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Nancy's Bookshelves

If you need some more bookshelves and can't find one the right size, you can make your own! You don't need much in the way of carpentry skills or special equipment. Here's how I did it.

Three pine boards, 1 foot by 6 feet by 1 inch. I bought mine at Menard's for $7 each. They called them "quality pine" which means the surface was smoother than the rough pine ones, and with fewer knots.
Six glass blocks, 12 inches by 12 inches. I got mine at Home Depot.
They have a wavy glass pattern.
Six unfinished bun furniture feet with matching heavy duty top plates
Four 8-foot sticks of 3/4-inch decorative molding (optional). I got
mine at Home Depot.
Wood glue
Water-based wood conditioner
Water-based wood stain
Water-based polyurethane wood finish
Sand paper
Furniture Wax
Paint stripper

Random orbital sander with 80, 120, and 220 grit sand paper disks
400 grit sand paper for hand sanding
Some sort of saw
Electric drill
Needed only if using decorative molding:
---Miter box and saw
---Painter's tape
Pair of saw horses

Pick out three fairly straight and mostly knot-free pine boards. It will probably be necessary to trim them somewhat to make them all the same length---the dimensions of boards are approximate. If you can’t have this done at the big box store, use a circular saw or hand saw to trim your boards.

Prepare your glass blocks. These come with white paint around the edges, the better to reflect light when they're used to build a wall in a bathroom (so I'm told). However, this looks awful in a bookcase. Use paint stripper to remove the paint from the edges of your blocks.

Now sand your boards to smooth them. Start with 80 grit and progressively use finer grit sand paper until you end with 220 grit.
Use tack cloth to remove any sawdust and other material from your sanded boards.

(Optional) Attach decorative molding. I decided to spiff up my shelves with decorative molding on the sides and front of my boards. Use your miter box and saw to cut the molding so it fits nicely around the corners. This was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be, even with my $16 plastic miter box. Once your molding is cut to length, glue it to the edge of each board. Run a bead of glue the length of the section of molding and hold it to the board edge with many strips of painter's tape. You might want to use a nail gun to reinforce the attachment (the kind that shoots skinny brads) but I found it wasn’t necessary. The wood glue was enough. Be sure to clean off any glue that might leak onto the board.

Prepare your pine for staining by using wood conditioner (follow instructions on container). Due to its soft and hard grain, pine can be difficult to stain. Wood conditioner will help your stain soak in evenly and you'll get a better result. If you don't use this stuff you'll get weird results.

Stain your boards and bun feet! Follow the instructions on the container. I used two coats of teak stain on mine.

Varnish your boards and bun feet! I put three coats on mine, top and bottom, and rubbed the boards down between coats with 400 grit sandpaper. Don't forget to use that tack cloth before your next coat of varnish!

Evaluate your finished boards to determine which will go where in your bookcase. Put the least beautiful one on the bottom, the most beautiful one on the top.

Wax your boards! I used two layers of Liberon Black Bison Fine Paste Wax with a walnut tint.

Attach the bun feet to the bottom of the bottom board. They should be positioned just inside the outer four corners, and just inside the edge at the middle of the board. Use your drill to pre-drill the holes for the top plates, then screw the top plates firmly to the board. Screw the bun feet to the top plates.

Assemble your bookcase! Position the bottom board, put three glass blocks in line with the bun feet on top of the board, then position the second board on top of the glass blocks. Repeat another set of glass blocks on that shelf, this time putting a strip of some rubbery substance like that thin foam used to pack delicate stuff on the top of each block. This helps to stabilize the top shelf. Otherwise, it has a tendency to slide around a bit. Finally, position your beautiful top board on top of the glass blocks. Fuss with it a bit to make sure everything is perfectly in line.

Add books, a lamp on top, knick knacks, and whatever else you want. People will think you're positively amazing and admire your handiwork, because this is so beyond a dorm bookshelf it's not funny.