Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to: Build a base/riser for a bookshelf

Okay, so I've already covered how we received our barrister bookshelves, and I think I mentioned that they would be placed in the library.  What I didn't mention is that they've actually been living in our living room for the last month.  Why?  Well, to be honest, because the basement floods.  A lot.  And I wasn't terribly inclined to put our "new" bookcases right onto a floor that could at any time magically transform into a swampland.  Solution?  A riser!
Now, you can totally purchase a riser made specifically for barrister shelves.  You can even purchase plans to build one.  I wasn't particularly interested in spending more money than necessary, nor in finding something that put form above function.  I just needed something to keep my shelves (and the books inside) dry.

One quick trip to Lowe's later (and yet another opportunity for Sandy to serve as family pick-up), and I was home with three 2 x 6's eight feet long, two packages of l-brackets with screws, and a small can of black paint (a pint?).  I quickly measured my bookcases and sketched out a plan, then mapped out the required cuts on the lumber.  Luckily for me, I only needed two of the 2 x 6's, so I got to return one on Saturday (J's car Irene actually got play pick-up truck for once!).

I took the wood outside to cut everything down (Note to self:  ask for a circular saw for Christmas--cutting a 2 x 6 with a jigsaw is tedious), then hauled it downstairs to put everything together. 

(Another note to self:  while it seems logical to put something together in the room in which it will be used, perhaps one should pre-drill holes outside...not on the freshly cleaned carpet...)

Putting the riser together was fairly simple. I'd purchased two packages of l-brackets, which come four to a package, and as you can see in the plan I sketched (above), I had two end pieces and a center piece for structure.  To be extra secure, I actually braced the center piece on both sides, I used all eight brackets.  To start, I pre-drilled and secured all of the brackets to the back piece.  Then, I attached the short pieces, and then finally attached the front piece. 

Finally, after everything was securely screwed in place, I painted the outside of the riser black.  Why black?  So that visually, it will fade away when someone looks at our bookcases.  While I wanted the extra height that the 2 x 6 offered in a riser, I do sort of wish I had just used a 2 x 4, which would have blended better with our baseboards in this room. 

For a quick and easy project (that got the bookcases out of our living room and into the basement where they belong), I'm happy with the end result!

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