Introduction: Inexpensive Book Shelf

This is my first instructable. Let me start out by saying that the design and finish to this shelf was thought out by myself for a few particular reasons.

1. I do not have an indoor shop or any type of work area, so this was all created on my deck.
2. I built this shelf using as few tools as I could, I only had access to a few things.
3. I wanted this shelf to be cost effective, which in the long run was.

Tools Used:

-Miter Saw
-Orbital Palm Sander
-Air Nailer with Compressor
-Misc. Wood Working Tools (Square, Tape Measure, Etc.)

Materials Used:

1"x4" Untreated Pine ( I bought 8 foot sections which cost around $3-$5 dollars)
1-1/4" Brad Nails
Sand Paper
Zip Guard Gloss Finish

Side note:

You can use what ever materials you prefer, if you account for time as money, 1x4 pine may not be your best option. It has tons of flaws and takes quite a while to make it look good. Also the dimensions I provide are just dimensions I came up with, you can build this shelf to what ever size you would like.

Step 1: Prep Work

The first step was to sand and route all of the lumber I was going to use. This is by far the longest process of the whole shelf. I am a perfectionist, so I spent quite a while sanding all the imperfections out of the 1x4, because they come with quite a lot.

Step 2: Assembly

After all of the lumber is ready, you're now able to cut your main supports to size and start assembling them. I started out by first making a square with 4 planks about 5 and 1/2 feet tall. Each short board was about 15 inches long. I nailed the short 15 inch boards so that I would have 1 foot of space from the bottom of the above plank if that makes sense... basically I measured from the bottom of each short 15 inch board and marked 1 foot down. The next top would be placed on this mark.  You will need 2 of these for the left and the ride side supports.

Your third support, which is the middle support, will have short planks (15 inches long) on both sides of the long planks.

Once your supports are made up it is now time to start putting your main shelf pieces together. I made my main shelves 30 inches long. You will need 4 of these per shelf. You can start with the left or the right, but you will need to take your middle support and your left or right support and begin nailing your shelves onto their support planks. I started with the outer shelf pieces on the top and bottom, then filled in the rest after.

After nailing your shelves into place, you do not want to the shelf up, it will topple over one way or the other, you need to nail your back bracing on first. I put one back brace per shelf right below each row of shelves. I made the top of my bracing flush with the bottom of the back shelf. Assembling this part is easiest laid down on its face.

(Note the first set of bracing I assembled was only the length of the first half of the shelf. The same will apply with the other side once you put it together)

You will do the same for assembling the other side, once finished you should have this built....

Step 3: Assembly Continued...

We're very close to finishing the assembly portion of the shelf. As you can see from the last picture, we do not have our top shelving put on, or our final brace that goes along back portion of the top. I decided to go with planks the length of the whole shelf for the top shelving along with the back brace for added stability. So essentially these planks will be flush with the outside of each side support.

(In this picture I haven't finished putting the other planks in the center sections of the right side)

After assembling your top shelving and your back brace, assembly is done!

Step 4: Finishing Coat

As I stated in the Intro, I do not have a shop space or anything of the sort, so i had to apply the finish in the middle of my living room.
You will want to put some kind of finish on this shelf if you use bare pine. It will end up getting marked up and dirty without some kind of paint / finish. I decided to use a clear gloss finish for my shelf. I purchased a gallon of zip guard, which is essentially for finishing hard wood floors, but can be applied to all wood.

I ended up doing 3 coats total for my finish, I used 220 grit sand paper between each coat which really helps give it a nice glossy shine afterwards. You can use paint or which ever you like, putting a clear gloss involves more work then just painting.

After that last step, that about wraps it up!

Hope you enjoyed!