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text 2019-01-14 08:27
Voici! or, Mischief Managed.

From atop a ladder, just after I finished putting the last of MT's books up.

 

The view from ground level.  Not as invisible as I thought it would be, but not unpleasingly overpowering at all either.  Very happy with the result, if also a tad depressed about how little shelf space this actually freed up for me.  

 

I swear the books expand to fill the space without any help from me.

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text 2019-01-13 03:22
Notes from a desperate bibliophile: the 2019 edition

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). 

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text 2019-01-12 09:00
There's an air of desperation at la casa de los libros

 

Stay tuned... hopefully this is going to work...

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text 2018-07-19 02:06
Notes from a desperate bibliophile

Shelving.  That elusive infrastructure that literally supports every bibliophile's habit.  There's never enough of it; it's been in perpetual shortage since the first library in Alexandria was built and a new daily lament was heard:  We're running out of room for all these scrolls!!! 

 

This bibliophile has been especially challenged by her delusional idea that it would be good for her character to live in a small home (Learning to live with less will be good for me!).  Less of everything except books, of course.  Coupled with the equally delusional: I'll never fill this small "second bedroom" with books - this will be fine!, I'm constantly challenging the laws of physics, attempting to fit an infinite number of books in a very finite space.

 

I know a lot of my fellow bibliophile friends double-row their bookshelves.  I've never been able to stomach the idea, because, of course, I will immediately want/need the books in the back row and not be able to find/access them.  But I've been thinking about this ...  

 

Last weekend was spectacular, weather wise - pure sunshine and warmish temps - so I cajoled MT into rummaging around in our shed for scrap wood.  A bit of further sweet-talking and he sawed some of it down, left me with the hammer drill, self-drilling screws and a couple of cans of left over paint. The result was two of these:

 

 

I did the bare minimum putting these together: the quickest sanding, one coat of black paint and one coat of clear.  I eyeballed the location of the legs and hammer-drilled the screws in.  What are they?  Well, they're elevated shelves that are half the depth of my bookcase shelves.  In the bookcases, they look like this:

 

 

This is not the greatest picture for depth perception, but you get the gist.  They allow me to double shelf my smaller books, but still allow me to see the titles AND easily access the books in the back.  Finished it looks like this:

 

 

With the smaller books it works PERFECTLY (those are my Agatha Christie books).  I'm not as pleased with the look when I add the larger hardcovers, as you can see them on the right.  They fit fine, but they look too 'in your face', but I didn't want to waste the space.  I doubt I'll do more of these for my hardcover fiction, but I'm definitely going to cobble together some more for my smaller non-fiction books and my paperbacks.  

 

I figure this should buy me at least one month before I have to start stressing about bookshelf space again!

 

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photo 2018-05-14 15:02
The haul from the used book store
The haul from the Big Book Sale

SHELFIES!!!

 

So Friday was a rare book shopping day for me.  First, I went to the big charity event, Calgary Reads' Big Book Sale.  And I couldn't get in.  There was a Sheriff there, turning people away because there wasn't any parking!! 

 

So, I took a box of books down to my favourite second hand book shop and did a bit of recyling.  Out with the old, in with the "new." 

 

It took me 2 more tries, but I eventually got into the charity event too.  Not quite so successful there, but still a good stack of books.

 

Hope you all had a good Mothers' Day weekend too!

 

 

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