Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit
Want a more finished look for your new shelves? Then consider taking the time to plan and construct a built-in shelf system. Tucked between two windows or between a wall and a window or door, it will take on the look of custom furniture, because you can plan it to fit exactly into your available space.
- Measure the Height and Width of the Area
- Mark and Cut the Panels
- Use Scrap Pegboard as a Guide
- Paint or Finish the Wood
- Screw the Frame On
Measure the Height and Width of the Area
Measure the height and width of the area where you'll install your shelving. For easy installation, build the basic unit 1-inch shorter than the height of your ceiling. Remove the baseboards. You'll cut them to fit around the shelving unit and reinstall them when everything is nailed in place.
Mark and Cut the Panels
Mark and cut the two side panels 1-inch shorter than your floor-to-ceiling measurement. Cut the shelving-unit top, bottom, and shelves 1-1/2 inches shorter than the unit's overall width. Measure and cut four 2x2 frame supports that also are 1-1/2 inches shorter than the unit's width.
Use Scrap Pegboard as a Guide
Using scrap pegboard as a guide, drill pairs of 1/4-inch holes along the inside of each side panel. Space pairs of holes about 9-inches apart horizontally and every 2-inches vertically. Drill the holes 3/8-inches deep, and use a depth-stop bit attachment or a scrap block of wood as a guide to make sure you don't drill all the way through.
Paint or Finish the Wood
Paint or finish the wood as you like before you assemble the unit. Then attach the side panels to the ends of the frame supports. Drive 6d finish nails through the sides and into the end grain of the frame supports.
Screw the Frame On
Tilt the unit into position flush against the wall. Using 3-inch wallboard screws and a screw gun, screw through the top rear frame support into the wall studs and through the bottom frame supports into the floor.
Attach the Bottom and Top Pieces
Attach the bottom and top pieces by driving 6d finish nails through the side panels into the end grain of the top and bottom. Replace the baseboards around the bottom of the shelving unit, cutting the pieces to size and mitring the ends as necessary. Similarly, cut and fit trim moulding around the top of the unit. Use a nail set to recess all nail heads. Finally, install the shelf pins in the desired holes, and fit the shelves in place.
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Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 5 hours
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