Library shelf prep

We milled the shelf base differently from the horizontal shelves and the vertical shelf supports. This is because the base has to be built sturdy as it has to hold a lot of weight.

We had some old growth two by fours that didn’t lend themselves to either a rift or quarter-sawn cut. Instead, I cut them to length and milled them down to a uniform size so that I could glue them together in sections to form the smooth base.

I also glued together the milled pieces for the horizontal shelves. But they still needed planing down to a uniform surface. Given that I had forty shelves, this was a lot of work. The question was would I be better off using an electrical plane or the good old-fashioned smoothing and jointer plane?

After a short episode of a little trial and error, I abandoned the electrical plane in favor for the smoothing and jointer plane. It may have taken me a little longer but the results were superior to the electrical plane.

An alternative to planing is using a belt sander. Well…let’s say that I retired that idea real fast. If you have ever used a belt sander you know why. If you haven’t, be advised that it is real easy to put big gouges into your boards with a belt sander that are almost impossible to repair.

But I did use a random orbital sander to add the finishing touches to the shelves and shelf supports.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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