Introduction: Nomadic Life 1: Bookcase (Trial & Error)
I just finished the Nomadic bookcase prototype I've been working on and I have to say I'm quite pleased.
After construction, I then moved it into its final destination, where I then performed a load test on it (Fig C): The heaviest books are on the bottom (1), while thinning out to the lightest books on the the third shelf (2), thus evenly distributing the weight. The fourth shelf (4) will serve as a display and to hold unusually large books, like those for coffee tables.
For those curious about this bookcase, it is inspired by a style of carpentry known as Nomadic Furniture, very much akin to Irish Carpentry and other nail-less technology. This style is exactly how it is defined: a type of furniture that could potentially have existed in Nomadic times. I chose this style for it's solitary implementation of mortise and tenon joints (Fig D). The concept is very simple (Fig E): the tenon slides into the mortise (1) and both are pinned together through the peg (2). This design has several advantages: there are no moving parts; no nails or screws are involved, to prevent cracking; it is easily assemble-able/disassemble-able, allowing for ease of movement. I based my designs on these two designs I found: Nomad Bookshelves Desk by WhyIsThisOpen & Nomad Corner Desk by hobbssamuelj.
I won't go into great detail over my craftsmanship, but I will note a few key differences where my design differs from theirs (and others) that I believe make for a better piece:
1. I've set the minimal thickness to 2". I did this to allow for sturdiness over time. Potentially, this bookcase will never warp.
2. This includes the shelves themselves. Most other designs employ plywood instead, which does still allow for a decent bookcase. But I intend for this to last as long as I do and hopefully something I can pass onto my kids.
3. I made the tail of the pegs longer. This allows the peg to act as an additional brace, to help straighten and reinforce the integrity of the bookcase.
4. I've narrowed the width of the peg. This allows the previously mentioned tail extension to not snap under the pressure, should unexpected force be applied to the bookcase from the sides.
In addition, this bookcase only costs $22 to construct. After a love-hate relationship with over a dozen particle board bookcases, I decided to do call it quits and find a solution. Seeing as I how I have the time and money to do so, I thought now was the time.
So yeah, just to point out the absurdity of modern commercialism: $22 and 12 hours of my time and labor to make a bookcase that will last indefinitely versus $30-35 for a bookcase of the same relative size made out of particle board which will fall apart after 1-2 moves or 3-4 years of age.
Further details will be provided when I construct a tutorial soon, which will go on here.