Step 1: Materials/Tools
(2) Full sheets of 8' x 4' x 3/4" Plywood and 1 piece that measures 14" x 48"
(6) 12' x 2" x 4"
(1) 6' x 1" x 4" (for the bottom)
(1) 6' x 1" x 6" (for the top)
(1) 6' stick of crown molding your choice
(2) 8' sticks of trim (at least 2" wide)
(2) 1" x 2"
(4) 1" x 3"
pre-stain treatment (I used Minwax brand for all of the stain treatment)
20" or 24" Crosscut saw
Circular Saw (optional)
Kreg Jig® Mini (can actually be done without this but that means you'll have to be really carefull where the screws go to hide them under the trim)
(48) Kreg brand 2" Coarse self tapping pocket hole screws
(72) 1 1/4" drywall screws
Box of !.5" Finishing nails
Box of 2" drywall screws
1" bench chisel
Rabbet plane (optional but very handy)
Stain able wood putty
Step 2: Transportation/Initial Cuts
(12) 46.5" length 2x4's
(12) 12" length 2x4's
(1) 4' x 7' for the back of the bookcase
(2) 1' x 7' for the sides of the bookcase
(5) 12" x 46.5" for the shelves
(1) 48" x 14" plywood for the top
One word of Caution here. Most Lumberyards are going to be in a hurry and will not likely be very accurate in their cuts, this can be a big problem later. I would recommend rounding up the lengths where possible (the 46.5" becomes 48") then cutting them again when you get home to their correct length. You might even want to ask the employee to measure each piece before cutting, he might grumble but this could save you serious time later. Its ok if in the end you are less than 1/16" off, any more than that might cause problems.
Why 46.5 you may ask? because 46.5 + 0.75 + 0.75 = 48 which will make it line up nicely with the plywood backing.
Step 3: Joinery: Half-Lap
If you haven't already cut the 2"x4"s to length then there should be (12) 46.5" length and (12) 12" lengths. Hold one of the 12" pieces at a right angle from the 46.5" overlapping it at one end then using a pencil trace a line. Technically a 2x4 is 1.5 in × 3.5 in so this should be 3.5. Next using a Combination Square hold it up against the 1.5" side and measure to the halfway mark. This should be 3/4" draw this all around where you will be cutting so you can easily see what the waste material should be. When you are done with the 2 cuts they should look like the pictures below. The cuts are made with a Back saw.
After you have finished the cuts, clean up the surface with a rabbet plane or some sandpaper. If this were a smaller half-lap you could do the entire half-lap with a rabbet plane. Once you finish all the joints, try putting them together as a dry run to see how well the fit. If either side (or both sides) need adjustment then plane or sand it down some more till they both fit for all the frames.
Step 4: Assemble the Frames
Put some glue on one (that is too much in the picture by the way) then place the 12" piece on top wiggling it around to try and spread the glue (or you can roll it around with a small paint roller or an old rag to get an even distribution of glue). Clamp it together and drill some pilot holes, then screw the drywall screws in. After you put the screws in you can remove the clamp (if you have a limited number of clamps) and move your clamp to the next spot to be glued up. Repeat this process for all 6 shelves.
Step 5: Pocket Hole Joinery
Set your combination square to 1 and 1/4"
Set the Kreg Brand Drill bit to 4 and 3/4" from adjustable collar to tip of the drill bit
The Combination square will function as a backstop for the jig to help set the distance from the edge. Next clamp the jig down. Drill the hole and then move the jig down to the next hole. I drilled 4 holes on one 46.5" side and 2 holes on both of the 12" sides for a total of 48 holes.
Step 6: Attaching the Plywood Top
After checking the fit, take the plywood off, put some glue on it (spread the glue around for better coverage) and place the plywood on it again (best side up) try to position it so that the front will be flush, because it will be seen more than the back anyway. If the sides are short then try to split the difference. Once it is positioned, clamp the plywood down to the frame in all 4 corners. Taking your Finishing nails (1.5") nail the plywood down with at least 2 nails on the short side and probably 4 or 5 on the long side. Don't nail it all the way down, stop about 1/8" of an inch above the surface and finish driving it with a nail set so that it is just a little below the surface. Go back over the nails with stainable wood putty. Let the whole thing dry as long as the glue bottle says then sand the wood putty spots flat.
Do this process to 5 of the shelves leave the 6th one bare, it will be the top and we will put it on later, it uses the 48" x 14" piece of plywood.
Step 7: Sanding
Step 8: Assembling the Case
Lay out the back, sides, top and bottom as they will go together. Place the top and bottom shelves on their side so they stand up. Very carefully screw the sides into the top and bottom shelves using the 2 inch wood screws drill straight through the sides into the frame of the shelf (trim will cover this later) making sure that the front of the shelves and the front of the sides are as close to flush as you can make them. Ensure that the top is flush with the top of the sides and that the bottom is flush with the bottom.
Carefully position the assembly on top of the backing and put in the special bit for the Kreg wood screws. Using the pocket holes you drilled earlier screw the back and sides to the shelves. Turn it up on its side and place some drywall or wood screws straight through and into the frame for extra strength. Now lay it back down. Congratulations you now have a coffin err I mean partially assembled shelf.
Next you will need to make 4 spacers. Measure the inside of the case from top of the bottom shelf to the bottom of the top shelf. Subtract from that number the thickness of a shelf x 4 because there will be 4 shelves between the bottom and top, then divide that number by 5.(because there are 5 gaps between shelves between the top and bottom)
X = distance from bottom of top shelf to top of bottom shelf
Y = thickness of shelf (frame + plywood top)
[X - (Y * 4)] / 5 = spacing between shelves.
For my bookcase I think it came out around 14.5"
You can use this formula to scale down this bookcase if you want.
Once you have the spacer length figured out, cut four spacers out of scrap wood. Place them on top of the bottom shelf and put the next shelf on top of them. Make sure the shelf is flush with the sides in the front and screw it together using the pocket holes you drilled earlier.
For extra support if you are really careful you can screw 2 drywall screws in the sides straight through to the frame but do it so that it will be hidden by the trim (less than 1/2 inch away from the edge). Also add drywall screws on the back side, be very careful to keep them straight so you don't screw under or over a shelf. If you have trouble you might try using a chalk line on the back of the case to give a visual indicator of where each frame will be. The extra screws will help to strengthen the case.
Now just repeat this step till you get all the shelves in.
Step 9: Attach the Top
Step 10: Feet for the Bookshelf
Step 11: Stand the Bookcase Up
Step 12: Attach the Trim
Measure and cut the Trim for the front and the 1x4 and 1x6. Go ahead and glue and nail everything (making sure to counter sink the trim nails) except for the 1x6, just dry fit it. Make sure its snug but not too tight.
Step 13: Cut the Decorative Trim (optional)
First position the 1x6 in the shelf as it will be when its finished. Next reach behind the 1x6 and draw a line against the frame so that you will know where the frame begins (so that you know exactly how much wood you have to work with). In this one I have exactly 3.5" to work with. After you draw on the backside of your board go get some butcher paper. Draw out the board and the line so that it is a perfect representation of the board.
Draft out your design on some scrap paper.
Now do the numbers. In my case the first notch is 1", 2nd notch 12", halfway mark (not a notch) is 23.25", 3rd notch 34.5" and 4th notch 45.5" Yes I know its not exactly even but its pretty darn close, and it looks nice :-p
Locate and place a dot for each notch. Next figure out where the highest point on each arch will be and place a dot there. Then very carefully free hand the arch. After you draw it out and are happy with it (if your not happy thats why they invented erasers), cut out the paper template with scissors and an exacto knife. Next pin the template down on the 1x6 and carefully trace the edge of the template onto the wood. Remove the template, retrace it if its not dark enough.
Clamp the board into a vise upside down so you can cut out the bulk of the waste with a coping saw. This part should be performed with extra patience. Haste makes waste. After cutting out most of the waste leaving just about 1/8" go back on the edges with a 1" bench chisel and hammer. After the edges are finished you can either continue on with the chisel if you don't have a spokeshave or you can use the spokeshave. I must confess I have not used a spokeshave prior to this but I found it to be very enjoyable. It leaves a very smooth result and handles these curves wonderfully! If you don't have a spokeshave get one :-)
Step 14: Attach the Decorative Trim and Crown Molding
Miter cut the crown molding at a 45 degree angle. Measure out the side, place a mark in pencil on the crown molding of where the Inner dimension should be. Line that up in the miter box. One tip here I wish I would have known... take some scrap wood and cut a few small 45 degree miter cuts to fit against the crown molding and make it more square it is very difficult to clamp a slanted piece of wood while cutting it. Take your scrap wood, one on top and one on bottom, and tape it (masking tape) around , then clamp the whole assembly to the miter box. This should help cutting the 45 degree angles.
Step 15: Wood Putty and Sanding
Step 16: Staining
Go over the whole project with tack cloth. If it looks like it needs another coat of stain to make it darker then go ahead and do so, allow it to dry, use the finishing pad again and tack cloth again.
Step 17: Sealing With Polyacrylic
Allow the first coat to dry per the can's instructions, sand lightly with the finishing pad, tack cloth the whole thing then apply the second coat.
Allow the second coat to dry then sand lightly with polyacrylic, wipe the tack cloth over it again, and apply the final coat.