Instructables

Modern Bookshelf

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Picture of Modern Bookshelf
I was looking for a funky but sleek modern bookshelf to hold all of my girlfriend's trinkets and curios, and found some that I liked, but unfortunately, they were all WAY overpriced, and most were made of MDF and/or other junk. I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars for particleboard furniture, no matter how cool it looks. One shelf in particular caught my eye from a particular store named after a compass direction and a deciduous tree (can you guess?), but it had a few problems - too expensive, cheap materials, no longer available, not big enough. Cue my thriftiness and desire to DIY.

I would like to preface by saying that I have built a few skate ramps and tree forts in the past, but this is my first foray into furniture design and construction, so YMMV
 
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Step 1: Materials & Tools

Picture of Materials & Tools
For this project, you will need the following:

Materials
4 - 1x10 boards @ 10' long
1 - 1x6 boards @ 8' long
1 - box of #8 1 1/2" wood screws (75 were in my box)
12 or more 2" finishing nails
Sandpaper in varying grits 80,120,240,320

*Optional
wood filler or plugs (I used filler, but in the future I think I'll try plugs) or you could just leave the screws exposed if you wanted to?
Pre-stain wood conditioner
Wood stain
Polyurethane 
Paint
Loud music to keep you motivated.

Tools
Tape measure
Speed square (got mine for 3.99, best tool ever)
Saw ( i used a chop saw, but pretty much any wood cutting saw will work I suppose)
Power drill
#8 Countersink drill bit (if you plan to countersink your screws)
Regular 5/32" drill bit 
Electric sander (unless you want to sand by hand for days, or leave it kind of rough and rustic?)
Brushes/rags for your stain/finish

Total cost for this should be around $100 or less. I ended up spending ~ $140, but I bought more boards for another project, and way WAY too much pre-stain, stain, and poly ( I have enough for 2 more of these shelves...).



I am new to instructables and think I might have posted 2 comments so very sorry if I have. I love this style it's beautiful. I was actually looking for a shelf/storage for my nail polish & came across this. LOL I guess if I made it extremely smaller I could still put my polish on a similar design. I was also trying to figure out how u could design a desk area into this. I was thinking maybe a u shaped design. If u have any idea I would love to hear them. It would fit beautifully on the wall my desk is at now Thank so much for sharing. (((HUGS)))
cobils3 months ago
Thanks for the instructions! They were easy to follow. I've been wanting to replace the bookcases in my family room but not sure exactly how until I came across this page. Because it needed to fit my games, I went another level higher and used 1x12 boards. I had all the cuts done at Home Depot (huge time saver for me!) Unfortunately, the cool design does get lost in how I'm using it, but it still looks a lot better than the generic shelves I had! Thanks, again.
shelf2.jpg
Toffy7 months ago
I love this....looks like it could cost $6-700.00 bucks in the right store. This has plenty of room for various knick-knacks and books....heck, with an added drop down shelf could be a laptop desk as well....hummm....that gives me another great idea....Thanks for the great project.
42Libs8 months ago
This is an absolutely beautiful piece that marries form and function. Congrats and thanks for sharing!
farmerboyk1 year ago
Woah! This is awesome! Totally want it.
cowboynwh1 year ago
Groovy!!! You saved a bunch of cash and I bet it weights 100lb less than mdf!
Very cool design! The construction is very simple and straightforward, but it looks incredible. I actually just built a modular bookshelf for our apt recently.

http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/F0O/LWWG/H3W5AVF6/F0OLWWGH3W5AVF6.THUMB.jpg
105.JPG
MCUman1 year ago
This unit has really got some visual POP! It clearly captures that 50's feel. I would like to offer some suggestions to increase the strength of the unit, having built some shelves and learned some things. As previously mentioned, add the upright yo yhe bottom section to buttress the weight. Also, enclose the backs of the long sections in the bottom and center with 3/16 paneling. This will seriously inhibit side motion that could collapse this structure. Then lastly, across the back running up the center section from you legs to the bottom of the top section, two lath strips in a crossed configuration, nailed to each shelf as they cross over them. It will be in the back and out of sight and will tighten this design right up.
Pine is a bitch to stain. And most people make a mess of it by choosing the wrong stain for the wood and the wrong color. Walnut or Cherry are the first steps to a bond fire. To really capture the 50's look get some "Pickling White" oil based stain. Lightly stain the wood. Then mix some of the stain into your varnish, but don't overdo it. It will leave you shelves looking like blonde oak...very 50's.
FonHom1 year ago
If this is your first foray I hope you make many more! Forays & pieces of furniture, that is. Awesome.
loopingz1 year ago
I like the work and design but I would worry about some strange bending under load. The weak point on the first picture would be around the T cross left of the power outlet.
Nice work anyway.
paqrat1 year ago
This looks so good. I think that, with a modification in the height of the pieces between the shelves, this would look terrific on the walls of my bathroom. Congratulations on an excellent first piece.
Great bookshelf AJB. I would not have known that this was your first piece of furniture either. If you plan to build more furniture in the future, check out the Kreg pocket hole jig. I love mine.
A.J.B. (author)  rolltidehank1 year ago
I've heard a lot of good things about those Kreg jigs, which one do you have? I'm considering getting one, but am also thinking about trying some old style dowel construction. Which jig do you have? I've been wondering if the $40 version is worthwhile or if I should just get the bigger one.
I got the one that was $99. I think it's called the Master kit. It has everything except a clamp which I'll be getting soon. Before using it the first time, I played with some scrap wood and read the very brief manual. Makes incredibly strong joints and looks pretty good too. They also sell the plugs to fill/hide the holes. Definitely worth checking out. And again, sweet bookshelf.
Very sharp design, thanks for sharing. I'll be trying to copy this, but using walnut burl veneer alternating with silver birch veneer. Wish me luck!
A.J.B. (author)  Vintagelady21 year ago
That sounds awesome. I just started reading about veneers the other day. Good luck, and post pics!
Nicely done, have you considered putting a veneer striping along the edges to counteract your problem with the finish on the ends.
You can purchase them in all colors and they do come in rolls.
You might have to order them from a woodworking catalog, which you can find in any of the Woodworking catalogs.
Just a though.
Let me/us know of your next project.
marjoycek1 year ago
I really like this,I would've thought you have built other furniture! I have to get my husband to try this. Great job!
wjbean1 year ago
This really looks like one of those high quality wood pieces from the mid-fifties. Excellent build and instructions. Kudos.
A.J.B. (author)  wjbean1 year ago
I was definitely going toward that mid century look. Thanks.
shyrell1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful! I love WOOD-working. Hate MDF. If I ever need another shelf, I'll use this design. Wonderful.
dermbrian1 year ago
If I had seen this before I bought my bookcase, my hi-fi pc jukebox would have looked entirely different. Nice buildable design!
http://www.instructables.com/id/Jukebox-from-a-shelving-unit/
alpinelife1 year ago
You are brilliant! Thank you for sharing your talent!
Hello, I'm new on the page. Can you tell me why I can not download the pdf?
Thank you. Congratulations, the work was beautiful
A.J.B. (author)  adriartesana1 year ago
Per the Instructables help reference:
"If you are having trouble downloading the PDF, try right clicking your mouse and choosing 'Save Link As...' or Ctrl + click if you're using a Mac."
Hopefully this will help you out.
luch1 year ago
Very cool design! This would actually be a great piece to separate a really large room into two smaller spaces.
So cool looking, now if only I was good with wood :/
I think this is a magnificent first furniture design! Actually, I think it is great regardless if how many you have done :D Fantastic bookshelf!
A.J.B. (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago
Thank you.
Verga1 year ago
Love the design and the ible. Did you consider building them as 3 seperate units. I t would be easier to stack and if you have to move the unit, it would lighter and easier for transport.
A.J.B. (author)  Verga1 year ago
I did, but I couldn't figure out how to securely stack them. Maybe using dowels or perhaps T-brackets on the back. On the other hand, since the whole thing is made of solid pine, it is rather light for its size (relative to hardwood or mdf)
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