Build a bookshelf by measuring and cutting wood into appropriate pieces, attaching the pieces together and applying finishing touches. A new bookshelf is easily achievable with just a few tools, a relatively small budget and a free weekend.
- Gather tools and supplies
The tools required to build a bookshelf include a table saw, miter saw, finish nailer, level, T-square, tape measure and router. Necessary supplies and materials include 3/4" birch plywood, 1 1/4-inch poplar wood, small decorative moldings in the desired pattern, wood glue, finishing nails, sandpaper, a soft cloth, wood putty, and paint or stain.
- Measure and cut plywood
Determine the dimensions of the bookcase, and measure the plywood accordingly. A table saw is best for cutting the plywood to the required width, while a miter saw makes cleaner cuts and is better suited for the more detailed cutting of the top, side panels and shelves.
- Make rabbit joints for shelving
To ensure the rabbit joints are in the same place on both sides, screw the two side panels together, side by side, with a piece of scrap wood. Using the T-square, draw a 3/4-inch strip across both panels at the desired location of each shelf. Unscrew the two sides. Clamp a level along the strip to use as a guide, then use the router to create a straight groove for each shelf.
- Install shelves
Use wood glue and finishing nails to attach the shelves. Start by attaching the two side panels to the top shelf. Apply glue into the rabbit joints, then slide shelves inside. From the outside, hammer finishing nails into each shelf.
- Apply finishing touches
Use the miter saw to cut the poplar to the same dimensions as the outside panels of the bookshelf. Cut the joints to 45-degree angles. Attach with wood glue and finishing nails. If desired, attach decorative molding to the faces of shelves with wood glue and finishing nails. Allow glue to dry for a day, then sand and fill nail holes with paintable or stainable wood putty. Wipe the bookcase with a cloth to remove dust, and paint or stain to the desired color.