I was inspired for this project by some of the other Book Boxes here on Instructables,
However, I hadn't found an Instructable that used a stack of books to make one large box. So I figured if I lay the books on their side (less conspicuous than four books stuck together standing upright) and make the box compartment out of more than just one of the books, I could achieve a bigger more covert box, able to be seen from all sides and still seem as if it were an ordinary stack of books. Vuala, The Stack O' Books Box was born!!
Step 1: Materials/Tools
*Stack of Hardcover Books (each 1 1/2" to 2" thick)
* (optional) Package of Basswood (can be found here)
*3/8" wooden dowel
*Piece of 100 Grit Sandpaper
*A bottle of "Puzzle Preserver" (found here) (This is essentially watered down Elmer's Glue but the "Puzzle Preserver" does have a handy brush attached to the inside of the lid and it's pretty cheap)
*A Tube of E-6000 Glue
* (optional) Wood Glue (not pictured)
* (optional) Wood Stain and Polyurethane
*An Ex-acto Knife
*PVC Pipe Cutter (optional - you can use a saw) (not pictued but one like this)
*Drill with a 1/2" Paddle bit
*Dremel Tool w/ Cutter and Barrel Sanding Attachments
Step 2: The Basic Structure/Outline of the Box
First you need to pick the order of your books and which ones you will be cutting holes through to make the interior of the box. You should pick four (or more) books that are relatively the same size as far as length and width but the book on top (the box lid) needs to be at least 2" Thick or more.
The Stacking of the Books
The book on the bottom of the stack will remain untouched except for gluing the pages together and both covers down to make it one solid piece. The next two books (or how ever many middle books depending on how deep you want your box) will be hollowed out and the top book (the "lid" book) will have four holes drilled in the back cover. But we'll get to all that later.
Step 3: Hollowing the Books
It's a good idea to trace an outline on the cover of the size you want before you begin to cut. I cut through the covers using a Dremel tool and then cut the pages out using the Ex-acto knife (be patient, this can take some time depending on how thick your books are). When I reached the back cover I flipped the book over and using the Dremel once again cut the back cover out.
The inside page edges can be filed if need be with a Dremel barrel sander attachment to make them cleaner and more uniform. This will be helpfull when adding in the Basswood lining in the future steps.
**Note** I removed the paper cover from the second book while hollowing and added it back to the book after the holes had been cut. Then using the Ex-acto knife removed the portions of the paper covering the holes and glued down the edges. This gives a better "finished" look to the box. This can be seen in the finished product picture above where the lid is removed.**
Step 4: Lining the Inside of the Box (optional)
**This step is totally optional, your box will function properly without the lining... but it may be looked down upon by the other more refined, wood lined boxes**
Measure, Cut, Sand, Stain and polyurethane
Take a few basswood panels from you craft bag (from here) (or use any sort of wood to line the inside) and measure and cut them to size. You will need two long sides and two short sides. Make sure you mark these in some way because depending on how straight your box is the sides may be ever-so slightly different in size. also you want to measure the width to be the two boxes stacked on top of each other.
For the bottom or "floor" piece I had to glue two of the panels together with wood glue to get a big enough piece. Once the glue dried I then placed the back cover previously cut from the bottom book on top of the "floor" piece and traced the shape. This gives you a perfect fit for the floor and allows the books to sit flat. Once you have all your pieces cut you can then sand them down nice and smooth and apply the Stain and after thats dry the Polyurethane.
Assemble the Inner Box
Once you have the floor in, it's just a matter of placing the sides into the bottom book of the middle books in the stack (see pics). When those are placed you can then slide the higher book(s) down over the basswood sides. You can add a bit of E-6000 glue in between these books for added stability. You may have to do a little triming with the dremel to get a good fit as the book's holes might not line up perfectly, but that's why we saved the paper cover earlier!! Glue the base book (the uncut book) to the others with E-6000 and clamp them all together and wait to dry. ** NOTE** I twisted the two middle books a little so that it doesn't look like a perfectly stacked set of books.
Step 5: The Dowels
If you didn't line the inside of your box then there's no need for this next part, you can just cut your pieces and glue them in place with the E-6000 glue and wait for them to dry.
For those of you who did line the inside of your boxes, take your cut pieces of dowel and using the sandpaper round each end and then stain them. (I held them with tweezers and dipped them directly into the stain, flipped them and dunked again for full coverage. Seemed to work pretty well.) once the stain is dry you can then glue them in place with the E-6000 glue. One in each corner as straight up as possible and wait to dry
. **NOTE** I did not polyurethane my dowels but you are welcome to if you'd like, I found it too troublesome and they look great without it.
Step 6: Drilling and Placing of the Lid
Once all the glue has dried and everthing is strong, take some lotion and dab just a tiny bit on the tips of each dowel. This will help you find where to drill the holes in the "lid" book. Once you have the lotion on the dowels then gently place the 2" (or more) book on top of them and then lift straight back up. This will give you 4 spots to drill. When you drill the holes in the book to avoid the pages seperating and bunching put a clamp on either side of where you will be drilling (pic). Drill four 1/2" holes (notice i said 1/2" not 3/8" - this will make picking up the lid easier) where the dots of lotion are. Make sure they are deep enough for the dowels to completely dissappear, just be careful not to drill all the way through the book.
**Notice** I lined up the lid with the base book, so the two books in the middle are lined up and the "lid" and "base" books are lined up
Step 7: Finishing Touches
**If you like the box and think it's worthy, I'd appreciate a vote in the contests, Thanks!!**
Step 8: **Update** June 29, 2013
I made another Stack O' Books box. This one was for my Dad's Birthday. This time I used old encyclopedias and made the cover of the top book into the lid as suggested in some of the comments. Thanks for the comments and all the views!!