This set of free bookcase plans stems from a furniture project that went into my home office. My wife needed a bookshelf to store some of the kid's school things, but it needed to fit on a certain wall in the room. It also needed to be pretty tall to maximize the amount of storage space available.
As I was developing the bookshelf plans, I tried to make it simple to build. But I also wanted it to have a little more character than just a box with a bunch of 3/4" shelves in it. The result is now sitting in my office, packed full of stuff, and I think it fits the bill pretty well.
As I mentioned, the bookshelf needed to fit a certain wall in my office and be as large as possible. An overall width of 28" and height of 82" worked great.
Often, bookcase plans call for a depth of only 12". This seemed too small to me. I extended the depth to 14" to accommodate even the largest of books. The plans can be adjusted to nearly any size you like, as long as the shelves don't become too long to support their load without sagging.
Normally I suggest avoiding shelves that are more than 36" long. In this case however, you should be safe extending them to 48". The addition of a panel (or valance) along the front edge of the shelves serves to stiffen them. It also gives the bookshelf a bit more character than plain old 3/4" shelving.
A common practice with simple furniture designs, like bookcases and dressers, is to extend the wall ends to the floor. Then, a slightly recessed toekick is installed just below the bottom shelf, between the wall ends.
I like this look and it helps prevent the unit from tipping forward. So, I included it in the bookcase plans.
This bookcase could easily have been built as a simple box, much like a cabinet. But the recessed toekick gave me the idea to add the same detail to the top and to the adjustable shelves. You can leave off the valances, but they do add a nice detail without a lot of extra effort.
By adding the valances to the adjustable shelves, you also add a great deal of rigidity to the shelves. This allows you to build a bookcase with longer shelves and they won't sag under the heavy weight of books.
In this case, the extra strength is not needed. So the added valances are really just for looks.
If you're at all familiar with any of my other plans, you won't be surprised to learn that I built the bookcase out of white Melamine. It's durable and easy to work with, but any 3/4" panel will work just fine.
If you choose a wood veneer plywood or particle board, the valance panels at the toekick, top, and adjustable shelves can be made from solid stock to match the veneer.
Something I discovered as I was assembling the bookcase was that I had failed to edge band the top edges of the wall ends. For an 82" tall bookcase it's not a big deal since you won't ever see that edge. If you shorten the bookcase plans so that the top is below eye level, then the top edges really should be finished.
I'm kind of in love with my Kreg jig, so that's what I used to assemble the bookcase. If you're not familiar with pocket hole joinery, I encourage you to check out these videos. They do a pretty good job of demonstrating the basics.
In this case, pocket hole screws are particularly useful for joining the valances to the top, shelves, and bottom. I also used them, along with Melamine glue, for attaching the top and bottom to the wall ends. An alternative would be to screw through the wall ends into the top and bottom, but I didn't want visible fasteners in the wall ends.
The "nailers" are sort of a throw back to cabinet construction that serve to help keep the unit straight and square. They're glued and screwed to the wall ends, top, and bottom.
Overall, it's a pretty simple project. With the addition of the valances, and the right material, it will be equally at home in a casual office setting or the front room of your home.
Wherever you decide to put it, to view the bookcase plans just click here. If you'd like to download a copy to your computer, right click then "save-as". Either way, you'll need the Adobe reader to view the file.