I have finished the basic build on the first music room bookcase! It still needs crown moulding and baseboard, and a few other finishing details, but for now, here’s how it looks so far…
I didn’t get a picture of the door opened all the way behind the bookcase, so I’ll have to show you that later. But when everything is complete, the door will stick out from behind the bookcase just enough for the peacock handles to show. 🙂
And once the bookcases are built, I’ll also add a piece that connects the bookcases along the top that will cover the door hardware between the bookcases. It’s hard to explain the plan, so that will be one of those “wait and see” parts of this project.
So let me show you how I went about this project. First, I measured how far away from the wall my bookcases needed to be, and how wide they needed to be. I cut a piece of 1″ x 2″ to the width of the back of the bookcase, and nailed it to the floor about four inches from the wall.
I repeated that on the ceiling by nailing a 1″ x 2″ board four inches from the wall. I actually went back and added a second 1″ x 2″ board nailed on top of the first one on the floor. I did that so that I would have something more substantial to nail to along the bottom once I started building the bookcase. I also added baseboards on the wall that will be behind the bookcase.
With the braces and baseboards in place, I painted everything that would be behind the bookcase black. I don’t know if any of this will be visible once the bookcases are finished, but just in case, I wanted everything back there to be completely dark.
Here’s how the whole wall looked at this point with the braces in place on the floor and ceiling on both sides, and everything that would be behind bookcases or the middle facade painted black.
Then I was ready to build the bookcase. I started by nailing the back piece to the braces that I had attached to the floor and ceiling using 16-gauge 2-inch nails.
You can see here how the back sits right up against the bottom brace that I attached to the floor.
Next I attached the side piece to the wall. This piece was 12 inches wide, and I placed it right up against the back piece and nailed it to the wall.
And then I added the other side. This side was wider since it had to sit back far enough to cover the 1 x 2’s that I used as braces on the floor and ceiling. I glued and nailed this side piece on to the braces, and into the edge of the back piece.
In order to keep these pieces square, and to give a platform for the very bottom shelf, I made a box out of 2″ x 6″ lumber to fit into the bottom of the bookcase. I nailed this to the MDF on all three sides to keep it in place. Before I nailed it into place, I made sure it was perfectly level and had to use a shim in the back corner to make it sit perfectly level.
Now generally at this point in building bookcases, I would add the braces for the shelves, and then add the shelves. I would do this before adding any of the finishing face pieces (i.e., rails and stiles on the front of the bookcase).
But this case was a little different. Since I was adding a light to the top, and decided to use an old work junction box for the light, I needed to be very specific with where I put this piece. It had to be far enough from the ceiling so that I would have room for the “tray ceiling” (more on that later) plus the crown moulding that I’ll be adding. So after cutting the hole in the top rail (using a jigsaw) and adding the junction box to the top rail…
…I went ahead and attached the two side stiles, and then I measured precisely where the top rail needed to go in order to clear the crown moulding at the top.
With that piece in place, I could measure exactly where the bookcase top needed to go. It had to go behind the top rail, but it also had to clear (and hide) the junction box. I added the braces (I use shoe moulding for this) for the top of the bookcase, but before I added the top, I ran the wire to the junction box while I still had access to this top area.
And finally I was able to add the MDF top to the boockase. It sat on top of the shoe moulding braces, and hid the junction box and wire. I actually ended up having to remove one of the side braces to get the MDF top to fit in there.
So I added the top and then replaced the side brace.
With the bookcase top and the top rail in place, I could mark and measure for the placement of the shelves. I did those the same way — shoe moulding braces along the sides and back, MDF board sitting on top (glued and nailed into place), and then a 1″ x 2″ board glued and nailed into the front edge of the MDF shelf
With the shelves, I had no problem adding all of the braces, and then putting the shelves into place, even though the side stiles were already attached. The only reason I had a problem getting the MDF top in place after attaching the braces is because the junction box got in the way.
So this process was different from the other bookcases I’ve made, and all because of that junction box in the top rail. But the good thing is that I can now use the measurements from this bookcase to make the other one. That means that I can make the other one in the correct order — attach the bookcase back, attach the sides, build the bottom 2 x 6 frame, mark and measure for shelf placement, attach the braces for the shelves and boockase top, add the MDF shelves and bookcase top, and THEN frame out the front starting with the side stiles and then the rails. It’s so much easier when you can build bookcases in the correct order.
I’ve got a long way to go on this project, and I’m still trying to figure out all of the minute details of how I’ll do the center piece that covers the hardware between the bookcases. I think I have it mostly figured out, but there are a couple of details that are confusing me. Hopefully I can get it all figured out and get the rest of it built today.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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