You know that wall in your house that could use a bank of bookshelves? Or maybe it's a niche next to your fireplace. I had one big long wall in the schoolroom, and two nasty metal utility shelves that were holding all our books, papers, file boxes, and so on. Not lovely.
Here's the link to the basic instructions to building bookcases
Here they are in process:
Basically, there's a solid, upright piece of 3/4" plywood on each side of each section, with smaller pieces of plywood glued-and-nailed all the way up, leaving little slots for the shelves. What you see on the left there, with the clamp on it, is one of the verticals that goes against the wall. It has one set of shelf supports glued to one side of it. Make sense so far?
In the middle is one of the shelves that goes between a shallow shelf and a deep shelf. It's as deep as the deeper ones, and has shallow supports glued to one side, deep supports glued to the other side. All the supports are flush with the back of the vertical.
And thus you go along, making the right number of vertical supports for the set of shelves you're making. Then, take each of the supports that are going against the walls and screw them, down in the shelf grooves, to the wall studs with drywall screws. Set the vertical that comes next upright and bribe someone to come stand there while you slide in the shelves. This Old House has better instructions for attaching your shelves to the wall, but by this point we'd moved so far beyond the actual instructions that we were seat-of-pants-ing it.
Repeat the vertical-holding and shelf-sliding. A note here. When I glued down the shelf supports, I made the slots exactly 3/4", and it made for some adventure getting some of the shelves in. I won't say there was any swearing, but I think Father Bird thought some ugly things. Heavens.
What's really holding this whole set of shelves together is the tension from the shelves above and below the window. I measured the space, then built a basic plywood box to fit each space, and whacked those suckers in those holes and screwed them down. (Use short screws so they don't come twisting out the other side, breaking your heart in the process.)
Then, when the shelves are all in and level and everything (shim under the bottoms of the verticals if they aren't), you just cut strips of 1 1/2" poplar to cover the front edge of each vertical. Glue-and-nail those, then make edges for each of the shelves. Cover the edges at the bottom with a little strip of quarter-round molding. Paint everything. And paint it again. And another time. And...yeah, maybe just one more coat...
Perhaps these shelves look complicated. The truth is, Father Bird went down to Home Depot and had everything cut to the right width, and left town for two weeks. When he came back, I had the whole thing up, just waiting for him to help me whack in some of those sticky shelves. Oh, and motivate me to actually finish.
The best part of the whole thing was when I was almost finished. I came to the door with a power drill in my hand, and the air conditioning repairman's mouth fell open as he looked from the drill to the shelves and back. "You put them shelves up yourself? Really?"
Yep. Really. And you can too.