Introduction: Super Tall Custom Bookshelf

I live in a loft space in Oakland, CA that has very tall ceilings. The living room featured an interesting pocket that happened to be the right size as the Ikea bookshelf I had when I moved in. And by right size, I mean it was the proper width. With the tall ceilings, it looked way too short. When another project yielded a bunch of Plyboo® scraps, I decided to make the most of them with a new, properly fitted bookshelf.

This particular instructable is not so much to provide a step by step "how-to," but rather the inspiration for your own creation. Having built this one, I would do it slightly differently, as I'm sure you will too.

I have access to a fairly complete shop, but perhaps you do not. Feel free to make do with what you have, innovate and experiment. Do not let the limitations of your tools dictate the directions you take.


  • Portable Bandsaw
  • Angle Grinder
  • TIG Welder
  • CNC Router
  • Palm Sander
  • Palm Router
  • CNC Mill


  • 1x2" Steel Rectangular Tubing
  • 1/4" Steel Plate
  • 3/4" Plyboo®
  • Misc Screws
  • Threaded Tube Inserts (McMaster Carr P/N: 60945K56)
  • Swivel Leveling Mounts (McMaster Carr P/N: 6111K51)

Step 1: Welding the Top Miter

The shelf is comprised of two main uprights that are held together by the shelves. To ensure everything was even, I simply clamped them together. Here, we see the 45º miter that defines the top. (Not shown) the mounting plates (which fasten to the wall) are welded to the end of the short leg.

Step 2: Welding the Feet

I wanted to use off the shelf tube inserts and swivel mounts, but they aren't available for rectangular tubing. Thus, I tapered the foot to 1x1" square.

Step 3: Welding the Shelf Brackets

Using a CNC Mill, I machined these plates that support and secure the shelves to the vertical supports. To ensure they're square to the tube, I used a piece of aluminum flat bar to clamp the plate to.

Step 4: Cutting the Shelves

I cut the Plyboo® into rectangles on a tablesaw, and then used a CNC router to cut the notches into the sides. The saw and the router left splintered edges, but they cleaned up easily with a roundover bit in a palm (trim) router.

Step 5: Finishes

With the welding on the legs complete, they were sent off to the powder coater, and the shelves were sanded to 220 grit and finished with several layers of polyurethane.

Step 6: Assembly

Assembly was a snap. The shelves attach with three countersunk screws on each side, and the whole assembly is quite stable.

Step 7: Installation

The bookshelf was tipped upright, the feet we adjusted to level the whole thing, and then the upper brackets were secured to the studs with lag screws. A tiny custom ladder was installed in the buildings framework so the upper brackets could be accessed.