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My husband and I are self-proclaimed "bookaholics" and have a large collection of books. We moved into our first house last October and want to find wood bookshelves to house our books. Obviously, we want them to be attractive and sturdy. We have had the pressed wood kind previously and not only do they look cheap, they sag with the weight of the books. When we look around for wood bookshelves to purchase, the prices are astronomical (over $200 for 2 shelves!). We would appreciate any advice on a reasonably priced, yet attractive way to house and display our books. I have looked at many websites. Perhaps there is one I have missed.
Jeannette H. in Milwaukee, WI
Homemade Wood Bookshelves
We are also bookaholics. My husband has made several beautiful bookshelves for our home. Our first was made from 2x4's and pine shelving (we use 2nd grade lumber = $$$ less). We found the pattern in a book called 2x4 Furniture - check the library for this book. It had so many great pieces of furniture. For our bookcase, the sides are made of 2x4's to look like a ladder. The shelves slide in from there. You can make the bookcase as tall and as wide as you would like. This type of bookcase can also be added on to using a "modular" system of stacking the shelves and "ladders". I stained my bookcase using a stain that had a finish coat in it. This bookshelf is very easy to assemble and disassemble for moving around the house or to a new residence.
We also have found that using old wood shelves (very wide shelves) that we found at a "junk" shop worked very well for making a nightstand/ bookcase for our children. I treated the wood with linseed oil to restore some moisture to the wood. My husband then made a simple box with two shelves. I stained and polyurethaned it and it looks great! The original wide shelves had come from a store and were used for storage. The dings in the wood just add to the charm of the bookcase. Our latest bookshelf is made of two 1x12's and pine shelves and the doors on the bottom-- a storage cabinet for games and puzzles are made from an old picket fence.
Friends have also used the MDF board (medium density fiber board) It works better than traditional pressboard and is cheaper than pine or particle board. It cuts like butter! Hope these suggestions help. Definitely visit the library and check out their crafts/ cabinetry/ furniture making books. Making the shelves has been very satisfying for us. It's time together that is helping to organize our home!
Cheap Ikea Bookshelves
You can find all kinds of bookshelves in the Ikea catalog. You can order it for free from their website Ikea.com.
Lowe's Cheap Bookshelves
We recently had the same problem - finding good quality bookshelves at a reasonable price. The only second hand bookshelves we could ever find were the ones that sag in the middle, and the high quality bookshelves were incredibly expensive. We finally found bookshelves at Lowe's that were made out of real wood and were attractive. The only drawback to them is that you have to stain it and assemble it yourself. I put spent a total of about 3 hours staining and assembling two. Each one is 32" wide, 48" high, and 12" deep. It has four adjustable shelves, not including the top. There is molding on the top and bottom. They fit in very nicely with the other furniture we have, which are antiques. The cost was about $110 each, but they are very durable.
Cheap Used Bookshelves
You might want to look at the newspaper ads for good used ones. All so let it be known among your friends and family that you are looking for these things. They might have some in storage that they are not using that they would be willing to give you for little or nothing.
Old College Bookshelves
Have you considered the old "bricks and boards?" These are sturdy, adaptable and inexpensive. Purchase high grade lumber (with no warp) one inch thick, the depth and length you want. Paint or stain the lumber. Use concrete blocks, glass bricks, decorative garden bricks or traditional red bricks as the uprights between boards. You can vary the heights of the shelves to accommodate the different sized books.
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