Monday, July 11, 2016

Nixxing More Built-In Shelves

With our sons moved out, we're re-purposing rooms. My new study has a long wall that is begging for bookshelves and my collection of Arthurian Legends books needs to be displayed again. After building closet built-in bookshelves where I played with colors and making some new shelves in the kitchen where I used cherry plywood with stain and polyurethane, I've been tempted to give it a try in my study.


Look at the picture below from the excellent Home Depot DIY page on building shelves.
When you buy bookshelves from a store, those holes have been drilled by a machine. Given the size of my wall and the number of shelves it will hold, I would be drilling and drilling and drilling and drilling and ...

Well, you get the picture. A full day would be spent doing what a machine does in a few minutes. If I use inexpensive materials, I might come out a little bit ahead in terms of dollar costs, but the wasted labor hours would instantly obliterate any savings. Unless I plan to use materials like cherry and make shelves that are top-notch, I'm wasting my time building these myself. I'm a complete amateur at woodworking, so top-notch is out of the question unless I plan to spend a lot of time re-doing work that ends up sub-par.

Buying pre-made bookshelves is definitely the answer. If I want different and funky, I can always go to a consignment shop and get some antiques.


Kelly the little black dog said...

Are you going to post photos of the Cherry shelves in the kitchen? Like to see those.

I found that ordering unfinished bookshelves online is a pretty economical way to go. Wood costs are pretty high so while they seem expensive, they really cost about the same.

If you don't mind the look, you can get those track hangers and not have to do a lot of drilling. Something like these.

K T Cat said...

Kelly, I'll post those kitchen shelves tomorrow. I pulled out a trash compactor we never used and replaced it with shelves that mimic the existing cabinets.

I thought about the track shelving, but it looks too industrial to me. I want some style in the room which argues in favor of self-built, but I just can't see the month it will take me to complete the project in my spare time.

As an aside, one of the interesting things about getting old is how you start thinking in term of time you've got left to do things. Any long-term project must be evaluated against others.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Consider going to an unfinished wood furniture shop that can build to fit and finish to your specs, vice the stuff you can buy. This is what we did in our library. I have pics I can send you, and the shop's name and address, if you are interested.

K T Cat said...

Ohioan, that's an interesting idea. I'll check out some of those. Thanks!

IlĂ­on said...

Industrialization and division-of-labor (or specialization) strikes again!

Yes, in general, buying something is cheaper than making it yourself. Or, to put it another way, absent requirements for customization, purchasing the labor and expertise of someone who produces a good for a living tends to less expensive (of money and time and other resources) that attempting to produce the good oneself.

At the same time, it can be very gratifying to successfully produce the good oneself. And sometimes one may find that gratification to be of enough value to offset the extra expense.