TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

How To Make A Bookshelf At Home

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????If you are looking for step-by-step instructions on how to make a bookshelf, then follow the points given in the article below:

Prepare your tools – the first thing is a time saving measure. Make sure you have all your tools ready, so you can focus on the building process.

Measure the space – obviously, your bookshelf is going to be located in a certain place, so measure the space. Do this a few times to get an accurate gauge (and create a snug, professional fit). While bookshelves are traditionally 12′ or 16′ deep, you can adjust this to your own needs.

Number of shelves – generally, bookshelves come in three, four or five shelve units, but you can make this decision based on your storage needs.

Timber selection – what type of timber do you want to use? This is important to do first, so you can buy the correct length of boards needed (without wasting money). If you are unsure, choose plywood. For something more special, select walnut, teak or mahogany (note these are much more expensive).

Draw the measurements on the timber – draw on the non-face sides of the timber to mask your pencil work. Always take the thickness of the saw blade into account, and note (mark down) if the board is a side, shelf or top/bottom piece (this avoids confusion later).

Cut the timbers or boards – you may need a friend to help you here. It is important to cut the timber along the correct lines, so it will need to be balanced when sawing. Use a table saw or a circular saw. Ensure that you cut the timber at a consistent rate  to give a cleaner cut.

Begin by cutting the sides of the bookshelf. Cutting the longest boards first will give you the basic framework to work from, and you can construct the bookshelf dry (without screws). Remember to use a straightedge guide when sawing, and note the face-side so you don’t damage it.

Next, saw the top and bottom pieces of the bookshelf, as well as the shelves. Choose the least attractive piece of timber for the bottom. Always factor the width of the saw into your measurements.

Cut the rabbet joints – rabbet joints are grooves cut into the timber. Using this technique will let the top of the bookcase fit neatly on to the two sides, creating a seamless joint.

Drill the holes for the shelves – it is best to have adjustable shelf options (for various book sizes), so drill accordingly. You will need a pegboard at this stage. Place it on the sides of the bookshelf and clamp it in place. Drill the center shelf-placement first, and then drill holes 4″ above and 4″ below the center shelf.

Drill the holes 1/8″ deeper than the peg’s length. Now, push in the pegs. Put the center and bottom shelves in place, and then add the other shelves accordingly.

You will now have the basic bookshelf compete. Ensure that it is square and well balanced. You can add additional features such as trim or a back board, if you wish.


DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.

Ted Leger –


Updated: November 10, 2014 — 1:26 pm
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