Introduction

bookcase »
These days, everyone seems to have more stuff than places to stuff it. We’ve heard complaints of a house-wide shortage of nooks and crannies, and a dearth of handy bins and baskets. Fortunately, we’ve got a stylish solution: Build a compact, adjustable-shelf bookcase.

The great thing about this freestanding piece of furniture is that it’s suitable for any room. You can paint it to match your decor, or stain it to look like natural woodwork. And even though it provides over 10 square feet of shelf space—counting the top surface—it takes up less than 3 square feet of floor space.

You don’t need to be an accomplished cabinetmaker to build this bookcase. As This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows here, all you need are some skills with a saw and a router and the patience to be exacting with your measurements and cuts. Following Tom’s expert guidance, you’ll be able to put this piece together just in time to clear the junk off the living room floor.
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    Tools List

    • 100-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • circular saw
      Circular saw and guide
    • hand clamps
      Spring clamps for holding saw guide
    • plunge router
      Plunge router fitted with 5/8-inch-diameter guide bushing, ball-bearing-piloted rabbeting router bit, and ¼-inch-diameter straight-cutting router bit
    • speed square
      Speed square
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw for cutting arches in toekick and side pieces
    • iron
      Iron for adhering iron-on birch veneer edge banding to plywood
    • j-roller
      J-roller for adhering iron-on veneer
    • Double-sided Veneer Trimmer
      Double-sided veneer trimmer
    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 5/8-inch spade bit
    • pocket hole jig
      Pocket-hole jig for boring angled holes for pocket screws
    • miter saw
      Miter saw (or miter box with hand saw)
    • paintbrush
      Paint brush

    Shopping List

    1. 3/4-inch cabinet-grade birch veneer plywood for the case and shelves. One 4x8 sheet will make the whole bookcase

    2. 1/4-inch-thick birch veneer plywood for the backing. One half-sheet will cover the back of the bookcase.

    3. 8-foot piece of pine bed molding to trim around bookcase top.

    4. 1¼-inch pan-head pocket-hole screws

    5. 6d finish nails to attach the bed molding.

    6. 3d box nails for fastening the plywood back.

    7. 1/4-inch-thick x 3-inch-wide hardboard strip used to mark arches onto toekick and side pieces.

    8. 7/8-inch-wide heat-activated birch veneer edge banding, used to conceal edges of plywood.

    9. 1x pine, for making hole-routing template for shelf pegs.

    10. 8 metal shelf pegs

    11. 120-grit sandpaper

    12. Primer and paint,
    or stain and varnish