Wednesday, August 26, 2015
How To Really Build A Bookcase
Last week, I told you all about my annoyance with particle board and pre-fab furniture. After I made my yarn cubbie, I had an idea that maybe I could make/have k-ster help me make a bookcase to replace some of the tables in my room that were causing clutter.
Since the day I moved into myclassroom, I've had an assortment of tables that sufficed as storage areas because there are no built in closets or hiding places in my room. I have since gained a closet, and the tables have always kind of been in the way. It seemed like a long, low bookcase might solve the problem by still allowing storage, but not sticking out as far as the tables, thus making things a little more streamlined.
I didn't want any fancy maple or oak or any expensive wood. I didn't want any crapola particle board. I just wanted your regular knotty pine bookcase that used to cost pennies at the mill store we have nearby. I knew I wanted it about 2 feet high, with a shelf in the middle. I also have an entire wall for it to go on, so 8 ft,10ft, 20ft, anything would work for length.
I'm not a carpenter and when I've participating in carpentry projects, I haven't been present for the purchase of the wood. I expect a 1x12 plank, 8 feet long, to cost $10. Max. So my bookcase would cost around $40 and then the piece of plywood on the back, so maybe another $20 and I'd use paint I already have. Screws seem to multiply in our shop, so that wouldn't cost me anything either.
For some time and less than $75 I could have a bookcase that is sturdy and made to my specifications.
Oh the storage and neat presentation of materials I would be creating in my room! I'd have 2 purple bookcases and my room would be complete!
And then k-ster dashed my hopes when I said $10 per plank?and he laughed and laughed. . Do you know it's more like $20 per plank???? And close to $30 for the plywood backing.
So, I immediately checked out the mill store to see if a pre-made bookcase might cost me less.
And it turns out that I've been sleeping for about a decade because the prices of everything have gone up so much, it's staggering.
After a lengthy discussion, we decided k-ster would buy the wood and cut it for me and I would put it together.
They didn't have 8 foot planks, so he had to get 10 foot. All the more space to store, I thought! He quickly talked me out of the extra two feet, and now that it's in my room, I'm pretty sure it was a good idea to cut the extra 2 feet off.
He also talked me out of only 2 feet tall. It's now 3 feet tall which is more than I wanted, but I've moved it to a different place, so it's going to be fine.
I knew I'd need to have some support sections to keep the shelves from bowing. Bowing shevles are something that really irritates me! So, I thought two off-center pieces would work well. I love symmetry but sometimes, a little unusual symmetry looks pretty good, in my mind.
I had him leave the plywood off the back while I painted because a) I don't like to paint at all and anything that makes it slightly easier it ok with me and b) I wasn't sure I wanted to paint the plywood anyway. We also put it up on sawhorses so I didn't have to crawl on the floor to paint it but since I'm short and the bookcase is 3 feet tall, that meant I had to stand on a ladder to get the top.
I don't know if I've mentioned that for close to 2 weeks we've been stuck in some pattern of humidity that is like 100% humidity 100% of the time. This makes for a very short fuse when I already have a short fuse for painting in the first place!
I sanded the whole thing a couple of times, deleting even more of my ever shortening fuse. I vacuumed all of the sawdust twice and wiped it clean.
And then I decided to use a hiding white primer before putting on the purple. There were lots of knots and the wood was screaming PAINT ME and I had some white paint cover paint that someone donated, so I wanted to use that instead of wasting the purple that I paid a fortune for. Because the wood was so fresh, it soaked up the first coat so it looked like almost nothing was there so I had to do a second coat.
Did I mention it was like 100% humidity?
I really wanted to do this whole thing outside because I thought it might be slightly cooler but with the humidity came daily predictions of rain, so I didn't dare.
In all of my experience painting, I've learned that I am very defective when it comes to rollers. I don't know if it's the cheap kind I buy or what, but they are never a smooth roll. They always skip as they roll. I spend more time scrubbing the roller back and forth and if I try using more paint, it just slips all over. And every time I set out to paint something, I'm sure that this time it will be a nice, smooth coat of paint, something a professional would do. But alas, as with all of my rolling experiences, I was highly unimpressed with the quality of this coat of paint, so I used the brush on the whole thing that final time.
That's right, I needed 2 coats of white and then 2 coats of purple. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I don't like to paint. And I don't like humidity. And I wanted this all done and in my classroom way before school started so I could figure out exactly what I was going to do with it. Teachers like plans and for things to be all set before school starts. Especially this teacher. By the end of this project, I had no fuse left.
I finally finished and k-ster put the plywood on the back and we brought it to school. I didn't paint the plywood and I'm not thrilled with how it looks, so if it ever dries out and cools off around here, I might do it. I'm also not exactly sure how I am going to use this. I wanted it to fit under these white boards and it does, but I thought it would be lower so I could use the top shelf. I ended up moving it to the right and now I can use the top shelf for my supplies like rulers and crayons and still walk up to this white board without have to lean over the bookcase.
After vowing to never spend money on my classroom when I graduated from college, I have managed to spend more in this one summer than in all of my years teaching combined! But, I've made do with things that weren't exactly what I want for so long, buying the yarn cubbie and making this bookcase are definitely worth it. All in all, this was about about a $125 project, including the paint. They didn't even have this kind of bookcase at the mill store but what they had started at $130, so I win.