little does a lot. Applied with a foam brush thought a rag and many other ways work too.
I resorted to spray-on clear coat for all the different angles I needed to cover. 3 coats and ready to finish assembly!
Step 4: Bungee Cord
Grab the scissors and a lighter!
The holes needed to be perfectly lined up for the last slat attached to the pine block, or the bungee cord is not going in! I had one hole that barely fit the cord out of the 6 I needed to thread. I was freaking out for a little bit there. I had my fancy tweezers for that hole. The other right-angle holes I had drilled, I was able to insert a tiny drill bit to guide the bungee cord upwards at the turns.
The bungee on the arch serves no purpose other than for looks. On the bottom, to make sure the slats stayed more or less separate from each other when stretched, I added a simple overhand not between each slat before threading the next one. The pre-tension on this step I figure would limit how much give I was going to have when adding books.
Step 5: Mount It, Load It Up!
When handing on the wall, I used drywall anchors that hold up to 50 pounds each through the arch in two places, and the bottom slats' end anchor piece I used a 2" inch Kreg screw and found a wall stud. It wouldn't have hurt to put one screw in the arch, and the other mounted through the plywood shelf into a stud using a pocket hole. The books I was using didn't seem to stress it, so I stuck to my original plan!
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