Step 4: Join The Shelves

exploded view of a ladder bookshelf with uprights highlighted
Illustration: Gregory Nemec
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Stand up the tiered shelves on their backs, arranged shortest to tallest, on a level work surface. Dry-fit the shelves into the notches on the uprights. Make sure that the trimmed wall-side edges of the uprights rest flat against the work surface. Now glue the shelves to the uprights and drive two 1¼-inch screws through each shelf's sidepieces and into the uprights. Fill the fastener holes, then sand and paint. To finish, add nonskid foam pads to the feet and the wall-side edge of each upright.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • circular saw
      Circular saw for cutting the poplar panels
    • miter saw
      Miter saw for cutting the shelf pieces, cleats, and uprights
    • brad nailer
      Brad-nail gun and compressor
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • sandpaper
      Sandpaper
    • nonskid foam pads
      Nonskid foam pads

    Shopping List

    Carpenter's glue

    1 ¼-inch screws to attach shelves to uprights

    1 ¼-inch and 2-inch 18-gauge brad nails to attach shelf sides and backs

    Two ¾-by-20-by-29-inch poplar panels to make shelves Five 1x3x8 poplar boards to make the uprights, cleats, shelf sides, and backs

    Wood filler

    Paint