I finally got back to working on the basement... To get my motivation back up, I decided to work on the rest of built-in bookshelves I needed to do. This rendered image shows the plan:
This mainly shows the entrance to the theater room. The photos below are of the unit on the left.
Here is the rough opening. I framed it a couple of inches wider than the bookshelves to give myself plenty of room to adjust them. Wrestling the units into place is fun enough, without having to work with a tight space. Adding the extra shims on the sides only takes a minute.
Notice in the picture below that is there quite a bit of blocking above the bookshelf. The top of the opening is the original sheetrocked surface of the air-duct soffit, and this gap will be covered by the trim.
Why not build the bookshelves a couple of inches taller and take advantage of the space? The reason is the window opening to the left. I built these shelves so that the top would be even with the top of the window casing. This will make the top trim pieces line up horizontally. I have blogged about this in the past - slightly uneven trim heights are a sure indicator of an amateur job.
I installed the shelves as two pieces, with a 3/8" filler strip in between. This makes getting the units aligned a lot easier. The filler strip acts as a "hinge" to allow for a better alignment. If you put the two flat sides of the bookshelves directly together, you can have the following problems:
- they may not be exactly flat, and you have to force them together - if you can
- your wall may not be straight, and shelves won't easily align to the front surface, since they are a "solid" unit.
- when you are building your shelves, you don't have to countersink the side screws, etc.
This picture shows the front trim strips applied...
I find it much easier to put the front trim on after the units are in place. The vertical strip in the center covers the edges of both the units, making it look like a single large assembly. Since these are going to be painted, I just front-nail and them fill the holes. If this were finished wood, I would have made rabbited / dadoed trim that could be blind nailed.
Finally, since these shelves are under three feet wide, I could have made them using a single shelf all the way across. When I drew it up, it looked more utilitarian than I wanted. The cost to do it as two units was about $10 more, and i think it looks much nicer.
- Qty 1 - 4x8 sheet of 3/8" beadboard plywood for the back (Lowes) $20.
- Qty 1 - 4x8 sheet of 1/2" birch plywood for the sides (Shurway) $22
- Approx 3/4 of a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" birch plywood for the shelves (Home Depot) $28 as sheet.
- Approx 10 sf of 3/4" MDF (Home Depot) - $26 a sheet
- Total cost with glue, fasterners, etc. - $60. This does not include primer, paint or final trim outside time. So figure $80 for the whole thing.