How to Build a Fixed-shelf Bookcase

This simple, fixed-shelf bookcase can play several roles in your home.

Sized to be built from nominal finish-grade pine, this simple bookcase can play several roles in your home. Because it has no back and is finished on both sides, you can use it as a room divider. You can add ready-made molding to the shelf for a more traditional style.

To make it more portable, build it with cutout handholds on the sides. Add cutouts at the bottom to give it a lighter look.

Material enlightenment
Pine, although not as strong as a hardwood like oak, withstands plenty of use and abuse. To give this bookcase the warm color of aged pine, it was first coated with orange shellac, then covered with polyurethane varnish for protection. Or you could paint it.

The look can be upgraded with hardwood plywood. And a less-expensive but durable version could be built using medium-density fiberboard.


About 4 hours for construction, plus finishing time

Tape measure, layout square, 1-1/2-inch spade bit, bar and C-clamps, tablesaw or circular saw with a straightedge, electric drill/driver, bits, jigsaw (optional), router, utility knife, compass

Measuring and sawing, clamping and gluing (routing optional)

Assemble tools and materials, prepare work area

Handle Option

Simple design options on the sides give this case a different look and make it easily movable.

Exploded View and Materials Needed
Continued on page 2:  Cutting and Preparing the Parts


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