How to Build a Bookcase Room Divider
Build a bookcase room divider to define a living space, while at the same time providing convenient storage and display of books and mementos. A bookcase room divider need not be a huge undertaking. Consider building a mid-size structure, approximately 36-inches tall and about 36-inches wide to accent a living area, while still maintaining visibility and openness. For a larger room, consider building two structures and placing them at either end of the room. A lighter wood, such as oak, works well for this project and is inexpensive, yet beautiful and cheerful.
Step 1, Measure Wood Pieces
Carefully mark out the sizes of the bookcase room divider lightly with a pencil to save wood and keep waste to a minimum. Be sure to indicate positions, such as “top.”
Step 2, Cut Wood
Use a table saw to rip all pieces to correct widths. Next, crosscut all pieces to length-wise dimensions. Unless an excellent cross-cut and ripping saw blade is used, these two operations may have to be done separately. The idea here is to keep the wood from splintering when it is being cut.
Step 3, Dry Assemble, Plan and Build
Dry assemble the sides, top and bottom and plan for upright mid-sections and crossing book shelves. Carefully mark out these locations lightly with a pencil. The mid-section uprights will be butt-joined to the top and bottom of the bookcase. The crossing book shelves will need to be dadoed into the sides of the bookcase and adjoining mid-section uprights. The top and bottom of the bookcase will also need to be dadoed into the sides of the bookcase.
Once the consideration of where the bookcase shelves will be located and all locations have been marked, lay out each of the sides and dado the locations for where the top and bottom will attach to the sides. Next, carefully mark out the locations for the crossing shelves and where they will attach to the mid-section uprights. Apply glue sparingly to the faces of the crossing shelves and the inside of each dado. Strategically clamp pieces together; inner crossing members to mid-sections, left side and then right side; bottom, and finish with the top as it will lay on top of each upright side.
Step 4, Final Finish
Give glue several hours to dry thoroughly. Next begin sanding the entire bookcase with a 100 grit sandpaper. Wipe dust with a cloth saturated in mineral spirits and be sure all dried glue and construction marks have been sanded smoothly. Mix an initial solution of 50% mineral spirits and 50% varnish, and apply liberally to the bookcase. This blend of finish will quickly soak into the cabinet and seal the wood pores. Sand lightly and then apply several coats of a full solution of varnish, sanding with 220 grit sandpaper between coats.