Office Bookcases

My wife works from home, and actually uses her home office as…an office.  We had to replace her desk last year, so she gave me her basic wishes, and I gave her a large trestlishy desk.  She liked it, but the problem was she had no shelves/etc.  Part of the deal was we outfitted the closet in the room to hold most of her supplies, but that seemingly has not worked out as well as we had hoped.  Part of the problem is her office is right off the front hallway, so it is pretty open to public view.  Now, she is incredibly organized, in a vertical sense, and knows where everything is, but sometimes the piles get out of control.  So, she decided she needed a 2 drawer file cabinet at first.  Then we got talking, because her printer sits on an antique sewing table.

Sad lonely desk and printer

The problem with that is, there is no storage in it, and it does not fit the rest of the room, which is sort of sunny cottagy.  We had visited one of my college roommates this past fall, and he had .   My wife liked the idea, so that got incorporated into the plans as well.   After some quick measurements, I ran out to the local lumber yard and picked up:

1 1x12x10 pine board

2 1x4x6 pine boards

10 1 x4 x8 pine boards

1 4×8 sheet of 3/4 inch MDF cut into 2 2×8 foot pieces (much easier to have them do it there with the panel cutter, and most places like Home Depot will cut sheet goods for you for free).

I decided that we would center her desk on the wall, and I would put the bookcases on either side.  I wanted to connect the tops with a long shelf, but as the distance was over 9 feet, I had to support it across the middle.  We also had to accommodate her printer on the bookcase.

First I made the 4 support pieces.  The angle I used was 15 degrees, and the overall height is 60 inches.   The top of the support piece  is 9 inches.  I just cut the pieces, butt jointed them, and used a to join the pieces.

support for bookshelves

The MDF was ripped to a 22.5 inch width, and then I cross cut it to the lengths I wanted.  I cut the shelves 1 inch long, and then laid out a slight curve to the front edge, so they would extend slightly past the front of the bookcase.  I attached the shelves to the supports with cleats I cut from the scrap.

Dry fit of bookshelf

After I had the shelves set, I needed to attach the top across them.  I used a 112 inch long board that was 10 inches wide.  This had to be supported across the middle of the span, so I cut some supports from the 6 foot boards, each 64 inches long, and putting a slight arch in them as well.  We wanted the pieces to be free standing, with the thought that we ever move these, we can just cut this top board and its supports to length to fit a smaller space.  One problem with the construction was we wanted to keep the shelves open as much as we could, but this does not provide much support to lateral movement of the bookcases (racking).  Usually this is solved by attaching the back panel, but we don’t have one here, so I cut some braces to provide extra support, and keeping with the arched motif in the shelves and the support braces, I put slight curves on either side.


Cross piece support

braces for bookcases

Everything was sanded, and all the exposed edges were rounded over with a router.  Then, everything was primed and painted, and finally assembled attaching the top and the support braces for the center span with more pocket screws.  Once everything was slid into place, we have the finished product below.

Office book cases final assembly

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