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Thread: paperback book organizer planning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Central (upstate) NY
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    paperback book organizer planning

    I need to organize my paperback collection. This will promote marital bliss and help with my shop organization, as I will be able to repurpose a steel rail shelf system for the shop.

    My plan is to build a big box out of plywood and have 3 pull-out bookcases in them. Each bookcase will be wide enough to hold two paperbacks.

    I may do assembly / finishing in the basement where the bookcases will be located, but I am planning around the basement doorway for evntual moving purposes. The basement doorway is 31.5" by 74.5". The width between the railing and the opposite wall going up the basement steps is 32".

    A paperback is 4.25" wide, and either 6.75 or 7.5" tall. So two paperbacks gives 8.5". I'd like to have 1/4" plywood down the middle of the shelves to separate the books, and at least 1/4" clearance to the outside of the shelves, so I'll make the shelves 9.5" wide. Each shelf should be about 1/4" apart from each other (and the carcass), so three shelves gives a width of 9.5 x 3 + 1/4 x 4 = 29.5". If I use 3/4" plywood for the carcass I'm up to 31.0", I have 1/2" to spare with this. OK, we are theoretically possible.

    More thoughts to come later.

  2. #2
    I made simular shelves that pull out from under my work bench and used regular full extension slides one at the top and one at the bottom. By positioning them on edge (like they are used for drawers) I lost about 1.5" at the top and bottom but I was able to use lower cost slides when compared to the heavy ones used for kitchen pantry. Also I have found a stronger 1/4 plywood at Lowes by looking for flooring underlayment. This may not be super nice faced but it is multipule ply and void free to support flooring. It is my new material for drawer bottoms and case backs. The version at our local flooring business was nice birch faced but not a full 1/4 thick but still 3 plys plus the face venier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Carcass construction:

    I'm thinking 1/2" maple ply for the sides (only a little more than birch and I'm using real maple for the bookshelf fronts - might as well spend the little extra). Any reason not to use 1/2"? It will need to support it's own weight, at worst a 3/4" plywood top and I plan on putting a single shelf for more paperbacks on top (the ceiling prohibits more than one paperback high on the top).

    I'll make dadoes on the inside of the side pieces to hide the plies of the bottom, top and back pieces. The top and back pieces are likely to be flush to edges of the side pieces, but I plan to have the dado for the bottom piece upward a bit from the bottom edge of the side pieces in order to provide some skirting to give the casters some obfuscatory ability. (Ever since Jim wrote obscotulate I've wanted to use obfuscate - it's his fault! )

    In addition to glue, I am going to use some symmetrically placed finishing screws - this is going to be the biggest project I will have done, and I don't want my clamping ability to be a major oops factor. The screws are black, 1 5/8" long and take a #1 square drive.

    I am going to use 1 1/2" plywood (probably just an exterior grade - picking up some construction leftovers from a friend tonight) for the bottom. I plan on laminating to acheive this, so that I can use 1 1/4" lag bolts for the casters with no protrusion. Maybe I can make little decorative v's with the finishing screws here.

    How do I pull the shelf units in and out?

    My original plan was to use immovable casters on the bottom of each shelf unit to ride on the bottom panel of the bookcase, with the frontmost part of each shelf supported by a swivel caster on the floor. I would need to have the bottom panel either shorter than the depth of the carcass or make cutouts to accomodate these front casters. I will look into drawer slides for this purpose. I will need to use top / bottom mount slides though, as I don't think I have the clearance for side mount.

    Side mount drawer slide analysis:

    I could cut an inset into the top and bottom of each shelf unit, that will have no effect on overall width. Using 1/2" ply for the sides gives me 30.5" overall width. Assuming drawer slides are 1/4" thick for side mounts That takes up the 1/4" allowance between the outer shelves and the carcass sides. That leaves me an extra 1" to play with for the two spaces between outer and inner shelves, combined with the 1/4" current allowance, this gives 3/4" for each such space, meaning I'd need to use 1/4" material to support the slides? No, I think that side mount drawer slides are out - I'm already close to my ability limit to meet tolerances already.

    Speaking of dadoes, do I use the stacked dado set on the RAS in rip mode or the router with the EZ Smart (or, I suppose, the router in the table)? If router, should I invest in some plywood actual size bits or are my existing nominal size bits (i.e. 1/2", 3/4" instead of the 15/32" and 23/32") acceptable? I could make two passes with an undersize bit, but this idea makes me think that there is twice the chance for error.

    The shelf units:

    I still need to figure out the height of the shelf units and the distribution of tall to normal height paperback capacity. I need to decide how to pull the shelf units in and out first though.

    I'm going to use maple (hardwood, not plywood) for the faces and probably construction grade for the backs, which will live inside of the carcass. If I can find 9.5" shelf melamine prepainted on all sides I'll probably use that. Otherwise, maybe I'll try my hand at edge banding some reasonably good looking plywood with some maple strips - likely to be again construction grade here, maybe just 1/2", since I'm going to run some 1/4" ply (luan or that floor underlayment stuff) down the center of each shelf. I'll maybe put a 1/8" deep 1/4" wide dado down the middle of each shelf top and bottom to help align the luan dividers. This means I'll need to remember to add 1/4" to the height of each shelf divider.

    Finishing:

    Gah! This project is going to be huge! I don't know that my usual wipe on Bush Oil is the answer here. Maybe I could spray it? I'll need to buy a sprayer... Is there a good HF sprayer? I'd like to run it off my compressor - I have the smaller of the large stand up Husky units, I think it is a 60 gallon tank, in the shop proper. Maybe this will be assembled in the basement and brought up to the shop for finishing. Zounds, what am I getting myself into with this?!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Mark, the Harbor Freight HVLP guns like this and this seem to be well-regarded on the hotrod forums I've seen. I've seen positive comments about these guns from guys who paint cars for a living. They are not top of the line, but they are said to do a fine job at about 1/10 the price of the high-end pro guns.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    I really need to get my act together now. My wife and I went out waterfall hunting earlier today and stopped by the closing Home Depot on the way home. They had almost everything I needed to make the paperback bookcase so I went home, got the truck, returned and bought the stuff. The shelves are going to be 9.75" wide and I'm using 3/4" birch ply for the sides. I hope this will work: 3/4" x 2 + 9.75 x 3 + 0.25" x 4 = 2.5" + 27" + 2.25" = 31.75". Ok, side to side is going to need to be the railing to wall dimension for movement, as I have 32" clearance there. I'm going to be working on a very tight tolerance here - my pucker factor has just increased.

    I want to get the carcass built tomorrow, so I need to know exact sizes now. I still haven't figured out shelf height distribution yet, but I will build the carcass to the moving dimensions and work from there when I start building the shelf units. I'm going to put the shelf units on non-swivel casters inside the carcass. There will be two casters in the back and the middle (each - a total of 12 fixed casters) and then each shelf unit will have one swivel caster in the front that contacts the floor. I'm going to make a cutout in the bottom to accommodate this.

    Sides:

    Maximum depth for the total unit is 31.5". I'm going to be using 4/4 maple for the fronts, so let's call this 1" to have room for error. The sides therefore will be 30.5" wide at most. I'll plan on removing the slide pulls for moving. The maximum height is 74.5". While I want to provide some skirting for the casters on the base of the carcass, they obviously cannot drag on the ground, so let's make the sides 73.5" tall.

    Top and bottom:

    I am going to use the router with EZ Smart to make the dadoes in the sides and back. Actually, I'm not sure if I will dado the back. The top and bottom need to be identical, with the width of top and bottom identical to the width of the back. This width needs to be exactly (31.75 - 2 x (non-dadoed wall thickness)). If I succeed at making 3/8" deep dadoes, this measurement will be 31".

    Order of work:

    Cut the sides to 73.5" by 30.5"

    Rout dadoes in the sides:
    Target depth for all dadoes: 3/8"
    flush along the top and back 3/4" wide
    verify that casters are 2" tall and then make dado beginning at 1.5" from bottom (this will be a 1.5" wide bottom to accommodate the double thick plywood bottom)

    Cut back to 31.75" less twice the remainder material thickness of the dado wall and 73.5" tall

    Cut top and bottoms to 30.5" - 0.75" = 29.75" deep and the same width as the back

    Then assemble and hope it stays square throughout the assembly process. I'm planning to use the speed square and clamps to get things started. I'm definitely going to be using finishing screws in addition to the glue.

    Right now I feel a little bit like I am going to be going above my abilities with this one. Well, I guess my abilities will be that much higher when I'm done!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post
    Finishing:

    Gah! This project is going to be huge! I don't know that my usual wipe on Bush Oil is the answer here. Maybe I could spray it? I'll need to buy a sprayer... Is there a good HF sprayer? I'd like to run it off my compressor - I have the smaller of the large stand up Husky units, I think it is a 60 gallon tank, in the shop proper. Maybe this will be assembled in the basement and brought up to the shop for finishing. Zounds, what am I getting myself into with this?!
    John used to use the HF sprayer, and sprayed waterborn poly with no issues, using a porter cable pancake compressor.
    -Ned

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Ned sent me a PM reminding me that I was at post 499 and that I should make post 500 a good one - defined, by him, as lacking reference to the roof status of his shop.

    I did not get as much done toward the paperback organizer as I had hoped this morning. Pretty much all I accomplished was to cut the sides. Then the dark clouds were right overhead and the temperature had dropped significantly. Of course, an hour after I decided to call it a day, it hasn't started to rain. Why does the threat of rain bother me in my one car garage shop, you ask? Well, I just plain do not have room to have my EZ Smart table set up in the shop, and, instead, move to just outside the garage overhead door for my EZ Smart usage.

    Of course, I hadn't planned to even have materials for another two weeks, so I'm actually still ahead of the game.

    Here are the two sides inside, under cover.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I also made some minor improvements to the EZ Smart table - I added the little blocks to keep the support pieces from falling out of place while stored. The ones screwed to the bottom of the table (when stored) rotate out of the way for use.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'd like to keep all of my paperback organizer posts in this thread even as I move from planning to execution. I hope that is ok.
    Last edited by Mark Kosmowski; 06-01-2008 at 04:56 PM.

  8. #8
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    I routed the rabbets in the side pieces for the top and back. I double and triple checked my alignment to make sure my top and back positioning were correct after reading Vaughn's orientation lecture.

    I decided to make the top part set down inside a lip on the sides. As Stu always says, think feature not error!

    I still need to cut a dado for the bottom piece, but I am going to cut the top, back and bottom pieces first, so it is back to calculation time. My rabbet / dado depth is 3/8" (why, why did I not remember to go metric when I first started planning this project? ), leaving ~3/8" of plywood left on the side pieces where the top, bottom and back pieces will fit into the side rabbets and dadoes. My tolerances are tight, but not so tight as to need an actual measure of the plywood depth remaining after rabbeting. Besides, the plywood is slightly under 3/4" (it is actually 18 mm, and 3/4" = 19 mm - at least those two wrench sizes are freely interchangeable) - I can safely absorb 2 mm across the whole unit.

    As an aside, Ned stopped by while I was working on this - the Lowe's is about 2 miles from my place - and the dogs, as usual, started barking fiercely from inside. I showed him the rabbets I had cut so far and carefully explained that the dogs were barking because they knew there were rabbets just outside and not at Ned. (We pronounce rabbet and rabbit more or less the same over here.) Ned groaned - I was happy to start of his vacation weekend with a really bad pun!

    Ok, back to planning. The sum of material left behind is ~3/4" side-to-side. My back piece thus needs to be the same height as my side pieces and 31" wide (see post 5). I will not be cutting rabbets into the back piece, so my tops and bottoms need to be 3/4" less in each dimension than the specifications for overall width and depth. This is 31" by 29 3/4" (again, see post 5).

    I'm going to go ahead and cut the back from the remaining sheet of birch plywood. The bottoms will be from some construction grade pine plywood. I have a choice for the top - either a single piece of construction grade pine or two pieces of birch ply. I'm leaning toward the birch ply.

    More updates later. It is hot out - my motivation to go back out there wanes. On the other hand, I really want to get the carcass assembled this weekend if only to get all of the plywood out of my congested shop space.

  9. #9
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    Ok, I have the back panel cut now as well as the bottom pieces (I'm using two squares of 3/4" construction grade plywood laminated together as the bottom). The bottom pieces are glued and screwed together, letting the glue dry.

    After writing my plan, I realized that I could cut my bottom pieces to match the side panel size minus the back panel rabbet. This turned out to be 76 cm. I planned to cut them to 30" wide. Then I learned that the difference between 30" and 76 cm is pretty much exactly the width of my circular saw blade kerf. So the bottoms are 76 cm square.

    While cutting the bottom pieces (done after the back piece) I started feeling some rain drops. I even walked out into the open and raised my arms like the guy in Platoon to make sure I wasn't just sweating on myself. Sure enough, there was some rain drops falling. So I quickly, in a panic, pulled in the power tools and brought in the various birch plywood project pieces and offcuts.

    By the time I had gotten all of this inside, the rain hadn't really done more than a couple drops, so I cut out the bottom pieces. It is very hot outside for me here, so I am taking a break while the bottom lamination glue sets.

    Before I can begin carcass assembly I need to cut the top piece(s). I am still heavily leaning toward two pieces of birch plywood rather than one piece of construction grade. I then need to rout the dado in the side pieces for where the bottom piece will live. I did set a caster on the bottom to measure where to place the bottom piece dado in the side pieces. Once these two tasks are complete it will be time to assemble the carcass, so I am still on schedule for carcass assembly this weekend.

    Once the carcass is assembled I'll take some pics.

  10. #10
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    Got the top pieces cut out (i'm going to piece together two offcuts of the birch ply instead of using one piece of construction grade ply) and the dadoes routed in the side panels for the bottoms.

    Taking a break now to cool off and stop sweating. Assembly either tonight or tomorrow morning. Pics then.

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