Bookcase Installation!

In a previous post I described the construction of some new bookcases (see here: ).  Construction is only half the battle, today I’ll go over the finishing and installation.


There are many options available to finish wood furniture including various oils, stains, and waxes.  I had some reservations concerning books absorbing oils long-term, so these bookcases were finished with a clear polyurethane.  This has the added benefits of penetrating into the wood and sealing the grain, and also flows into the joins and acts as a glue.  The cases all got two coats, then the horizontal surfaces were sanded to remove any imperfections which might scratch the book bindings.  Finally a third coat was applied to the shelves.
Here are the ten new cases with the shelves installed using shelf pins.  The cases are not particularly heavy when empty but are awkward to handle.  They are relatively easy to move about if there are no obstructions.  For the flooring installation, all the books currently in the house must be temporarily relocated to the new shelves in the garage, then the old bookcases can be moved out when emptied.
To move the books I constructed a box and secured it to a handcart with zip ties.  The box is sized to allow the entire contents of one shelf to be moved as a load.  This helps keep the books organized, and is much easier than boxing them or moving stacks of books by hand.
Here a row of cases is being installed along a wall, starting from the center and working out.  The books were transferred in sections, with the cases being moved as they are emptied.
There is gap of approximately 2.5 inches on each side.  To give the bookcases a finished appearance, the gaps are filled with a strip of scrap board.  The small strips of scrap visible screwed into the walls near the ceiling are to support a shelf section to cover the gap in the corner.  If books or a cat (ask me how I know) gets down into the corner between bookcases it is a real pain to empty and move a case to get at them.  Best to just “put a lid on it”.
Another more important precaution is to anchor your bookcases, or any large and heavy piece of furniture for that matter.  It only takes a minute to set a screw or two and could easily prevent damage or injury if the piece should fall over.  Here I have anchored the top strip to the wall studs with two screws, one is enough to prevent the bookcase from falling.
Where the cases go into an outside corner I have filled the gap with insulation.  Probably overkill, but it will reduce the heat transfer from the void area.
Over doorways and windows, the area between the cases is spanned by a long shelf.  This is supported by shelf pins on the outer sides of the cases and the back support is screwed into the wall studs.
A view of the finished installation showing six of the ten new cases.  The other four are in the adjacent corners, out of frame to the left and right of the picture.  In the center is what Ms. Inch High still calls a Dining Room table, but as you can see it is actually a Library table for laying out reference books for research.