Im making plans for some built-in bookcases. I want adjustable
shelves, but once the books are placed, the shelves are generally not
adjusted for many years. The usual 5mm holes spaced bottom to top are
tedious to drill (even with the Lee Valley jig) and unsightly. Metal
pilasters routed into the inside are easy enough to mount but not much
Ive been thinking about maybe using headless screw pins of some kind
that I could reposition if necessary, filling the old holes. Im
thinking of shelves about 18 inches long, probably with a slot routered
in each end so theyd slide over and conceal the screws. Has anyone
seen such headless screws? Other advice?
My favorite are wooden standards. Strong, great looking, and a nice
looking detail for folks who look close.
- Make a piece of stock ~ 1 1/2" square, as long as the inside of your
case is tall. This will make four parts, enough for one case.
- Drill 1" holes in the stock at reasonable shelf spacings
- Rip the drilled stock down the center, leaving half circles where the
- Resaw the two parts into ~ 3/4" thick parts
- Install one part in each inside corner of the case, keeping track of
up and down
- Make movable brackets from 3/4" x 1" stock, radius the ends to match
the half holes (a 1/4" pattern, router, and pattern bit, make this fast)
- Notch the shelf ends to clear the "tracks"
- Place the supports and shelves
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 23:30:27 -0600, Mr Downtown <"Mr Downtown"> wrote:
I made two large (antique replica) bookcases. The standards are 1.5"
wide, 1/2" thick cherry that are sawtoothed. The strips were
temporarily sandwiched together and cut. The bookcases are painted,
then the standards applied. If I were to do it again, I'd pick
something other than cherry or use something other than the
bandsaw--lots of time was spent sanding out the burn marks.
I think I solved the headless screw part: eyebolts (technically eyelags,
I guess, having pointy ends). The answer is not for them to be
headless, but to have heads that can lie flat and be concealed. I can
screw them into the uprights pretty much by hand and then slide slotted
shelves right over them. All I have to do is come up with a moveable
jig to drill four level pilot holes for each shelf.
For what it's worth, these bookshelves are to be very spare and
contemporary in design. The uprights are two pieces of 3/4 plywood
14x92, held apart by 1x2s set a couple inches in from the perimeter,
with a facing about 3.5 inches wide on the vertical edge that projects
into the room. This leaves grooves or slots at top and bottom so they
slide into place onto 1 x 2 tracks mounted to ceiling and base platform.
Once the uprights are in place, the shelves, grooved on each end
(except the front edge), will slide into place hiding the shelf
supports. One problem I still haven't solved is sliding the uprights
into place without marring the popcorn texture on the ceiling. I guess
I'll just cut them 1/4 inch short of the ceiling and hope the gap isn't
On Sat, 23 Feb 2008 00:14:39 -0600, Mr Downtown <"Mr Downtown"> wrote:
#1.) Make it a feature!
Add a crown to the top and a leave more than 1/4" space above it. You
can add soft lighting behind the crown for yet another change in the
overall look. The lights can really look sharp and elegant!
Crowns aren't necessarily a fancy molding. In the case of your
contemporary look, it would be a clean and simple part.
#2.) Add a scribed trim board that matches the ceiling. Don't assume
the ceiling is flat. Scribe the part after the boxes are installed,
then cut and install the part.
#3.) Make the top even lower, and use the top of the case as a display
Any of the above will result in a better look than a 1/4" gap.
I always like to make a design limitation into a feature. But molding
doesn't seem like a contemporary solution, and would be very tedious to
cut and install around two dozen uprights. The idea is to have these
uprights emphasizing the verticality of the bookcases by projecting
about three inches beyond the bookshelves. The black uprights should
meet the white ceiling as simply and honestly as possible.
Sorry, I don't know what a "scribed trim board" is. Can you elaborate?
On Sat, 23 Feb 2008 09:41:24 -0600, Mr Downtown <"Mr Downtown"> wrote:
Scribing to a wall (or ceiling, or brick and stone work...) is a
basic trim carpentry and cabinet installation technique where the
board is cut to match the profile of the object it abuts. Rarely are
walls truly straight and flat, so a little extra material is left to
allow trimming. Trimming can be done with a jig saw, coping saw, belt
sander, planes and spokeshaves, whatever's handy.
By scribing the edge, you can get a really clean look, with no extra
moldings. It's expected, not optional, in good finish work, cabinetry
and built-ins. Some folks use extra caulk as a short cut in paint
grade work, but it still won't look as good.
I've tried to Google a good example, and this is the best I've found:
I have at least five books with better examples.
Thanks, but I didn't plan to have a trim board. I want the vertical
uprights to intersect the ceiling plane as cleanly as possible. It's a
concrete ceiling with popcorn coating and paint on it. I know it isn't
I could cut the uprights 1/4 inch short, put them on the base, and then
raise the platform base by 1/4 inch using a couple of car jacks. I had
planned for the fronts of the uprights to project beyond the platform
base by a couple of inches, and to extend all the way to the floor. But
it might be easier to hide or overlook a 1/4 inch gap at the carpeted
floor than at the ceiling.
On Sat, 23 Feb 2008 13:47:26 -0600, Mr Downtown <"Mr Downtown"> wrote:
I agree. You could also add a bottom trim (base) board to finish
where the carpet meets the shelf. I would typically cut and remove
the carpet and not install a built-in over it. New tack strip would
be installed in the proper place, with the shelving installed on the
The 1/4" gap at the top will look like crap. <G> You'll see the
popcorn quite a distance in, and never be able to paint it.
As for the top, which your design has nothing scribe... If you did,
it's customary to remove the popcorn where the board would install.
You'd scribe to the concrete only.
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