Personal tools
log in | join | help
Sections

Modern bookshelf design...

by Tom Harrison last modified Aug 19, 2005 04:48 PM
Editorial Rating: 1 2 3 4 5
Average Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 ( 0 votes)



 

 

Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Tom Harrison at April 07. 2005

Hi everyone! Just a moment to introduce myself, since I'm new here. I just recently bought a house in North Dallas and have begun the slow and steady process of transforming it from something of a generic suburban home to something a bit more modernish. Like many here, I'm sure, I'm learning the hard way that modernism on a shoe-string budget is an adventure in itself. Which brings me to my point.

Bookshelves.

See, I have a TON of book. I also absolutely refuse to spend $150+ on a set of bookshelves that I could make myself -- no matter how flashy they are. And most of the bookshelves I've seen at modern furniture dealers seems to fit that category (ok, maybe I couldn't make some of them, but those aren't going to support 50+ hardcover books, either). So currently I'm torn between two possibilities: a) build a couple of standard, five-shelf bookcases with a few visits to Lowes/HomeDepot, or b) decorate a wall of my office with about 3-4 rows of shelves and supports. Neither of these are bad options for me, but I was curious to see how others have addressed this issue. I was a bit surprised to find not a single thread in these forums about bookcases/shelves, which suggests that I'm either obsessing over a little thing or no one here reads. ;)

So what have the rest of you done for mass book storage? Anything creative? Any ideas?

Thanks,
Tom

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Ralph Lopez at April 07. 2005

three letters MDF, Kinda cheap and very strong and very easy to work with. I make rectangles and the set them up offset from one another. let me see if I can find a picture or plan to post.

How big do you need your shelves? Are you securing them to the wall?

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Zachary Anderson at April 07. 2005

there was a bookshelf that DWR used to have called the puzzle bookshelf, and a "topographic" verson, too. i built myself a topographic one, but i used a CNC router. if you can use a table saw (or have HD cut the wood), and a router or just a saw to cut notches in the boards, it's a super simple system, and it's really quite nice. you could make the straight version, and you could make the compartments any size you'd like, and it is very flat-pak when disassembled, and requires absolutely no hardward (unless you want to screw it to the wall, which isn't necessary unless you have small children who like to climb. i used a couple sheets of mdf (w/laminate) to make mine, and just glued the edge-banding on, and put it together (like a puzzle, only easier) and it's done. mine is 6' by 6', but you could really do any size you like, or make a few.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Zachary Anderson at April 07. 2005

here's what i'm talking about. the 12 pieces just slide together. i made a few rectangle pieces the size of 3-4 of the openings, just to give it a little more sturdiness. all my vertical pieces had the same curve, with the 2 middle ones flipped, and i just spaced those out and measured the depth at each one for the proper curve on the shelves (took some figuring on the computer, but i did it all in one evening).

edit: this bookshelf can also work to dividea space, as long as you finish front and back.

 
Attachments

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at April 07. 2005

I really like going the wall of books route if you really have a LOT of books.

I find that the rather Heavy-duty grey shelf standard/bracket combo for sale at most hardware stores will get you a LONG way towards a rather modern wall of books. It is really nice to attach the standards to the walls at 32 o.c. then infill between the standards with another finish material, like finished birch plywood, MDF with a plastic laminate surface in some bright colour, or other 1/2 thick material. Then use nice 3/4 Baltic birch for the shelves, either with a p-lam veneer top and bottom, or just sealed. If you sand the edges of the baltic birch you can get a really nice exposed edge. This would get you an entire wall of adjustable shelving that could literally hold a ton of books, in relative short order.

Mark

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Adam Tibbs at April 08. 2005
I have a wall of shelves I built that's 10' high, 14' long. I used steel angle bar stock for the vertical support, and birch ply for the shelves. More or less inspired by this design

I'm also about to build another set. This time I'm using 18"x36", 3" thick concrete stepping stones and plywood. The basic idea is that the pavers will form the back of the unit, and the shelves will cantelever out. So I'll do a stack of four. Haven't really worked out how I'm going to attach it to the wall, but it shouldn't be too difficult. And those stones are only $15 each.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Zachary Anderson at April 08. 2005

i said mine had no "hardward"

that was a typo

i meant hardware, as in screws, brackets, or any other non-wood pieces.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Tom Harrison at April 08. 2005

Thanks for all the suggestions guys.

The wall I'm looking at shelving is 8 ft tall and runs about 10 ft across. So we're looking at a big space. Not sure I'm going to do a complete wall of books, but it will definitely fill the top 2/3rds of the wall. The lower portion can then be used as a cubby for file cabinets or whatever.

Atibbs, I really like those bookcases showcased in your link. How in the world do you find the parts for something like that, let alone build it on your own.

ezekieltattoo, very cool design. Might be something to consider if I can get HD to cut the wood. I'm a bit short on power tools here. You sure you don't need to secure that? I'm worried that on the carpet, it might tip.

Mark, the method you are suggesting is my default. Just for the uninitialed, what is MDF (plywood, yes?). Oh and, It is really nice to attach the standards to the walls at 32 o.c. then infill between the standards with another finish material, like finished birch plywood, MDF with a plastic laminate surface in some bright colour, or other 1/2 thick material. How do you mean infill. Sorry -- until I got on this house buying kick and experienced how expensive REALLY BASIC furniture is, I'd never had much interest in carpentry. But I'm willing to learn to get something I'm happy with for what I can afford.

Tom

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Tom Harrison at April 08. 2005

Double post.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Zachary Anderson at April 08. 2005

carwhat?

yeah, sorry, on carpet it would probably need secured. it's been a while since i've had carpet.

MDF is this

i know home depot will cut wood, as long as it's not real precise cuts. to do a 6' version (same size as mine), you would just need them to cut a piece of plywood, or MDF, or white melamine MDF, or something to 6', then cut strips at the depth you want your shelves (ooh, i just thought of this..you could do wider shelves at the bottom for more sturdy-ness). you would still need to cut the grooves, but to do that, you could either just buy a cheap(er) router or even use a hand-saw and maybe a chisel. you just cut grooves half way into all the boards, and it's done.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at April 08. 2005

[quote:BluSponge format=text/plain]Mark, the method you are suggesting is my default. Just for the uninitialed, what is MDF (plywood, yes?). Oh and, It is really nice to attach the standards to the walls at 32 o.c. then infill between the standards with another finish material, like finished birch plywood, MDF with a plastic laminate surface in some bright colour, or other 1/2 thick material. How do you mean infill.[/quote]

What I mean is this:

Attach the upright shelf standards to the first stud out from the corner of the wall, then every 32 after that (studs are USUALLY 16 on center). You will be attaching the standards over the sheetrock that is already there. The standards will stick out from the wall, but you can then go back in and put another layer of 1/2 material over the wall BETWEEN the uprights, basically allowing you to have another finish besides drywall behind your books, then when you place your shelves you can make areas that serve as display nooks for tchotchkys. This also makes the standards look more integrated into the wall. You could get really creative with the upright layout and the layout of the infill panels, basically making a cool mondrian inspired wall of uprights and panels as a back drop to your books and display items.

Mark

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Tom Harrison at April 09. 2005

[quote:ezekieltattoo format=text/plain]carwhat?
yeah, sorry, on carpet it would probably need secured. it's been a while since i've had carpet.[/quote]

Yeah, what can I say? All the bedrooms in this place have carpeting.

[quote:eamesdaedelus format=text/plain]What I mean is this:[/quote]

snip

AH! Ok. I think I'm getting a better picture of it now. That might just do it, and be an easy way to incorporate the design of the cases atibbs was talking about. Very cool.

Thanks guys,

Tom

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 15. 2005

Mark,

I don't know if you'll see this on an old thread, but I'm going to try something like your suggestion. I'm putting up some Rakks shelf supports and infilling with 1/2 MDF panels in an alternating pattern of cherry and birch veneers. Any suggestions on how to attach the panels to the wall between the supports? The pattern I'm doing entails about 30 6X32 panels, so it's a lot of attaching. Ideally, I'd like something that would allow me to easily remove and reattach the panels, say if I wanted to change the pattern.

BTW, I'm new here, should I start a new thread instead of hijacking this old one? Any advice is appreciated.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Matt Roberts at August 15. 2005

Any suggestions on how to attach the panels to the wall between the supports? The pattern I'm doing entails about 30 6X32 panels, so it's a lot of attaching. Ideally, I'd like something that would allow me to easily remove and reattach the panels, say if I wanted to change the pattern.

How about heavy duty velcro?
It should hold the weight, and you could pull them off and rearrange them to your hearts content!

Matt

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 16. 2005

Hmm, I hadn't thought of velcro. I pretty sure I even have a roll of industrial-strength velcro somewhere. I'll have to give it a try. I'm worried that it won't hold the panels close enough to the wall, but there's only one way to find out. Thanks for the suggestion Matt.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at August 16. 2005

You could also try magnetic strips. They should be a bit lower profile than velcro, but probably not as strong. Whatever you do please post pics of the outcome (and the process if you're up to it)

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 16. 2005

Mark,

I like the magnets idea. How would you go about implementing it? I was thinking I could affix a ferrous metal strip to the wall vertically, then glue small cylinder magnets in holes bored into the backs of the panels, but that might be an unneccessary amount of work. I'm curious about the magnetic strips you mention. Any idea where I might find them?

I'll try and post pics, but I have yet to get a digital camera (the shame, the shame). I have a design worked up in SketchUp, I'll try and export a pic of it and post it when I get home.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at August 16. 2005

Actually I think your idea is the best one so far. You can simply screw 26 ga sheetmetal strips to the wall (or cover the entire wall in galvanzed/galvalum sheet metal which could be an interesting visual thing)and then go with heavy duty button magnets epoxied into drilled holes in the back of your panels.

As far as the magnetic strips, I was referring to the self-adhesive stuff that comes on a roll. the only problem with that stuff is that it isn't very strong magnetically.

Mark

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Steve Schafer at August 16. 2005

You can get some [em][strong]very[/strong][/em] strong neodymium magnets from [url href=http://leevalleytools.com/]Lee Valley Tools[/url]. Even the tiny 1/4 diameter ones, one in each corner of the panel, should be enough.

You could glue them into holes bored into the panels, or use the threaded holders that Lee Valley also sells. Then attach them to a strip or sheet of ferrous metal mounted to the wall, as discussed, or else use little galvanized buttons that can be screwed to the wall (once again, Lee Valley has these).

-Steve (who, believe it or not, does [em]not[/em] work for Lee Valley Tools)

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at August 16. 2005

yeah buddy, those magnets are AWESOME. You can put one on he back of your hand and one in the palm and they will stick there just fine. They will also pinch the hell out of your fingers/skin etc if you get them caught between the magnets.

Mark

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 16. 2005

Okay, I'll try and post a couple of pics of my design, based on Mark's suggestion above. This'll be 8' wide by 6' high, with 10 deep shelves ripped from birch plywood. I've seen some mention on this thread and others of baltic birch, but I'm not sure just how that differs from regular birch ply, both in quality and price, or where to get it. If anyone can educate me, I'd appreciate it.

The panel design isn't fixed, thus the desire to be able to move them. I'm going to cut 30 panels, veneer half in cherry and half in either birch or maple. I'm planning to seperate every 2 panels with a strip of 1/4 aluminum to add a horizontal component to the aluminum of the uprights and brackets. Comments and/or suggestions are welcome.

I've never posted an image before, and it's not showing up in preview, so bear with me if nothing happens.

 
Attachments

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 16. 2005

Good, it worked. Another angle...

 
Attachments

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Steve Schafer at August 16. 2005

Just so you know, a 32 span is pushing the limit for 3/4 plywood shelves. If lightly loaded, they'll be fine, but a whole shelf filled with heavy, glossy-paged art books or magazines will cause noticeable sagging.

-Steve

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 17. 2005

Steve,

Yeah, I worried a bit about that, but I don't know of any other options. I don't want the supports only 16 apart for reasons both aesthetic and financial (Rakks is a little pricey), and I can't think of an inexpensive and easily obtainable shelf material that would be more rigid. Anyone have any ideas? I don't anticipate huge loads, but I do have a bunch of heavy textbooks I was going to put on the bottom shelf.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at August 17. 2005

you can stiffen your 3/4 shelfs by adding a 1.5 lip at either the front or back. In the back the lip would project up as a stop, and in the front the lip would project down. You could also go the expensive route and buy RAKKS realy nice extruded aluminum shelves!!!

What are you finding as the price for the RAKKS system as you have it proposed.

Mark

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by David Roser at August 17. 2005

Mark,

What sort of a lip do you mean? Like a 1.5 X 1/4 strip of wood glued to the edge of the ply?

I did lust after the Rakks extruded alu shelves, but they would almost double the cost of the project (~$600!). I haven't actually bought the veneer or the ply for the shelves, but I expect the total cost to be in the $600 range. That breaks down as ~$300 for the Rakks supports/brackets, ~$100 for veneer, ~$150 for plywood/MDF (shelves/panels), and $50 for incidentals. Oh, and I figure I'll need about 50 bucks worth of magnets to do the panel attaching.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Michael Ramsey at August 17. 2005

http://www.leevalley.com/hardware/page.aspx?c=2p=42348cat=3,42363

maybe that works better? or possibly you can't link directly into the catalog?
RE magnets are great. I routinely pull them from decommissioned hard drives.

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Patrick Anderson at August 19. 2005

What about building a 2x2 frame for your shelves and then use thin ply or hardboard( like a hollow core door ) and then locate your stud centres and drill into every stud and place a piece of rebar in there.
Match the holes you drill into the wall onto your frame and drill. Then tap the shelves back against the wall ? Et viola, cantilevered shelves

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Steve Schafer at August 19. 2005

That's called a torsion box, and it does indeed make a very strong shelf. However, I'd use 1x2 molding rather than 2x2's, because the molding is much straighter. The skins can be 1/4 or even 1/8 plywood.

I'm not convinced that you can make a true cantilevered bookshelf (capable of supporting at least 25 lbs per ft) without something beefier than a straight piece of rebar to hold it up. The problem is not the strength of the rebar itself, but rather the compression strength of the wood stud where the rebar bears on it. I think you have to have an angled piece of steel, where one leg of the angle is attached either on the surface of or inset into a stud, and the other leg is embedded or underneath the shelf. But that means having to tear apart the wall to some extent, of course.

-Steve

Re: Modern bookshelf design...

Posted by Mark Meyer at August 19. 2005

I have a cabinet-maker that makes mini-SIPs to use as shelves, and let me tell you they can span a LONG ways between supports.

He builds a frame of 3/4 milled material (as long as it is straight and more or less dimensionally stable it doesn't much matter what it is, poplar works great assuming a painted finish, but other woods and MDF would work as well) with an 1/8 veneer ply on the bottom, then the void in the frame is filled with rigid XPS insulation board, and attached to the bottom ply face with spray adhesive (you have to get an adhesive that is compatable with the foam). Then the top ply face is spray adhered to the top of the foam and the top of the frame. All of this gets put into a vacuum press, and after the adhesives cure you are left with a really stong and straight 1 thick shelf. It is a bit of work, but if you have shop access and jig it up you can crank them out relatively quickly.

You can obviously get a bit more detailed with the set-up so that you can hide the edges of the plywood faces as well. Something like this would span a 32 gap no problem.

Mark

Powered by Ploneboard

 

 

 
 
 
this website is for sale

This website will undergo significant changes in 2019.  First, the domain name has been sold. Visitors will not be able to find the site at livemodern.com after about six months. In the meantime, we are looking for a buyer for the content, someone who wants to continue the mission of the website. If that is you, contact marshall [at] livemodern.com. I will provide details.

more...
 

Website migration, maintenance and customization provided by Grafware.