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Sheet-of-Ply Bookshelf

  • Plyman Ply & Panel Auckland - Sheet-of-Ply Bookshelf

This is a great alternative to your standard straight and narrow bookshelf design. It features some great looking alternating cut-outs to break up the traditional blockiness. Just be a bit careful with your loading!

What you Need:

18mm, 2400x1200mm Sheet Untreated Radiata Plywood.
– at least 60 30mm brads for your nail gun, or nails for your hammer-hand!
– wood glue
– sand paper

Step 1: Cut

In this step we’re going to make 16 300x150mm boards. Keeping to the exact specified dimensions isn’t necessary, so adjust to suit the height/depth that you want your shelves to be. The skinnier they are, the more ‘open’ the shelf will look/feel. The wider they are, the more enclosed it will be, but the also the larger the loading it will be able to support. Most important is that all the boards be cut identical and to fairly tight tolerances.

First, cut a 300mm x 2400mm plank out of your plywood board. You will only use that plank for this project — use the remainder of that board for something else, or use them to replicate an entire set (Christmas presents anyone?).

Next, adjust the rip fence of your table saw to a little bit less than 150mm and subdivide the plank into sixteen identical boards. Remember to pass the last board through the table saw, just to ensure that it’s exactly the same size as the others.

Step 2: Assemble Base

Pick three boards, and attach them together to form the first layer of the bookcase, as shown in the diagram adjacent.

To attach the boards, first lay down a line of glue. Then, holding the boards in place, brad/nail up through the bottom of the bottom board into the edge of the joining board. These brads/nails will staple the joint in place while the glue dries. About 3-5 brads/nails per board should be sufficient.

Note that the vertical boards are stacked on top of the base board, not alongside it.


Step 3: Layer Up!


Next, place two lines of wood glue atop the vertical boards from step 2, and glue another horizontal board on top to make a box. Add some brads/nails in from the top to pin the board in place while the glue dries.

Once the board is in place, glue two new vertical boards atop the horizontal one. In the previous step, the two vertical boards were placed along the left edge and the back-right edge. This time, place the boards along the right edge and the back-left edge. This should give you clearance to place the nailgun beneath the newly glue boards, and to fire brads up through the horizontal board into the vertical boards, pinning those boards in place.

Repeat the this step for the next three layers, alternating the placement of the vertical boards for each layer. In this manner, an “S” shaped pattern should emerge.

Step 4: Cap it off and finish

Take your last remaining board, glue it to the top of the bookshelf, and pin it in place with brads/nails.

Wait for the glue to dry, sand the rough edges off the plywood, and finish the bookcase to taste (stain, seal, paint, etc.).

Tutorial Thanks/Credit/Rights Reserved to: innerbubba/

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