A rolling book rack with extra storage

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I started this one right before building our new dining room table, and finished it soon afterwards. Ellen had asked for a book shelf for the kids, but something that would let them see the entire book cover instead of just the binding, like a magazine rack in the store.

I knew what the general design would have to be. I mean, there's only way to build a magazine rack, right? That's right, an upside down pyramid. I'm only half-joking... πŸ™ƒ

The thing I struggled with was how to hide the screws. When you're building a piece of furniture, one option is to countersink the screws and then patch the holes. Another option, and the one I prefer, is to create pocket holes from underneath so they're completely hidden.

But if I constructed the shelf from the bottom up, starting with the lowest horizontal piece (the "floor" of the shelf, as it were) and then the first two vertical pieces (the "backing" for the books to lean on), then the next horizontal piece (the second level of the shelf) could only be attached by countersinking holes into the sides of the aforementioned vertical pieces.

What I ended up doing was constructing it from the top down. See that sketch on the right? I secured the topmost horizontal piece to the topmost vertical piece first, from underneath. Then I attached two sides with pocket screws using the Kreg Jig Pocket Hole Kit. Their tools hold up amazingly well, and their driver bits, drill bits, and pocket-hole screws aren't anymore expensive than other screws and bits. I can't recommend them enough.

After attaching the first two pieces, I drilled pairs of pocket holes next to the first 5 screws. That was so I could attach the sides with pocket-hole screws, and everything would be hidden inside the shelf - no filling holes necessary. It was a tight fit trying to insert those screws though...

Rinse and repeat. In short order, I had several more levels built, for a total of 5 on each side. I measured the space on the bottom shelf wrong, so it's only 3/4" thick instead of 1.5", but it worked out anyway - a lot of kids' books are pretty thin!

As I built this thing, even though I wanted it to be fairly thin, I couldn't help but notice near the bottom that there was a lot of wasted space lost inside the shelf. I was going to use the thin laminated wood for the siding, which I did, but I made a horizontal cut and used a couple piano hinges (one on each side) to expose the empty cavity behind the bottom two levels. A magnet and metal plate on each side holds the doors shut.

And voila - the finished product!

Lots of room on both sides, plus extra storage for swapping books out as the kids get bored. I added casters to the bottom so it can easily roll around on the carpet - though it's a little tough when it's loaded down with books!

Oh, and don't forget to find someone you really trust for quality control. πŸ˜‰πŸ‘


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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