The Trouble With Bookcases . . .

BookCase_8037_WIf it weren’t for people who ask annoying questions, progress in most areas of design and engineering would never be made. If someone hadn’t wondered out loud if it was possible to use a sharp rock to cut down a tree, and then use smaller sharp rocks to shape the tree parts into something else, we’d still be sitting on hunks of stone. Fortunately for all of mankind, the pain in the butt from sitting on rocks trumped the pain in the butt who asked the question and we now have furniture. But the familiar almost always appears correct and comfortable, and we tend to stick with the way we’ve always done things. A typical bookcase is a good example of this, and the annoying question of the day is “why do we always build bookcases about 12″ deep?”

As you can see in this photo taken a few minutes ago in my living room, the typical bookcase is several inches deeper than the largest books it needs to hold. That extra space is an invitation to park little knick-knacks in that bit of extra real estate. Not the end of the world, but you need to be careful when you grab a book to remove it. Great-grandad’s souvenir shot glass, carved from the wood of the fence that once surrounded the birthplace of Robert Burns could become the victim of a momentary lack of attention. With smaller books, the problem is compounded; larger items are placed in front of them, or they get placed between two larger volumes where they can disappear completely.

BookCase_7995_WThere are several solutions, including the obsessive-compulsive vow to only own books of a single size and the manufacture of a custom fit bookcase to match every size of book. We came across an intriguing design that has originally built about 100 years ago. It offers an interesting and elegant solution, and we adapted it into a project that looks good and is relatively simple to make. In the premier release of 360 WoodWorking, you’ll be able to follow the project from start to finish, complete with videos that show clever solutions to building problems and full illustrations along with detailed text and photos, photos, photos.

My son Hunter (seen here doing his best to look “Norm”al) tried to talk me out of the bookcase in the photo. I talked him into building one of his own that fits his place and his library and I talked him into writing about it. In a couple of weeks you can see the results here on 360 WoodWorking.

The first issue of 360 Woodworking will be available in mid-December 2014, and we’re giving it away to show you what we think the future of woodworking media is going to look like. We hope that enough people will subscribe so that we can continue in our efforts. If you want to show your support there are two things you can do.

The first is to help spread the word about 360 Woodworking. We’re a grass-roots, seat of the pants operation and we need to grow our audience. Hit the share buttons to spread the word on Facebook and other social media, tell the guys in your local woodworking club, lumberyard or tool supplier and ask them to give our website a visit.

The second thing is to go ahead and subscribe. Your subscription won’t start until 2015 and your credit card won’t be charged until after the first of the year.

–Bob Lang

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One thought on “The Trouble With Bookcases . . .

  1. Subscribed as soon as you guys announced 360 Woodworking.
    Really looking forward to what you & Chuck & Glen have in store.
    Thanks Bob.

    Eric Rusch sr
    central Florida

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