Disclaimer: I am not a professional/certified carpenter of any sort and by no means an authority on carpentry. This tutorial is the documentation of a perpetual amateur taking a stab at yet another craft. Therefore, whatever I state here is just an opinion on way method of constructing a bookcase based on personal experience. That being said, I will be more than glad to give you my take on this tutorial and answer all questions in the comments section as long as you regard it as just that: my take. And even more so, I would love to receive some constructive criticism just as long as it is just that: creative criticism. All other comments I will not delete (this is a free country), but I will not give them the satisfaction of a response, either.

This tutorial will teach you how to construct a Nomadic Media Bookcase similar to below. This bookcase has shelves designed to hold the maximum amount of CDs, DVDs, and VHS possible. In addition, as will be the case in all of my designs, there will be one allotted display shelf. 

What is a "Nomadic" Bookcase, you ask? Well, it's really anything utilizing Nomadic Technology. That is, primarily, technology of easy dissassembly,/reassembly, construction, & durability. Think if you were a nomad and had to have your stuff on the go for the Zombie Apocalypse. There are greater explanations out there for those curious (https://www.instructables.com/id/Woodworking-Making-wood-projects-without-using-na/). 

Nomadic technology seems to primarily rely on Nail-less technology or Irish Carpentry. That is, Mortise & Tenon style. See my last post for an explanation (here). You have 3 components of this design:

1. Mortise - the piece that will run through.
2. Tenon - the piece doing the running through of.
3. Peg - the piece that pins it all together.

Step 1: Tools/Materials Required

1.Workhorse - $38 
Any table you have can work for this. I find having tables devoted solely to construction projects (that were made for construction projects) helps. 

2. Jig Saw - $30

3. Clamps (2) - $4
C-Clamps really work best.

4. Various Files - $10
Make sure they work on wood. I also highly reccommend that of these wood files, you have a half round. It seems to work best for this project.

5. Power Drill - $20
Cordless is best. You'll already have the jig saw plugged in and will want to walk around freely with the drill. Keep it on the charger in between drills. It won't lose a charge easily, but boring holes as you will be through this thick of wood is taxing even to the greatest of power drills. 

6. Huge Ass Drill Bit - $4

7. Cardboard Scraps (2) - $0 These are to be cushioned in between your clamps and wood, to keep the clamps from leaving dents in your wood).

8. Mallet - $4 You'll want a mallet vs. a hammer to not dent your wood.

9. Angle Square (Large) - $7 

10. Rubber Sanding Block - $6 This just makes your sanding infinitely easier.

11. Hard Sand Paper - $2

12. Medium Sand Paper - $2


13. Mitre Saw -  $90. This can be avoided if need be. It just makes it incredibly easy to cut the pegs.
Worst Case Start-up Cost = $127-$217
You really don't need fancy materials for this project. Borrow them from friends or buy them cheap. Look at my tools: they're nothing fancy. The blade that I use in the jig saw is the same one that came with it when I bought it. 

-Pine 2X8X16 (2) - $22
-Pine 2X4X8 - $2
Materials Cost = $24

3. OVERALL COST = $24-$241
wow, wood-burning elvish prints -- that sounds fantastic! like, the elvish language?
<p>Yes. It's currently way on the backburner of my wife's creative to-do list. She's a huge Tolkienite.</p>
<p>Hi Zach!</p><p>My boyfriend and I are attempting to make a nomadic bookshelf based on your examples of the bookcase and media shelf. We purchased all the wood, measured it out and then started trying to cut. We have a 3 Amp Black &amp; Decker jigsaw, but we couldn't get it to cut well. We were going at an inch an hour rate. Did you use this jigsaw? If we bought a more expensive, high-powered jigsaw would that potentially work better? Any other thoughts? We have all the wood and are really excited about completing this project!</p>
<p>Hi Jes &amp; Doug!</p><p>Sorry for the delay: just finished grad school. Yes, you will need a higher-power jigsaw, but not that much higher: mine is only a 4.5 AMP, and its served me faithfully the last 3 years.</p><p>Cheers,</p><p>Zach</p>
I'm really excited to start building one of these. Thanks for the plans! <br> <br>I'm a bit confused about the measurements, however. Some of them seem way off. On the part &quot;PEGS (X8),&quot; it looks like the measurements are way too small compared to it's neighbor, &quot;BOTTOM PEGS (X2).&quot; I also think there is at least one problem with &quot;SIDES/MORTISES (x2)&quot; (3/4&quot; for the width of the board doesn't seem right). <br> <br>I can certainly figure out the correct measurements on my own, but I want to make sure I'm not going crazy. Some of these are incorrect, right?
Feel free to try out your own measurements; these ones have worked for me and my wife for the past year. Keep in mind you have to account for other things when looking at this blueprint: planing, shrinkage, expansion, compression, etc. <br><br>Good luck!
Ah, okay. I'll work through it, then. <br> <br>Just FYI, I attached an image showing the discrepancy I think I'm seeing. The two measurements circled in red are supposed to be the same value, right?
And I'll make corrections eventually. In the middle of a move. Which, as I said before, the bookcases did beautifully in the process. You really will want to have pair of these babies. <br><br>Take a look (and pardon the mess; still moving in):
Ha, nice. No worries on the mess. My living room floor is a much greater mess than that; hence then bookcase hunting. :)
Ah. It looks like Google Sketchup's draft program ran the wrong conversion and I didn't spot it. Thanks for the catch! Go with the circled measurement on the right: it's the correct one.
Great concept. Had a few questions about your plans (pdf); the tenon slot in your pictures looks to be off set closer to the middle of the board then the end of the board but in the plans seems centered there is no mesurement one way or the other, it also shows the width (front of tenon to back of tenon) for the peg slot to be 1-1/2 inch x Length (end to median) to be 1-3/4 inch while the peg is only 1-3/4 inch at its widest. I was also wondering if I missed something but you said you used 2 2x8x16 for Mortises and Tenons 32 feet wood length but your plans call for 34 feet. Sorry to come off as a dbag but was just wondering. Great Idea though, plan to build both of your shelves this weekend.
&quot;The tenon slot in your pictures looks to be off set closer to the middle of the board then the end of the board but in the plans seems centered there is no mesurement one way or the other.&quot; <br> <br>It is offset. I'm not a professional carpenter, nor literal by any means. I go by feel and adjust as I go along. <br> <br>What I do is I measure from the back, and allow for whatever change is left over, so yes, there is going to be a little difference on the widths. <br> <br>&quot;I was also wondering if I missed something but you said you used 2 2x8x16 for Mortises and Tenons 32 feet wood length but your plans call for 34 feet.&quot; <br> <br>Actually, I think we're both wrong on this point. It should have been 3 2x8x16 = 32 feet worth of tenons (4ft long times 8) + 14 feet worth of mortises (7ft long times 2) = 46 feet. <br> <br>Does that help? <br> <br>Please take photos and send them to me! I will create a &quot;bookcases made by other people&quot; section just for you!
here's a thought. your holes look oval, rounded at the ends. if your drill bit is the right size you can drill a hole at each end, then use your jig saw to connect the holes. voila! no turns with the jig saw! <br><br>Saw my granddad do that many many moons ago. He built a whole house. twice. LOL
Wonderful idea! I actually go back and forth between the two methods. I simply posted the technique I'm more comfortable with. Your suggestion (due to my amateur hand) results in more clean up. I want to get better at it, though, because it would produce straighter lines in the end.<br><br>Ummm, what's your granddad's address? I'd love to glean some of his wisdom. Lol.
I'm sorry, you'll have to find a younger person's address. my granddad's address is Heaven '72 , LOL it was always fun watching and helping him with his projects. I learned a lot I didn't even remember I knew. <br><br>you keep practicing and you'll find it results in less clean up after you get that technique down.
Lol. Well your grandfather has my respect. I will continue to work on that technique of his. I do always favor less clean up.
what you're doing when you connect the two holes is going from the extreme right of the bottom hold to the extreme right of the top hole, and then turn around and do it again on the other side. there really should be no clean up at all, if you get it over far enough. it's the aiming and getting right to the edge and no further, that saves you a bundle of time. <br><br>Try laying a straight edge on the outside of the holes to connect them, then mark a pencil line connecting them on each side of the holes so you can follow the pencil marks with your jig saw. That should do it. of course you'll still have to sand or file, but it should be much easier this way, I think.
Love the book case here is a little different way to make the mortise I like.Keep up the good work excellent instructions.
Thanks for this post! What angle do you cut your wedges at? Mine tend to be to wide on one end.
Not sure on the exact angle, not much just kind of sanded it to a slight bevel.But If you see how my shelf locks into the groove I cut into the side or leg.Makes it a lot stronger and easily done with a circular saw with the cut depth pre-set and a good chisel.I never got around to cutting a half oval or v into the bottom of the legs as well as some shaping on the top of the sides seeing yours might just get me up and making some more sawdust.Thanks&nbsp;<br> <br>
very nice ible . but i would like to point something out you refer to your craftsmanship as being sloppy and being climsy. in my opinion you did a very good job and if you were to rough up the wood a little bit and put a multi layer antique finish on it people would think it was a antique. also the design you made would be referred to as country furniture which is never perfect looks good and is functional. keep up the good work
Batman, you are my new best friend.
Hi, some PDF files on this subject you to send me an email
Golbaba, 2 of these steps are downloadable PDFs. Additionally, you can download the entire Instructable itself as a PDF.
Another trick for drilling squares out is to drill a hole into each corner of the square then stick your drill bit in and you're always cutting straight sides! :)
Hi, some PDF files on this subject you to send me an email
(see my response below to to Kittyf) It's a good idea, I just don't have the best personal experience with that technique.
This is one of the most thorough and easy-to-follow 'ibles I think I've ever seen. I think even *I* could do this!<br><br>Well done!
Well if I can do it, you must certainly can. Prior to this endeavor, I had zero experience with woodwork &amp; it turned out fine.
shouldn't there be 16 pegs? Instead of 8?
Quite right. The error has been fixed. Thanks for letting me know.
Anyone notice the Tardis in the blueprints?<br>Great design by the way. And I like how you wrote it up to be thorough, whilst remaining simple.
Thanks. That is my attempt: simplicity through thoroughness.
Zach, since the unit is quite tall and not very deep, do you use anything to prevent the unit from tipping over, like a bracket fastening it to the wall?
Kvoss, I'm now on my 3rd of this exact bookcase. I've not experienced any tipping. The weight of the wood lends a lot to this. <br><br>If you want to, you can do what I did after the tutorial: cut a half oval out of the bottom of the sides. This creates legs, allowing for more stability.
excellent ible. I love your attention to detail in the instructions.I am looking forward to making this!
Thanks Sara!
Hey, I could actually do this! Thanks!
This was my thought. I saw someone else do something more flimsy and I thought, &quot;Hey, I could do this and make it sturdier!&quot;
My only change would be toward a 1&quot; board as opposed to 2&quot; boards and shallower shelves. I don't have CDs and books to put on them but very lightweight wood projects that don't weigh much. Your idea will transfer easily. Thank you for being so clear and concise, as well as helpful. I've learned a lot from you today.
Exactly! That's the wonderful part about this tutorial: modification. The idea is really simple, so I just documented the production of one bookcase, but it can be applied to any size and shape, just as long as you know how.
??? fellowess ??? That's as good as I've ever heard! Fellowess. I like it.
I'm known as a man of many fun words, what can I say? ;)
At my Home Depot, the first 6 cuts are free, but after that it's $1/cut (really!). They may allow 7 or 8 cuts free, if that's the end of it, but when I was getting several sheets of plywood cut for a project I'm working on, the cuts actually cost more than a sheet of plywood. S2S plywood, no less. And you want to be there when they cut it, because you can make sure it's cut correctly. Mistakes can be costly, especially if you're spending the money for something better than plywood.
The Home Depot where I'm at has lifted the cut limit and price. Endless cuts for free. I stand there with the person as they cut it with my own tape measurer and level.
You know, of course... you should always wear eye protection when using power tools...<br>
Funny - you got no comments for the f-bomb and the fireengine camper guy got ripped a new one for an s-bomb.<br><br>
Wonderful! I would recommend staining the wood or even painting it to improve the aesthetic appeal!
Working on that right now, actually: staining it a deep cherry red.
This is a well written instructable Zach, good job and thank you for sharing!

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More by zachsoniasummers:Nomadic Life 3: Advent Wreath Nomadic Life 2: Mediacase Nomadic Life 1: Bookcase (Trial & Error) 
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