From simple to elegant, three approaches to building a home for your books
When customers inquire about having a piece of furniture made, it's part of my job to ascertain what quality of furniture they're looking for and to translate their desires into a dollar amount that will equal the time and materials needed to complete the piece. The quicker the joineiy and constaiction and the cheaper the materials, the less expensive the piece. The woodworker building furniture in his or her home shop faces this same dilemma. Regardless of your skill level, you must first decide how much time and materials are worth putting into a piece.
Even if it's a project that's as straightforward as a bookcase, those considerations come into play. It's also worth thinking about where the case will reside and what it will be used for, whether you want a simple piece that fits in most any room or an upscale design that fits well in a formal living room.
In this article, I'll show how to make three variations of bookcases: a simple but sturdy case made of premilled pine purchased at a home center; a case with adjustable shelves made from hardwood plywood with solid-wood facings and moldings; and a solid-wood case with elegant moldings and classic ogee bracket feet. I'll leave it up to you to decide which case is the right one for your time, budget, and circumstance.
Philip C. Lowe runs The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts.
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