Vinylcase, Bookcase


The simplest project in the upcoming “Furniture of Necessity” has required the most study and forethought.

It’s a bookcase, which is a pretty standard piece of furniture. And the typical way of dealing with the different sizes of books is to make the shelves adjustable. I don’t know why, but I don’t like adjustable shelving systems.

Call me a control freak, but the end user can easily set up the shelves to make the whole thing ungainly, top-heavy and dangerous. I’ve seen pieces that I’ve built that were configured so that the heaviest books were up top and the lightweight stuff was perched below. Yikes.


So this design has fixed shelves. There are three shelf-openings for the three primary size ranges of books that I deal with. I end up buying a lot of odd-size books (thank you, daft art directors), and perhaps you do, too. So the openings and the depth of the carcase accommodate the most sizes possible.

The bottom shelf handles the large books, up to an 11” x 17” trim size (which can be a bit larger than that). The middle shelf handles the very odd square books and the American standard 8.5” x 11” trim size (which again is different once you add the cover boards to it). And the top shelf is for the 6” x 9” trim size and smaller.

The other challenge was making the joinery dead-nuts simple. I’ll deal with that in a future post.


Of course, after designing it, my youngest daughter mentioned how this sort of carcase would be ideal for the family’s collection of vinyl records, with the turntable and amplifier on the open top shelf.

Luckily, I have enough pine to build both.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
This entry was posted in The Anarchist's Design Book. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Vinylcase, Bookcase

  1. marvthompson says:

    Because of an addiction to buying books, most notably for a dealer who’s name shall remain unspoken (you know who you are L.A.P.) I am in need of a couple book cases. I too have no love of adjustable shelves and this looks to be the perfect solution to my problem. As always I look forward to the forth coming book to flesh out the collection.

  2. momist says:

    Another way of ensuring that smaller books go to the top is to design a ‘waterfall’ bookcase. i.e. the higher shelves are less deep, as well as closer together. If the side panels step back in a sweeping curve, and have mouldings on the edge . . . oh, sorry. You did say simple. 😉

  3. Stefan Rusek says:

    For a long time now, I’ve been planning to build a campaign book case for my shop, with fixed shelves. My current plan is to have a large book section and a small book section on one side, and two medium sections with a horizontal nook for the BOP (which is HUGE) and a small drawer. I like the idea of hanging it and having the ability to close it, but I worry about the hinges and the weight.

  4. toolnut says:

    Your daughter is brilliant. Suggest throwing consulting fees her way.

  5. woodworkerme says:

    in keeping with the furniture of necessity ,last night I was watching Svengoolie show of the old movie the invisible man. at one point I saw a bench that got flipped over in a fight and there it was a bench with the same configuration for the legs as the one you made. thanks for that. I always seem to catch more of the furniture in a movie that the story line. now I need to make one.

  6. I am so looking forward to this book – I have got rid of all my furniture already in preparation…

  7. It might be the simplest project, but is likely the most important as well. Where else would we store all of our other Lost Art Press books?

  8. beshriver says:

    Make all the shelves small size, this way you can have five instead of three. The books that don’t fit can be quickly modified with a table saw. Book of Plates in a petite size three volume set. 😀

  9. Brian says:

    This is a sharp, clean design. I like the proportion of the shelves. What influenced your choice to leave the top shelf open?

Comments are closed.