Despite refinements such as crown and base molding, a face frame and turned feet, the bookcase at right is basically a carcase with shelves. The procedure for building a carcase can he found beginning on page 24. Most of the other details of the book­case, from the shelves to the feet, are discussed in this chapter. The crown molding is similar to the type installed on the armoire on page 66.

Design a bookcase to suit the items it will store. Standard bookshelves, for example, are at least 8 inches deep and 9 inches apart; allow an additional 3 or 4 inches of depth and height for oversize books. Record albums need 13 inches in both depth and height. Televisions, video recorders, and stereo equipment may require up to 24 inches of depth.

After you have settled on dimen­sions, decide which type of shelving best suits your needs. The bookcase on this page features three adjustable, or floating, shelves and one fixed shelf. Although the fixed shelf cannot be moved once installed, it helps to strength­en the piece and is less likely to sag than adjustable shelves. The load the shelves will have to bear should be considered when choosing materials (page 43). The thicker the lumber, the stronger the shelf. While 1 – by-10 pine or fir is eco­nomical, % hardwood will support greater loads.

Also remember that a shelf weakens as it increases in length. Shelves that are too long are not likely to break, but they will almost always sag. If you are plan­ning a bookcase wider than 36 inches, consider installing cleats under the mid­dle of the shelves at the back or a verti­cal partition between them.


Hidden adjustable support

Wood strips with dowels that fit in holes drilled in side panels; strips are concealed in blind rabbets routed in the underside of the shelf

Threaded support

Two-piece adjustable support; threaded part is inserted into holes drilled in side panels and supports are screwed in to hold up shelf



Faddie-and- sieeve support

Two-piece metal-plated support; sleeves are inserted into holes drilled in side pan­els and paddles are slipped into sleeves at each shelf location

Updated: March 8, 2016 — 5:11 am