2024.05.17: Bookshelves

2024-05-31 04:09 by Ian

The choice is always between two courses of action.

Between my wife and I, buying bookshelves would cost too many emeralds for too-little shelving that would be made of too-cheap materials. So let me see what I can do with about $650...

It looks like I am going to spend about $220 for dimensional lumber (Douglass Fir) and prime pine board (fine-scale shelving). Another $200 was spent on the glass and the hinges/catches. All of the powder-coated brackets and shallow hex bolts were another $150. The remaining $80 was for the wood sealant, a handful of high-tensile strength bolts and washers, and the massive stack of 60-grit sandpaper that I needed to expend to make the surface reasonable without planing it.
If I go ahead and make the bottom cells into cabinets, that will be another $120 or so, depending on how I go about it.

Ever used a random orbital sander for so long that your hands feel like they are asleep for an hour after you finish? Sanding all this nasty lumber was a big task. I used the hand planer in a few areas that were unusually gnarly. Personally, I like the knots and rough-hewn look in this case. So I tried to visually highlight some of my favorite character flaws in the boards.

This is what it looks like following first assembly. I won't be using a single drop of glue for this build becase I might want to take it with me if I move. And if I glue it, it is too large to fit thought any of the room's exits.

To compensate for the strength not gained from the glue, I used a router to carve channels into any joint that was going to be subjected to shear forces. The design criteria here is to be able to hold 800lbs of books, and I don't want all that load acting like scissors trying to cut the bolts that are holding the heavy-duty shelves. The bolts' only job is to hold the vertical members solidly against the horizontals. Bolts are usually meant to be loaded with tension, and even soft wood is fairly good under compression. And the test-loading went well.

The shelves are "done enough" to begin serving their purpose. I still need to install the cabinet doors, and finish the glassware shelving in the center cabinet. But my books are now home after being boxed for 10 years, and on shelves made from solid wood that won't warp with loading.