Woodworking Project: Built in Book Cases

My wife and I are extremely voracious readers. In our house devoid of a great book you just read is nearly a criminal offence. Unlike plenty of readers today who use digital book readers just like the Amazon Kindle, we enjoy hard copy books. But that enjoyment comes with a cost, and that cost is where to maintain books. You see we have books not read, individuals been read, enjoyed and perhaps read again someday, and those which were so enjoyable that individuals can’t spend. To help alleviate the storage issue we thought we would make a floor to ceiling book case inside our family area. Over the next number of posts, I will take you through the steps involved with building and installing the bookcase.

Our property is a 1970’s split level. The main level was built at grade level, and also the lounge room and laundry/utilities room were built below grade. The walls with this lower level really are a combination of cinder blocks and studded walls. The cinder blocks bring the walls from your floor level with a height of 31″ where conventional framing gets control of, bringing the walls to some natural 8′. The cinder blocks are wider as opposed to studded walls. This difference in width creates a help the wall. The builder of the property chose to highlight this offset by creating a shelf at the top of the cinder blocks. This shelf is made of 3/4″ particle board, YUK. This “wonderful” wall treatment covered two adjacent walls inside our family area, The remaining two walls were built we conventional framing floor to ceiling.

On the leading wall of your home, we decided to eliminate this offset. Well certainly not eliminate, we chose to build your wall in order that it has a single depth. Our original plan ended up being to simply remove the particle board shelf, exposing the top with the cinder blocks, followed by removing the sheet rock through the shelf towards the floor. Then make a stud wall together with the cinder blocks, bring the top of wall out until it turned out even using the face with the cinder blocks. Our plan was then to add another layer of sheet rock, adhering it for the cinder blocks on the bottom, and after that securing it on the stud above using conventional sheet rock screws. When we removed the sheet rock in the lower portion from the wall ( from the shelf towards the floor), we found an upsetting surprise. NO insulation. This was the initial of many surprises we located in the home, but that’s a narrative for the next time.

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So on plan B. I built two walls, one was simple 2×4 construction on the bottom from the wall. This wall was secured on the floor using concrete anchors. The spacing of this wall was conventional 16″ on center, providing space for R 11 insulation. On top on this wall I built a second wall, This one is made of 2X8 studs which are ripped down to 7″, the width had to bring the upper wall flush with all the lower wall. This wall was secured to the lower wall, the ceiling studs and on the existing upper wall. The upper wall was then insulated with R23 insulation, before being covered with sheetrock that runs in the floor to the ceiling a single contiguous piece.

While plan B was more work, it did provide an unforeseen benefit. With the original construction, all with the electrical outlets was installed with the builder above the shelf. After deconstructing the wall, I understood why this was done, but none the less, it turned out below ideal. Who wants electrical outlets halfway in the wall. This may be okay inside work shop but not inside the home. So while I had the walls open, I took advantage and moved the outlets on their normal location.

Another by product of the upgrade was the windows within the living room. The house included aluminum windows that leaked badly in the wintertime and summer. In fact the thing these windows did well ended up being provide sun light to enter the home. So as occur in most home renovations, another thing brings about another, which brings about one more thing, and so on and on. The two windows which are positioned in this wall were removed and replaced with quality casement glass windows. The windows we choose are mounted towards the outside in the window opening, using a flange. When mounted using this method, there is certainly space from the inside edge of the window for the face of the finished wall. This space has to be covered. Some modern builders will decide to simply run sheet rock out to meet of the question, being a woodworker…I couldn’t do that.

The manufacture in the windows we choose offers trim to cover the therapy lamp. It is known as “Jam Extenders”. Unfortunately for me personally, they simply offer this in conventional widths, which might be sized for whether 2×4 or perhaps a 2×6 studded wall. Our walls less complicated thicker than that, so I built them during my shop. Besides the ones offered by the manufacturer were produced from finger jointed items of stock, definitely not well suited for staining. Again as being a woodworker, I prefer stained woodwork over painted woodworker any day. So I spent a day making oak jam extenders because of these windows.

Back towards the built in book case. The adjacent wall, ended up built employing the same “quality” methods as the initial wall. No insulation on the cinder blocks, and electrical outlets mounted half way up the wall. This wall also featured an aluminum sliding window. This window offered an excellent view in the side of our neighbor’s home, and leaked just as badly because two double hung windows which are removed from your front wall. After a long discussion, oh about 5 minutes long, we elected to get rid of the window entirely. It was replaced by the upper half of the book case. The area covered by the cinder blocks was turned into the lower portion in the book case. But enough for today. How about checking last a few days to get a detailed discussion on building and installing the bookcase.