May 7 - 13 2023: Issue 582
Mother's Day 2023 DIY Idea: A Basic Bookshelf You Can Make For All Mum's Books
Do these need a place that's not a stack on the floor or hidden away where the spine cannot be read and she does not know where a certain title is?
How about making her this basic bookcase for Mother's Day this year? - its easy, won't take too long, and it will give her a home for all those books she uses regularly and what's more, when you use a bookshelf you can fit so much more in than what can be seen in those stacks on the floor.
We used discarded cedar boards for this one, which is why it has that rich red colour, but you can just get some lengths from Johnson Brothers Hardware in the Mona Vale store and buy them in the timber you want to use - some are great for showing off other grains and colours, while others are great for areas that may get a bit damp.
Recycled timbers are nice but they do sometimes come with nails you have to pull out and then fill those gaps, scars in the wood, or even burn marks. However, our DIYer was pretty happy with the result here as he stated 'better than it going in the bin' and was around 800 hundred dollars cheaper than one bought just weeks before this, for other books, that was not only inferior in timbers, how much it could store, and what it looked like - it also had to be put together from a kit which cost around a half days in wages too.
You need to think about cost when making a bookshelf using timber, with the timber chosen comprising the bulk of what your expenses will be. Although some woods look great when sanded, stained and then polished, they can be the more expensive ones to use - ash, oak, teak and walnut are usually the most expensive, while softwoods are more economical.
First let's share a little about the timber types you can choose to use.
The most common type of cedar is western red. As this name implies, it is red in colour. It is relatively soft but straight grained and is mostly used for outdoors for furniture, deck handrails, wall cladding and window frames because it resists rotting in moist environments. Cedar can be relatively inexpensive, although it has gone up in price and can be hard to source.
One of the most common species in Australia is eucalyptus with a huge variety of sub-species that have very different properties, including colour and grain patterns. Popular ones include Tasmanian Oak (cream), blackbutt (pale brown), spotted gum (mid brown) and Jarrah (red). Prices vary from inexpensive to moderately expensive to very expensive, depending on the type, where it is sourced from, and the quality. Once again, these timbers can be had to source, however, they can give you the most spectacular grain features, colours and odours when kept close to their natural state. Our preference is for the Tasmanian Oak for when making tables, chairs and bookshelves while the spotted gum has always been a preferred choice for floors, particularly those that are not going to be hidden under carpets or rugs.
Oak, the other oak from the acorn, has been used for centuries throughout Europe, particularly in England, and is still one of the most sought-after woods for furniture. Available in white or red, the first is preferred because it has a more attractive figure than American red oak and is resistant to moisture, which allows it to be used for outdoor furniture. The English white oak is regarded as superior to American white oak.
Pine is often a popular choice and comes in several varieties, but the main ones found in Australia are Radiata, Cypress and Hoop pine. Radiata pine is a common house-framing timber but will have low resistance to decay and termites unless chemically treated. Cypress pine is prized for its anti-termite properties, which has made it a popular flooring material in Australia for decades. Hoop pine is used mainly for plywood. Inexpensive.
Beech is a white pale to brown wood timber native to Sweden, Denmark and Norway, where it is used for everything from firewood to furniture and flooring. Due to its fairly boring grain, beech is often used for furniture which is designed to be painted rather than using more expensive oak or ash.
Ash is a white-to-pale brown-coloured wood with a straight, attractive grain. Easy to work with, it is commonly used in furniture production where it is a good substitute for white oak, although once again, budget neds to be looked at if using it for more than just a bookshelf.
Birch comes in two varieties — yellow and white and is very common in Nordic countries. Birch is a fairly hard timber used for furniture and plywood and one of the most economical hardwoods.
Mahogany is one of the great furniture woods. A reddish-brown-to-deep red in colour, and common in antique furniture, it is not common today to buy as it is not sustainably grown and you will find it difficult to track any down to purchase. Still, it is a beautiful timber, and tree, with a straight grain and is of medium hardness, so it's great for joiners to work.
Teak is now too expensive and comes with a few problems - native to Burma, Thailand and Bangladesh, there are many ethical reasons not to use teak unless it is either recycled or from plantation sources. Although i's great for boats and outdoor furniture, unless you can source some slow-grown teak you will end up with an inferior product you have paid too much for and you will be contributing to deforestation.
Walnut is a beautiful wood, although you may find it hard to source any here - Tasmania still grows walnuts but trees past their prime are usually snapped up locally for use. Walnut has a rich brown colour and a beautiful grain. Now fairly expensive and only available in fairly narrow boards, it is used extensively in furniture making, and as a veneered board for cabinetry and feature walls.
The Johnson Bros Mitre 10 store at 73 Basset St, Mona Vale stocks structural pine, both treated and untreated, structural hardwood - kiln dried and sawn unseasoned, engineered beams, western red cedar, plywood as well as furniture grade hardwood.
Making a basic Bookshelf
12 x lengths of timber - 4 x 108 x12.75cm (sides) 8 x 85cm x 12.75cm (shelves) -:
we glued 2 boards together for each side and shelf to provide width and in the casing of 25.5cm, but you could just buy - 2 x 108 x25.5 and 4 x 85 length x 25.5cm width. The thickness of each board is 3cm
Wood Stain of your choice of colour
Mask and googles - you don't want to be breathing in sawdust or get splinters in your eyes
2 x clamps
saw or plane saw
Remove any paint from the lengths of recycled timber you are using and then sand them back further until you have a clean smooth surface.
Then measure out your lengths and, if using slim boards like we were, measure the lengths to be glued together and do so, allowing them to remain in a clamp for at least 2 hours. Remember to wipe off any excess glue before it dries.
For the sides/casing, draw a semi circle at the base and cut out to provide an arch at the base of each. Measure from the edge of the board to the centre on both side pieces and from the edge to find the same length inwards. Then just use the base of a paint can for your arch at the base.
You need to cut right angles for the top of the sides and the length that will go across the top so these fit neatly together.
You will also need to measure along the inside of this board and cut in 3 x slots at 3cm wide to accommodate the 3 shelves. We cut in at 32 cm, 64 cm and 98 cm to a depth of .05mm to provide 3 x tall shelves.
Remember to measure thrice and cut once as you want this to be a tight fit, even without the glue. Use a chisel to remove the wood.
It is now time to put all these pieces together. First give every piece two coats of your chosen wood stain. Then place some good wood glue into the slots and then your shelving pieces into their places and nail 2 x nails to fix each to the side. Do one side first and then lay the other side atop this before you begin nailing in the fastenings to ensure it all fits. If you need an extra pair of hands at this stage, make sure you have tuned someone in beforehand. Finally put your top piece on and use 2 x nails on each side of each board at the top to nail these firmly into place.
Cover the holes with some wood putty to make a smooth surface. You can see there is a slight rebate or indent at the edge of these shelves - nothing too fancy but makes it look a little nicer. You can do this with a planer - once again just simply mark with your pencil the depth you want to go to and plane away.
Give the whole bookshelf one more sand and then wipe that smooth before applying one more coat of your wood stain. This protects the wood and will make the colour stay in place. Allow this to set for 24 hours so you don't have any drips or fumes going inside. Finally, before you load it up with mum's books, give it a good polish with a furniture polish for wood as this will keep the dust off.
And viola - you have turned this:
And mum will be very happy and have something that will last for as long as she needs it and be much much better than any version you could buy!
Other past Mother's Day ideas are:
The Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Stores Stock All You Need To Spoil Mum This Mother's Day
The current sales catalogue, with deals that will blow you away, is available until May 14 2023. Read it online here.
Johnson Brothers Mitre 10: Serving Our Community Since 1955
The Independent Hardware Group has awarded Johnson Bros Mona Vale the best in state at the IHG state awards and heads to the national finals on the Gold Coast in February 2022.
Congratulations to the store in Avalon Beach as well, which won best in village.
Johnson Brothers say; ''Thank you to all of our amazing staff and customers for being awesome!''
IHG is Australia’s largest home improvement wholesaler supplying more than 1,500 stores nationwide. These stores cater to a broad range of Trade and DIY customers and range from large format warehouses to convenience operations and Trade centres, as well as frame and truss sites in two States.
Under the IHG network, there is a clear mandate to support the growth of Independents within the hardware sector in Australia by helping them to be ‘The Best Store in Town’.
The culture of IHG is built on being a low cost and transparent business partner to members, with an unwavering commitment to protect and grow a sustainable independent hardware sector for the long term.
Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale - everything you need under one roof.
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JBH Design Centre is a tool for builders and DIY'ers to assist in the fit out of houses. It has displays of kitchens, Bathrooms, Doors and Storage as well as knowledgeable staff to assist in making house fit out painless.
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Click on logo to visit Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 website
Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Avalon (02) 9918 3315
Johnson Bros Mitre 10 - Mona Vale (02) 9999 3340
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www.johnsonbros.com.au Online store: jbhmv.com.au
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