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Portable bookcase is light but strong.

Homeowners who need book storage but may need to move it when they remodel or relocate can make good use of this portable bookcase. The open-rib design, built of clear fir 2-by-2s, weighs considerably less than a comparable unit of solid lumber, and, although the shelves are filled with weighty books, the slats show no signs of bowing. Books hide L-brackets that anchor the bookcases to wall studs.

What you'll need

Each bookcase has five 7-foot uprights on each side and four 46-inch crosspieces for each of the six shelves. You can alter the dimensions we give below to suit your space; wider shelves, however, may require additional bracing.

To build one unit, you'll need ten 12-foot lengths (10 uprights and 10 crosspieces) and seven 10-foot lengths ( 14 crosspieces) of clear 2-by-2 fir. C-grade or better fir usually comes with eased (rounded) edges that reduce sanding time. Prices range from 49 to 69 cents per foot in coastal states; in mountain states, you may pay double.

Additional materials include stain or paint, six 3-foot lengths of 3/8-inch threaded steel rod, 24 3/8-inch fender washers and nuts, thread lock solution, wood glue, two 2-inch L-brackets, and four 1 1/4-inch #4 woodscrews. You can cut 1/2-inch plugs from a 3-foot length of 1/8-inch dowel. if you prefer side grain, cut your own plugs from scrap using a plug cutter,

Tools needed: a hacksaw, an electric drill With 7/16- and 1/8-inch bits, a socket wrench, a rubber mallet, a miter box, and a level. A doweling jig With 7/16- and 1/8inch guides helps center holes. A power sander saves time when sanding plugs. Cutting, drilling, and finishing To begin, cut ten 7-foot uprights and twenty-four 46-inch crosspieces. To bevel the top end of each upright, mark all four sides 112 inch from the top and make four 45' cuts; sand smooth.

Next, sort the wood for grain pattern and mark drill holes on the sides you want facing forward. If a crosspiece has a slight bow, orient its crown upward. On th uprights, mark holes 13 inches apart starting 6 1/2 inches from the bottom. Center holes in each crosspiece so they are half the wood's width from the ends. (Actual dimensions of 2-by-2s may vary from 17/16 to 1 1/2 inches; if the 2-by-2s' real dimension is I 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches, center the marks 1/4 inch from end.)

To drill holes for the threaded rods, use the 7/16-inch bit. For the four outside uprights, first drill 1/2-inch-deep holes for the plugs with a 1/8-inch bit and then drill the hole.

Sand all pieces and apply finish to everything but the front-facing and back-facing sides of the four outside uprights.


Cut twelve 15-inch lengths of threaded rod with a hacksaw (since dimensions of 2-by-2s vary, adjust length of rod to pass through nine 2-by-2s with room for washers, nuts, and plugs). Twist on a single nut so it's flush with one end of each rod, then add a drop of thread lock solution. Lay the two rear outside uprights on scrap wood or paint cans. Slip a washer onto each rod, then run the rods up through holes in the uprights. Assemble unit, alternating crosspieces with uprights. When the last upright is in place, push the rod up from the bottom, add a second washer, and twist on the second nut. Using the socket wrench, snug the nut, but not too tightly.

Stand the shelf upright and use the rubber mallet to settle crosspieces into place. Cut plugs and insert with a drop of wood glue on bookcase's rear side; when glue is dry, sand down plugs until flush and apply wood finish to untreated faces.

Position shelf against wall and use a level and rubber mallet to square it. Tighten nuts on bookcase's front side; secure bookcase to wall studs with L-brackets and woodscrews. Glue in plugs, sand, and finish front uprights' untreated faces. The builder bought enough lumber for four bookcases. It took her two weekends to cut, drill, and finish the pieces but only a day to assemble and mount the units. At coastal prices, each cost about $105 for wood and $25 for other materials.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1991
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