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Building a Wood Bookshelf

Add some extra storage to your favorite space. Watch a video of this and other half-day projects with host Steve Watson from Don't Sweat It.


3/4" oak plywood
wood glue
6 sets Euro-hinges
iron-on edge-banding to match plywood
220-grit sandpaper
3" screws


electric miter saw
table saw
brad gun
stain brushes

Before: Not Enough Storage


? When building a large wall unit, plan it in sections. The pieces will be easier to manage, as well as fit through doorways/up stairs.
? In this case, there was a radiator on the floor. Rather than trying to cut the cabinets around it, they designed the cabinetry to be wall-mounted and float above the radiator.
? Make the backs of the cabinets out of 3/4-inch plywood. It's a little more expensive, but stronger and you can attach the cabinet to the wall by screwing anywhere through the back.
? Euro-hinges are six-way adjustable. You can adjust in/out, up/down and left/right using the three adjustment screws in the hinge plate and mounting plate.

Figure A


1. Measure the space. Cut the plywood for both the top and bottom pieces to the desired width of the bookshelf. The sides need to be 1-1/2-inch shorter than the desired height of the finished piece. Cut the back piece the size of the finished bookshelf. Finally, cut all of the shelves 1-1/2-inch shorter than the width of the bookshelf.
2. If building the cabinet in sections, assemble each section separately (figure A). Glue and nail the sides, bottom and top into a perimeter frame.

Figure B

Glue and nail the back onto the box by lining one long edge and one short edge of the plywood back to the bottom and side of the box, making sure everything is square. Flip the box over, and glue and nail the shelves from the outside into place where desired (figure B).

Figure C

3. Cut the edge-banding a little longer than needed and iron it onto any expose plywood edges. Sand the edges smooth (figure C).
4. Cut the doors out of 3/4-inch plywood. Edge-band all doors using the same process.
5. Sand the entire piece and remove dust. Stain the cabinet and doors as desired.
6. Using the template provided by manufacturer, drill for Euro-hinges. As a general rule, cabinet hinges are usually four inches from top, four inches from bottom and one in the center if the doors are over 48 inches tall.

Figure D

7. Install cabinets by screwing through the back into the wall studs (figure D).
8. Install and adjust the doors. Screw the mounting plate to the side of the cabinet and snap the hinge plate that is attached to the door to the mounting plate.

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