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Project Information

I built this bookshelf as part of the giant list of 2010 honey-do's. My wife wanted a bookshelf that would house all of the kid toys that were overtaking our living room. She also wanted it to not look kid-like. The ultimate plan is to move this into our home office once the kids get… um… less messy (does that ever happen?)

So I started with two sheets of oak 3/4" plywood and some oak lumber and a rough idea of making something that was indestructible, sturdy and simple. I'm limited in my tool arsenal, so curves or anything other than a straight line was and is out of the question.

I also used this project as the perfect excuse to buy a Kreg Jig. Yowzers is that a load of fun. I could probably hang my truck from my 2nd story window If I angled the screws correctly. Really sped things up and made it bullet-proof. I routed dados into the sides, glued and brad nailed the entire mess together and then came the frustrating part. The color.

I came home with arms full of mini cans of stain and presented them to my wife like a hungry street vendor. "You like this one? No… how about this one… I give you good price."


She honestly could find flaws with each pre-mixed color. Too dark, too red, to light, too… just too blah!

So I ran down to my computer and hit LumberJocks up for some advice. Thank you fellow LJs. I realized that I could mix stains. Well, I knew that already, but I was inspired to try it. I decided to create some dummy boards out of left over oak ply scrap and come up with a winning combination of colors that the wife loved.

So, some of the photos above show the original few coats of Minwax "Gunstock". After that dried, I hit it with a few light coats (Karate Kid wipe-on-wipe-off) of Minwax "Red Oak." After the final fumes danced their way out of my garage and I recovered from seeing dancing elephants, I coated the whole thing with Armor Seal.

The last photo is of me (6'-6" tall) in my super-manly pink shirt next to the finished project, before it was bombarded with books, stuffed animals and battery-operated toys that end up talking to one another in the middle of the night.

The cubby at the bottom really turned out as useful storage space. So much easier for the kids to toss stuff in there without having to stack it in an orderly fashion.

Project took longer than the boss had anticipated, due to the other 500 honey-dos, but I got it done and unless a nuke lands directly in the NorthWest corner of my living room, will be around for eternity.



116 Posts
Nice bookcase. I like the bin at the bottom too. With a jig saw to make a pattern then a circular saw to cut out the meet, that nice router in the pic w/a flush trim bit and a random orbital sander you can make some good looking curves. Just an fyi if you are interested in curves next time. It's probably not the way the pros do it but it works. I built a dresser/changing table and almost a crib with lots of curves using this method. Good job!

141 Posts
Very well built. It is probably full already. Time to build another one.