How to Make a 13ft Tall Bookcase




Introduction: How to Make a 13ft Tall Bookcase

The Builder - 29 year old former NFL athlete turned full time Builder. Specializing in Industrial...

In this build i create a 13ft tall bookshelf with a rolling ladder. I use mostly maple cabinet grade plywood and rough sawn soft maple for the face frame.

If you would like to attempt this project on your own, here are a few tools I recommend!

Thanks for checking out this build!

Step 1: Breakdown Material

Begin by breaking down your plywood into the dimensions of your vertical boards. I cut mine into 11.25" strips from the large sheet, then down to final 11".

Step 2: Glue Up Parts

Rough cut down all your shelving to size. Stack them neatly so you can stare at how much work you put into the neatness of the pile, then destroy it by gluing everything up. I use 1.25" 23g pin nails and tons of glue.

Step 3: Layout and Cut Joinery. Assemble Carcass

Mark out all the locations for the shelves on your vertical partitions. Be sure to reference the correct faces so everything lines up. Use a jig, and drill perpendicular holes half way through the partitions. Cut the coordinating holes in all of the shelves.

Step 4: Mill Stock for Face Frames

Rough cut your face frame material (rough sawn soft maple) and cut it into 1.5" strips. Start by jointing one face and a perpendicular side. Then cut your strips from the flat part as reference. This will leave the "rustic" top

Step 5: Final Assembly and Finish

Glue the face frame onto the carcasses. Sand appropriately and finish with paint and a coat of water based poly. Then Install.



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    23 Discussions

    Fantastic, cannot wait for pay day. Thank you for this

    Just wondering what the width of each shelving unit is, i.e. how many shelf-feet of books does this baby accommodate? You see, we DO have 13+-foot walls and need bookshelves. Also would like to know more about the ladder. Specifics, please, so we can make this, thanks!

    2 replies

    Thanks, this is a big help! Shelving, here we come!

    Awesome job!
    Now on my to do list. Where did you find the ladder and what length did you go with?

    1 reply

    I have a very tall wall. Hmmmmmm. Thanks so much for this lovely bookcase demo.

    1 reply

    Great Instructable . Really would like more information on the ladder

    1 reply

    very nice, where did you get the rolling ladder or how did you build it?

    3 replies

    That's also my question! I'm guessing that he welded it, and maybe he can make an instructable for that?

    I'm trying to think about similar shelving for maker supplies (12-18" deep, and sturdy), but how could I adapt a rolling ladder to I have a (pulley-type?) mechanism to raise and lower my supplies in front of a shelf, so I can climb the ladder, and then use one hand to move the materials tub from the wall shelf to the mechanism shelf?


    It would be great seeing how it's attached to the wall and the floor. I'd also like to see how the splice works, as I'm assuming your longest vertical was shorter than 13 feet.

    I have a 14 foot wall to put bookcases on, so this is an interesting project. I don't want the ladder to pull the books down :)

    Love the comment about stacking the piles - some people see clutter, others see potential.

    == John ==

    1 reply

    I have the fasteners hidden so they arent visible. I used metal L brackets and Concrete screws. The tops are sitting on dominos for alignment in the bottom. The top also has fasteners hidden behind it

    Another great instructable! I really like the glue container you have, could I inquire as to where you acquired it? Thanks again for all the woodworking help.

    1 reply