Custom Built-In Floor to Ceiling Bookcase

This was a really enjoyable project perhaps because I like working with pine. The owner asked if I could built a floor to ceiling bookcase as nice as the 3 foot tall one she had in the location. I said yes though because I would do the work on-site I couldn’t make adjustable shelves with perfectly aligned holes for pegs. She measured her books and confessed she had never actually adjusted her adjustable shelves so gave me a dimension of 11 inches between shelves which had worked well for her existing shelf unit.

Right at the start I realized I needed to allow for some slack in the height in order to tip the unit into place. I decided to put a board on the top of the uprights after the bookcase was installed and tested that height once I had cut an upright to length. I tipped the board into place in the same location it would be when the unit was installed and it just cleared the ceiling. There was just enough room for the top board with an 1/8th inch of clearance.

To secure the shelves I used 1 & 1/4 inch ledgers and anchored them in place with some glue and brads. The brads helped hold them exactly on the line but not really enough strength for holding books so I angled some screws through the top of the ledgers into the uprights so the screw heads would be hidden by the shelves. I used my small router and fence to put a 1/4 inch grove in the back of the uprights, top trim and bottom shelf so the 1/4 pine panel backing would be flush. Then I attached the shelves with glue and screws into the end grain through the uprights. I predrilled with a forstner bit so I could hide the screws with pine plugs I cut with a plug cutter.

I removed and trimmed some adjacent door trim and sawed the baseboard in place with my universal saw and everyone was so impressed with the fit when the bookcase and trim were in place. Unfortunately the one picture I took shows neither the door trim nor the bookcase top installed. I will take more pictures next time I visit the house.


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