An easy shelving project is the solution for the boxes of books piling up in the house, writes Justin Newcombe.
I love owning books. For many years I have been able to house only a small portion of my library, the bulk of the rest of it has been allocated to cardboard boxes. Sadly, in recent times I've had to cut my book habit down just because of a lack of storage. I suppose a Kindle may soon be on the cards, however, the book as an object, its weight, its artwork, the nuances of text and format are all things which are not easily substituted, which is why I'll always buy them.
A bookcase is something you can easily build with little fuss. I've gone for a plain pine finish on this because it's a bit understated. The interest is in the books, not the case. But if you want to paint yours, use MDF instead of pine. Bunnings have both MDF and clear pine already cut into convenient lengths, making transport and handling easy. I used a biscuit joiner, which cuts little slots in the end of the timber so you can insert a small, elliptical-shaped dowel. This makes the joins strong and then there's no need for screws.
Work out the height and width of your bookcase then divide the height measurement with the number of shelves you want. This will give you the distance between each shelf.
Cut the top, bottom and sides of the bookcase to length. Place the side panels on to a flat surface, side by side and perfectly flush at each end.
Mark and drill the shelving-pin holes. Use a tape measure first to measure out where each shelf will go. Mark it, then run a large set square across the measurement to keep the lines exactly square. Place a mark 30mm inside each edge on both pieces of timber. Repeat for each shelf.
Carefully drill out the shelving-pin holes. Use the drill bit size recommended on the packet of shelving pins. Be careful not to drill right through the timber. It is worth investing in a small depth gauge, available at Bunnings, which attaches to the drill bit to restrict the depth of the hole.
To inset the biscuit joiners, mark out the ends of the wall sections 100mm inside the side then draw a vertical line approximately 100mm long. Adjust the biscuit cutter so the blade is positioned at exactly half the width of the timber at a cutting depth half the width of the joining biscuit you're using. Do a test cut and make any final adjustments. Line up the biscuit cutter with the vertical line and carefully make the cut into each end of the side timbers.
For the top and bottom piece, mark out a line on each end, 100mm inside each side. To check your measurements, do a test using an off-cut by inserting a biscuit into it and assembling it with one of the wall sections.
Once you're satisfied, carefully make the cut with the biscuit cutter. The cut for the top and bottom will be on the face of the timber rather than in the end.
Glue in the biscuit and assemble the shelves. I used right angle clamps to get the whole thing square.
Glue and screw the backing panel. I used two sections of 4mm marine ply, but 6mm MDF is fine.
Measure and cut the shelves. Sand the bookcase and shelving. I used 250-grit sandpaper and a sanding sponge, which is good for softening hard edges.
Insert the shelving pins, place into position and insert each shelf.