Yesterday, I posted a teaser photo of a project I'd tackled:
Like any self-respecting bibliophile, I lie awake at night (ok, mornings) and contemplate how I can manipulate time and space to create more room for books. Several weeks ago, as I lie contemplating, and imagining someday turning my room into a library (were we to ever renovate), I noticed the space above my wardrobes:
I'm thinking to myself: that's a lot of wasted space ... I could pile books up there, but that would look messy. And desperate; maybe a tiny bit hoarder-ish. But if I put shelves up there...
So I started looking around, and found nothing that wasn't cheap particleboard/MDF, and it wasn't actually cheap. Nor anything that would look right. Then I started imagining what "right" would look like, and I realised it didn't have to be complicated. Sturdy, yes, but otherwise, the simpler the better.
I am a crap carpenter, but I can do simple. Especially if I can get cut to measure lumber. A quick bit of searching and I found a place 10 minutes away that would cut anything except plywood for free. (The big box hardware store - a store I hate on principle - only does it in certain locations, though they don't tell you which ones, and charge you for each cut.)
I measured, then sketched out what I wanted/needed, and headed to the lumber/timber store. An incredibly nice, patient staff member helped me out, showing me the pine posts I'd planned to use. He got called away just long enough for me to spot the Cypress posts they had in stock, and when he returned saw me admiring them. He made the off-hand comment that they were much cheaper than the pine, which was pressure treated; something I'd wanted to avoid. Then he helped me decide how to do the tops and fronts without using plywood, pick out all the wood, and then he cut it all to size for me. Total cost for all the wood, some L-brackets and a packet of self-drilling screws (best. invention. ever): less than $250AU (about$180US).
MT was on the sidelines due to a painful rheumatism flare-up, which he was not happy about, but while I was out running around the lumber-yard, he was using the time wisely. He pulled all his books off the top of the bookcase they'd been piled on precariously, in preparation for their new home.
He refused to take a picture of what they'd looked like before on the grounds that he wasn't sure he couldn't be charged with reckless endangerment after the fact. But to give you an idea: he had 151 books piled on top of an extended IKEA Billy Bookcase (the wide one).
I got home and sealed it all up with a clear acrylic; cypress has to be sealed but the grain was too beautiful to hide. At the same time, MT painted the top boards black - they were untreated pine and soooo did not match the cypress. Not even in a funky, eclectic, non-matchy way.
That was all yesterday. This morning, I marked everything up and stared putting it all together:
There are two sizes: 25cm (~10 inches) and 50cm (~20 inches). There's a hardwood cross-bar in the front of each one to act as a back-stop for the books that sit in front. 16 screws hold each unit together. Since they're sitting on wardrobes that are a bit over 3 meters (just over 12 feet) high, I did not stress the finishing touches, like covering the screws.
The hardest part was getting them up on top of the 'robes - they're HEAVY. But once we did:
They fit just as I'd hoped they would, and now give us three tiers of space for the books we want to keep, but likely won't need to access more than a couple of times a year, if that.
We're in the process of combing through the library for the books to add, but here's what it looks like so far.
I'll post a final picture once all the books are up there (we had to take a break; it's like the stairmaster from hell hauling the books up the ladder).