Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bookshelves, Update

The photo-essay and description is ready at Retrotechnologist. Including my worksheet (a 5.25" by 8.5" page; scanned it larger than it is in real life!). White pine is just about modeling clay to work with; the biggest problem is it cuts so fast you can be in a heap of trouble before you realize it. "Measure thrice, cut once." With any luck.

7 comments:

Nathan said...

Very nice. I need to build some bookshelves myself...just never seem to have the time :)

Anonymous said...

Learn something new every day. I had white pine in the same mental category as white oak: impractibly expensive.

Stan in Minnesota said...

Cut it twice and it was still too short.

Roberta X said...

Stan: it's always difficult to cut a board longer after that first mistake....

Anon: Nope, white pine -- and this isn't all that "clear," there are plenty of knots -- is an inexpensive softwood.

A real woodworker would start with bigger stuff and run it through a planer and jointer to get wonderful flat, square boards. He or she would start with a harder wood, too.

Dimensional lumber is a shortcut. Since real wood furniture isn't all that common, it doesn't look that cheap any more. I use tricks like just sanding imperfections smooth instead of trying for perfect edges and corners, too. A little boiled linseed oil would go a long way towards prettying them up; the trade-off is drying time and long-term interaction with books and I err on the side of caution.

An in-between choice would be poplar; soft enough to work easily, it takes a nice surface with only a little effort. The drawer front on my otherwise very rough toolbox stand is poplar. You can buy it already squared up, but it's costly. Cheaper than red or white oak, usually.

If you like the look of oak, the trick I used for my window seat is an option: oak-veneer plywood and solid oak trim. The plywood's actually got better dimensional stability, too.

Roberta X said...

(Materials price tag for those shelves was under $60.00, not bad for custom work).

D.W. Drang said...

I'm trying to figure out how to build a set of shelves that would accommodate radiant heat registers. (Originally electric baseboard heat, retro-fitted to a gas boiler.) Those things can make for a lot of wasted space. In some room they're no problem, but in the sewing room, for example, there's so much "stuff", and so little room to store it.
I, alas, definitely fall into the ranks of the mechanically declined when it comes to the home handyman routine...

Roberta X said...

Big clearance cuts and curved sheet-metal heat deflectors? You'll probably want to anchor the shelves to the wall, too.

The shelves on the other side of my window seat are on top of the edges of a very large cold-air return grate. They don't occlude it, in part due to the 1.5" clearance at the bottom of the shelves. I have head selves on hot-air registers -- the bottom 2 feet or so, I built with the bottom and front open, solid sides and back. It worked.