Monday, September 15, 2014

Project: Steel Strap Bookshelf - Design

Ikea makes decent furniture. We all know this. It's cheap. Easy to transport. Easy to build. Looks okay. But...

Everyone has Ikea furniture at some point or another. In my case, I have a couple of the Expedit shelves (Ikea now calls them Kallax shelves... and are a tiny bit 'skinnier', but it's the same thing.) I have the 2x4 cube, and the 2x2 cube shelves. They do the job, but I want to get rid of them.

(Above: Expedit, the record collectors shelf of dreams)

Now, this design is not 100% my own. Not at all. I originally was turned onto it from a Youtube video I had seen by a fellow named Ben who runs The shelf as he calls it is the "Iron-bound Bookcase". 

It's a nice and simple design. And relatively simple to build. I used that design as the basis for my project. I want to build a shelf that will replace my Expedit 2x4 cube shelf, making it a hair shorter (or taller, we'll see) - and making it a lot deeper, to provide more space for my turntable and stereo amp.

(Above: Sketch your ideas as they come, even if it changes in the end)

I started to make my sketches, and planned out how to attach the shelves to the brackets. I wanted this shelf to be very sturdy, but at the same time, I'd want to be able to take it apart if I needed to move.

I also needed to modify Bens' design to afford more support for the shelf in the middle, to prevent sagging, and in case I decide to use it as a TV stand/console down the road. An element to a good design is making sure it can serve multiple purposes or uses.

After a trip to Home Depot, I found the fasteners I planned to use. They're beautiful. Just under 3" long and an M6 screw, they'll provide a lot of bite and support. And the nickel plating is nice and durable, and will contrast the metal brackets nicely.

(Above: Check things out online to save you the hassle in-store.)

Once I was at Home Depot, I could get a feel for what materials were available, and the relative cost. And I could also use them to compare to what I had seen online.

After planning, and revising my sketches, I came up with a pretty solid final design, I went ahead and bought the screws (man they cost a lot!) and the metal for the upright brackets. The wood will be purchased when I have cleared up space and finished other projects.

Stay tuned for more!