Bunker Library Prep

We got to be surrogate grandparents just before Christmas, when my niece and nephew-in-law (my son in all but name, really, as he and our niece lived with us and grew up with our daughter) came to visit with their 11-month-old boy.

Of course, the ladies got to play with the baby, while we big boys got to play with other toys. I’ve missed having a quiet, enclosed workshop, and Nephew and I high-tailed it off to my storage unit to build the first of my Ultimate Bookshelves.

Final design specs: five 8′ x 23″ shelves per unit. Overall height roughly eight-and-a-half feet. Overall length eight-and-a-quarter. Overall width 34 inches. The four 500-lb. steel casters are offset from the centerline, with the vertical endcaps forming an elongated “H” if you are looking down from above each unit. That’s for earthquake stability. These buggers will NOT fall down.

I like a 23″-deep shelf not only because I hate when long books hang over standard-depth shelves, but also because it’s really pleasurable to walk up, pull a book or two and plop them flat in front of you and start reading right there. What’s design for, I say, if not to accommodate laziness ease of use?

Since I’m all of 5’8″ I overengineered each shelf so that I can simply climb up to pull books from the top. Also they will NOT sag in my lifetime, despite an eight-foot unsupported span.

Each shelf is an open sandwich of four 2x4s and two 1x12s, all screwed to form a tight open box.* I left space open under each shelf so there’s an easy place to run hidden rope lighting in the future.

All fasteners are screws of one sort or another, for added strength.

The only cuts required are for the 34″ ledger 2x4s on the ends; the rest is all (by design) done with standard engineered lumber: mostly 2x4s and 1x12s, with a few 2x8s and 4x8s, and two 4’x8′ plywood sheets per unit.

We got two finished, with Nephew doing most of the work. The first was a test-run of the design, and revealed some quirks that needed ironing out.  After that, the next one was much faster.

In these last three photos, they’re nearly complete, just missing some 2x8s on each vertical to dress off the ends of each “H” leg.

At the base, lag screws tie it all together.

I will have eleven of these units when I’m done, lining the walls of the bunker library. And yes, they will all be pretty much filled with books.

As the storage unit’s 14′ wide, I’ll have plenty of room to stash 1-foot-deep storage shelves behind the bookshelves, tucked in the rear of each “H,” with SHTF supplies, water, etc. More on those thoughts in the original post.
— Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

*Was that as fun to read as it was for me to write? Indeed, indeed it was. Gentlemen, let us all embrace our natures in these, our post-mid-life-crisis years. For my part, my copy of Dr. A’s fine, illustrious tome will be one of the first up on these shelves.


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2 Responses to Bunker Library Prep

  1. Chris K says:

    You know they have these things called “Kindles” now, right? 😉

    But seriously living in a storage locker makes me think of the main character in Snowcrash.

  2. CAshane says:

    The shelves themselves look stout enough, but will those casters hold up to all the weight once the books are added? Also, have you validated that the slope on the floor is minimal to insure they do not move unless you intend them to? Just thinking out loud here boss.

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