When we started our renovations, I stated that I had always wanted one room in my home to have a complete wall to wall bookcase. This was a perfect time for incorporating a bookcase since we were already redoing the entire living room. The room was centered with a flat screen television anchored on both sided by windows. It made sense for our bookcases to go around the windows, and the TV, making it a focal wall. And after we determined the size, we started the planning. It may help to make a simple diagram of the bookcase you’re about to make, noting the dimensions for each part. For our room we wanted to make the bookcase come apart if need be, in three sections, while still having structural integrity. Just like any good manager at any job, the need of patience, ability to be flexible, skills in planning and forecasting, ability to deal with problems effectively is vital for success.

After you have measured and picked out the wood type your going to use for the frame, you ready to cut. With your dimensions in hand, cut the top, sides, and interior shelves out of 3/4” wood stock that you have chosen. A good rule of thumb is to measure twice and cut one. You can always make something shorter, but not longer. Because we were doing three sections, which had to come together in the end seamlessly, we cut each section first, and then dry test ran them. Laying each piece across the floor, marking each of the sides of the shelves for their placement. Best way would to have each letter or number assigned on you template first.

Use a miter saw to cut the top, side panels and interior shelves to the appropriate length. The miter saw will make a cleaner, more controlled cut than the table saw, and is a better choice for smaller pieces of lumber. If your dimensions are too large to be cut on a miter saw, use a table saw, but take great care to make the cuts as clean as possible.

The interior shelves needed to be reinforced to hold more weight by cutting addition small 1/2 x 3/4 x length of wood for the shelve and fastening them with a nails gun and construction adhesive for each shelve to lay on. In addition, each shelve was then anchored in place with the same nail and glue method (except for where they must come apart). A good rule is to space the shelves 16 inches (on center) apart.

Ensure that your lines are straight and even again and each time you start and finish a section. Find the center location of your first shelf (Ours was centered around the TV) and lift the shelves in place, add a finish nails through the outside of the unit to hold the shelves in place. If you intend to hang the unit on the wall, you will want to glue and nail a 2” strip of wood across the back-top edge to use as a cleat. Make sure this cleat is flush with the back surface so the bookcase will mount flush on the wall.

With the unit built, it’s time to finish it off by covering the rough edges with nice finished piece of molding. Use wood glue and nails to attach the finish framing molding to the bookcase. Allow 24 hours for the wood glue to fully dry, and then sand it smooth and fill the nail holes with paintable or stainable wood putty. Use a tack cloth to wipe off any debris or sawdust created by sanding, and then paint or stain the unit to give it your desired look.