A good friend asked me to build him a bookcase. He wanted something that uses salvaged wood, and can be disassembled and reassembled easily since he moves frequently. After estimating approximately how many books he needed it to hold, I asked if there was anything else he might need to store. He somewhat jokingly told me that he needs a place to keep his guitar, and the dozen wine bottles he tends to have around at any given point....
Step 1: Sketches
My favorite part of the process is talking through a project with the person I am designing it for, and sketching their ideas and requests as we go. We went through more than 20 possible designs before I started to finalize the vision and the plan.
Step 2: Buying Wood
The bookcase is made out of two kinds of wood:
1. The shelves are made from reclaimed 2x12 joists that I got at a local salvage yard. It was clear by the difference in weight, that I had a few different species of wood. It took quite a bit of sanding to get these smooth enough to use. Each board ate up 3-4 sheets of 60 grit sand paper throughout the process. After sanding them mostly smooth, I used a spray-on shellac to seal them.
2. The posts are made from Cherry. This I bought new because I need them to be straight, and in good condition.
Step 3: Mock Up
Before cutting any of the Cherry, I mocked up the posts using some pine I had laying around. You can see that in this mock up, I had planned to use thin posts on the outside of each shelf. It was clear that this would not be stable enough, so I decided to build box posts.
I also used this step to trace the shape of the guitar against the shelves, so that I could notch it out later.
Step 4: Drill the Wine Bottle Holes
The wine bottles are held in by being cantilevered between two holes. Each hole is 1-1/4 inches in diameter. The box post contains a board down the middle which supports the tip of the wine bottle neck. Drill the holes in both vertical supports, and then clamp the box post together to make sure it supports the wine bottle correctly. The holes in the inner board need to be slightly lower (about 1/4 inch) lower than the holes on the outside board. This makes for a tight fit that keeps the bottles hanging perfectly parallel to the floor which is the look we were going for.
In this drawing, there is a full box post with 4 sides, plus a center board. In the final version, we removed the left side board that closes in the box. The final version only has the right board, the center board, and the left side remains open. This means that you can see the top of the wine bottles showing through the center board on the completed bookcase which we decided looks great!
Step 5: Notching the Posts
The first image in this step shows a pine mock up. Doing this helped ensure that the wine bottles would go in at a good angle, horizontal to the ground, and stay hung securely.
The second image shows the final version in cherry wood. To get the notches right, I build the box posts first, and then routed out the notches with a router cutting bit. To get them straight and consistent, I built a simple router jig to guide the blade. It is important to get these notches accurate, and keep the shelves fitting tightly because this is what give the bookcase it's stability!
Once the shelf is slid in to it's notch, each shelf is bolted through the post in to the shelf. You can see the bolts in step 7.
Step 6: Insetting the Guitar
To fit the guitar, tie the neck of the guitar to the shelf where it will hang. The guitar will be suspended in front of the shelves at the correct hanging height. Mark the width of the guitar on each shelf. Make sure to give an extra 1/2-1 inch clearance. This leaves space for the padding, and makes it easier to hang. Keep in mind that the guitar body cutouts in the shelf are rectangular. No need for any fancy curves, since the body of a guitar seen from above is pretty much a rectangle. For the top notch that hold the guitar neck, cut a 2-1/2 inch hole with a hole saw. Set the center of this hole back approximately 3 inches from the edge of the shelf. The cut the hole away with a hand saw by making two straight cuts from the edge of the shelf, to the edges of the hole.
To finish the notches, used red velvet attached with a staple gun and a few round headed brads to pad the notches.
Step 7: Assembly
This image shows a close up view of the bolts that hold everything together. The bolt slides through the post, and draws the shelf in to the post-notch. If you are building this as a permanent fixture, you can bolt directly in to the shelf, and even glue everything together. Since the request for this unit was that it could be disassembled, we embedded threaded insert nuts in to each shelf, and the bolts screw in to the insert nuts, and can be removed whenever needed.
Step 8: The Final Product
The shelf holds 12 bottles of wine, 6 on each side. In the final picture, you'll see that he started hanging his Mandolin on the shelf next to the guitar. At the moment, it is just tied there, but we have plans to make a new set of notches for the Mando. Stay tuned...
Second Prize in the
Shelving Contest 2016