pine book case? is it a good idea?


So i got my first router and after few plays with making garage shelfs i want to make a real bookcase. I was thinking of starting with pine, but am afraid that it may be to soft to last as a nice bookcase. Is douglas fir a reasonable compromise? or maybe i can make it with pine and make surface harder by finishing. Or shall i take it all in stride and make it from oak: oak plywood with oak boards for walls and shelf edges. Any advice is welcome.
Pawel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What do you intend to do to your bookcase that softness matters? If it's used for the reference books in a public library abrasion form putting books in and taking them out might be an issue, but on more ordinary usage frequency (per book) you wont damage the shelves.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Right after I got married, I made 8 pine bookcases to house the many hundreds of books that we both brought along. Not knowing better, they were made of lumber-store (nowadays it would be Home Depot) pine shelving, all butt-joined and screwed together (no glue) with drywall screws and no finish of any kind, just a couple of passes with 100-grit sandpaper. I figured that when they got loose and fell apart, I'd have the tools and knowledge to build better.
Took me an afternoon to make all 8, mostly 5 feet high, 2-1/2 feet wide, shelves spaced every 12 inches with a 1x2 support along the back of each shelf, very simple. A couple from 1x8s, a couple 1x10s, a couple 1x12s. Not at all what you'd call fine furniture.
Four houses, three moves, three kids, many thousands of books in and out, absolutely no maintenance or care... and 23 years... later they still are as tight as can be, with no sagging to the shelves. I've made much nicer looking bookcases since, but these have been in rough and constant use for that long... and hold up the books just fine.
Yeah, I'd say that pine works just fine for bookshelves.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If it is to be a houshold item I would consider what finish your other furniture has.
You can stain the pine but in my opinion it just looks like stained pine.
Oak would be nice but much more expensive.
I have made a number of shelving units from melamine board. I also have several bookshelves made for storing paperbacks using building store pine. Pick through the stack of lower grade timber for some fairly clear boards.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I've got a couple walls and a half in the den of cherry-faced basswood shelves myself. Since they are bookshelves, not display shelves, you have to pull books to see the bass.
I also have true poplar shelves, stained. But they can show open spaces like the pine shelves for my quarto size stuff, because they are consistent.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you're worried about the shelves sagging, you might put a thin strip of wood under the front of each shelf to help support the load. As far as plywood, (and I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong here) I don't think Home-Depot-quality oak plywood would support any more weight than decent pine plywood (excluding chipboard, particleboard, etc.). I have some cheap assemble-it-yourself MDF bookshelves from target or dumpsters or wherever, and they're only sagging a bit after being fully loaded for several years. For the price, not bad. My advice - try it with pine (start cheap), and if that really doesn't hold your books, use it for attic shelving and go look for oak or thicker pine for your next attempt. Have fun with it if you're doing it for fun, or do it as quick and cheap as you can if you just want something to set books on. Experiment with finishes on scrap pieces - try sanding to different grits, sealer coats before stain, etc. Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy wrote:

8" wide by 48" long with a back of 1/4" plywood (nailed into the back of the shelves) will not sag. I made a bookcase like that with 3 shelves about 1975, and for more than 20 years has has held 8x11" magazines squeezed tight. There is no evidence of sagging. Three similar shelf units for my wife, but with shelves 12" deep, have been loaded more normally for several years and show no evidence of sag. BTW these are made of Ponderosa pine which is pretty soft.
I would pick solid pine boards over fir plywood (never heard of pine plywood) for a book case just for appearance.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have some made from pine. They are stating to deteriorate after 40 years and at the rate they are going, they may be completely shot in another 500 years or so. With a coat of urethane maybe I can get ti to 700 years.

Oak is nice, Oak plywood with solid wood trim is nice too. Make what you can afford and afford to screw up on the first try. Build a little confidence before spending big bucks on wood. There is nothing wrong with pine and don't let a few wood snobs tell you different.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

The question with pine is just what you mean by "pine". I've got plenty of 100+ year old pine (as furniture and as recycled stock) that would make a fine bookcase. I'd be hard pressed though to go out and buy any new pine timber that wasn't coarse rubbish with huge growth rings. If you _can_ get good, tight pine, then there's no reason you shouldn't use it. Douglas fir is much more likely though, in terms of what's commonly available today, at a reasonable price.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My first router project was pine bookshelves, too. They've been in use for sixteen years now, with books stacked two layers deep, and they were patterned after the ones my wife's grandfather made mabe thirty plus years ago. Both sets are still fine, if not better than when they were first made. The only time you need to worry about them lasting is when you move them. Take care at those few times it happens and they'll effectively last forever.
I agree with marks542004 about stained pine. I stained mine and I wouldn't do it again. Oak is heavy. When you move you've got all those books to move, and they're heavy enough. Moving a pine bookshelf is a one person job. Oak? I dunno, but after moving a lot of books you might want help with the shelves. Personally I don't like the look of plywood because of the way the grain looks, but that's just me.
- Owen -
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I too have a 20+ year old pine bookcase I made with my first saw and router. I used 1 x 12 no. 2 grade from a lumber yard. I used a beading bit to put two grooves in the facing trim, a Roman ogee bit on the shelves for accent and used v groove birch 1/4 inch plywood for the back. It has been holding books for over 20 years and has endured through several interstate moves and some abuse from the movers. About all I had to do to firm it up after moving was to tap the facing back down in 2 or 3 spots. Pine is fine.
If you use 1 bys buy as long a pieces as you can haul. They are typically straighter than the shorter ones from shorter trees or tree sections. You can sort through what is available at the lumber yard or home center to get the straightest ones.
On my last pine project I found some pretty good 10 and 12 footers of 1 x 12 at Home Depot.
Good luck and enjoy it! You will probably have the book case for the rest of your life.
RonT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you are wanting to do this project as a first project in "fine woodworking", my advice would be to avoid the tempation to "save" money by using pine since it is relatively cheaper than other woods.
That was my thought process upon my first foray into fine woodworking with the idea that as a novice, I didn't want to screw up really expensive wood, so I'd use pine. I went to a reputable hardwood dealer and bought furniture grade pine, so moisture content wasn't an issue. What I listed on my lessons learned was that a) It is too easily damaged, just looking at this material puts dings and dents into it. b) The pine available is so unstable it is difficult to get any kind of accurate cut. Even beginning with an accurate cut, the wood will later bow and throw later machining out of line. This especially affected the ability to produce quality mortise and tenon joints. The wood that started out parallel, moved sufficiently to preclude the ability to permint gap-less joints.
Two reasonably inexpensive hardwoods to start working with are Poplar and Ash. Ash is nice because, although fairly non-descript, you can get a fairly nice finish on the wood and it will look nice. Poplar has too much green color in it to want to leave it unpainted. In my area, Ash is actually cheaper than Poplar at about $2.25 / BF. You should be able to make a bookshelf from for pretty close to what pine would cost and you will save yourself a lot of aggravation.
My $0.02
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The first thing I cobbled together was a bookcase of yellow pine 2x10's. Stained it with Minwax double walnut and spayed it with lacquer. 25 years later it is still holding up a mountain of books (7 feet tall) with no complaint. Worked for me. If you can afford oak, go for it. If not pine is perfectly serviceable and a relatively inexpensive way to build confidence.
--
Regards,
Mike
Flower Mound, Texas
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

4 years ago my son make some bookcases for the waiting room of a public pediatric clinic for his Eagle project. Used pine, they still look good.
(I am rather embarressed to see them now, as they were from before I started woodworking and are pretty crude.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Consider a little better product.
Use the white pine as a "prototype" and learn how to make a "basic" bookcase.
I would then use a oak or birch plywood and I would assemble them with glue and pocket hole screws.
If you don't have a Kreg jig, this would be a excellent reason to buy one.(for Christmas)
Don't have a table saw ??? Don't really need one...
Use a jig and a circular saw....
http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/2004/08/13/wb /
A simple bookcase can be done with very basic tools.
Pawel wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.