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Create Your Own Bookshelf Using Recycled Cabinets

Apr 29, 2008
Recycled cabinets with a little bit of creativity will create for you a unique bookshelf or home library case. Why not position it near the window and provide a soft comfortable seat to resemble an exciting book nook? Add a little bit of vision and intermediate carpentry know-how and skill to custom build one for your home.

To make things easy, you can choose a simple design using reclaimed cabinets or inexpensive ready made units. Go ahead and find the perfect location. Maybe you have a south window so you can read your books while enjoying the warm rays of the sun. The light facing the north windows on the other hand, may be good for you since it is less intense and glaring on the eyes.

The ideal window is 30-40 inches of your floor. If it is any higher, the bookcase seating may not be properly lit. While if it is any lower, the seat may not support your back very well. The idea is to have bookcases on each sides of the window with a seat in between to provide a great corner to relax and read some books. You may want to take the opportunity to repair your old or broken window before you create your bookcase around it.

You can imagine your own design from scratch, but it will give you a little inspiration to look at hundreds of good kitchen cabinets from stores that are upgraded often. They are available at little or no cost to the cabinet store, and you can request one in your area to contact you when some units become available.

A "nook" is created when the two cabinet shelves are taller than the seat. If you can find a reclaimed matching pair of narrow cabinets, that's great. If not, you can slice a long cabinet in two. It is natural for you to get different cabinets and shelves, and you might be wondering how it can match if you put it all together. Of course there will also be screw heads to cover, and perhaps an imperfect cut. You can fix these flaws if you buy cabinet-grade veneered plywood (about a quarter of an inch thick) and cover all the visible cabinet surfaces. You can glue them on and then you can also add some solid-wood face frames that will cover the front edges of the shelves.

It is really nice if you can create a good book nook, but remember that safety should always come first. The main concern is that you ensure that these fully loaded bookshelves will not topple forward. This is very important since you are working with salvaged cabinets.

Your book nook should be fastened on the wall, and the upper shelves must be stable. To be sure, you must not be content with just driving screws through the back panels. You have to anchor strips that should be included in your shelf design. This is the key: install three-quarter-inch thick by four-inch wide solid wood pieces that will provide the strong foundation for mounting the screws that will extend into the wall studs.
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