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