Measure the height of the space where the bookcase will go. Cut two bookcase legs to this measurement from the ripped-down plywood
Measure the width of your space in three places. Subtract 1½ inches from the smallest measurement. Cut the shelves to this length from the plywood. (Make sure you also cut a piece for the top.)
If you want your shelves to be different heights to accommodate different sizes of books, you must mark the legs where the supports will be. Hold one leg against the wall and mark where you'd like the bottom of each shelf to fall. Try to line up the shelves with nearby architectural details, such as baseboards, windowsills, and mantels.
Lay both legs on a table, butted evenly next to each other. Use a framing square to transfer the shelf marks from one board to the other. Then place a plywood scrap on edge at each line and mark the width of each shelf.
Measure between the lines to get the sizes of the support pieces. Use a circular saw guided by a Speed Square, ABOVE, to cut the supports from the ripped-down plywood. Cut the topmost supports ¾ inch short.
More in Interior
to guide circular saw as you cut support pieces
for transferring irregularities of the wall onto the trim so you can cut it to fit snugly
to coax tight-fitting shelves into slots
to find where to attach bookcase to wall
to cut scribed trim pieces
Calculate how many 8-foot-long boards you can get from one sheet and use that to figure out how many sheets you will need to get enough board feet. (A plywood sheet is 4 feet wide, but keep in mind that a saw blade takes off 1/8 inch per rip.) You’ll need at least 3 sheets for a 4-by-8-foot bookcase.
2. 5/4x4 TRIM
for masking plywood edges around the perimeter of the bookcase front. Measure the length of the two legs, plus the width of the case, then add 10 percent for waste.
3. 1x TRIM
to make nosing for the front of the shelves. For more support, use thicker stock. Take the length of one shelf and multiply it by the number of shelves (including the bottom shelf). Add 10 percent for waste.
4. YELLOW WOOD GLUE
5. 1-INCH DISPOSABLE BRISTLE BRUSH
for applying glue neatly to plywood edges
6. 1 1/4-INCH (3D) FINISH NAILS
for nailing the supports in place
7. 2-INCH (6D) FINISH NAILS
for nailing trim in place
8. 1 5/8 and 2 1/2-INCH WOOD SCREWS
or leveling the bookcase
10. WOOD PUTTY OR WAX PENCIL
in a color to match the wood, to fill nail holes
11. STAIN OR PAINT
12. BUTCHER'S WAX OR POLYURETHANE