Door Turned Bookcase

I started to get a little tired of selling my pieces out of my house and was looking for another option. I don’t really want to deal with Etsy or Ebay. I would just rather my clients’ see the piece before they buy it. That and shipping is a pain and expensive. I started using local Facebook groups and that was hit or miss. Then a new consignment shop approached me. They saw one of my repurposed fans and offered me some space. This is absolutely perfect for me. I don’t have to arrange meetings that keep getting rescheduled because life happens and my clients get to take a closer look at my work with no pressure.

Now that I am set up in the shop (It’s Nice 2wice) I wanted to build a display for my wife’s teacup pin cushions. The Idea was to find a door and turn it into a simple corner shelf. What ended up happening is finding a late 1800’s early 1900’s hardwood door with a skeleton key lock and wooden knobs then turning it into a freaking awesome bookcase for my study.

Why the change in plans? It was the door I found. I bought it from a picker. It was nothing impressive to look at. It looked like it was sitting inside a barn or a shed for 20 years. The varnish was cracked and sticky. It had bird and what I assume to be raccoon droppings all over it. The only reason I was interested in it was that it was $10 and it had these really cool wooden knobs.

So I spent an hour or two after work cleaning dirt, mud, dust and excrement off of it for a few days. It looked better but still nothing I would call special. I very patiently cut in in half vertically with a circular saw. From the cut I got a closer look at the actual wood of the door. This changed my plans a little. Originally I was just going to clean, sand a paint it but I liked the look of the grain and wanted to see if it was worth refinishing. So I stopped by Lowes and picked up some Forbey’s Furniture Refinisher. This is my go-to for anything sealed before poly was a thing. It takes off the sealant but leaves the original stain alone, most of the time. After a few days of taking off the old finish there was no way I was letting this one go.

It took me about five minutes to decide that this was going to be a bookcase for our study. By our study, I really mean Carrie’s office. By Carrie’s office I mean Lando and Indie’s nap room because they lay at her feet all day.

Now on to how I made it. First step was making a frame. My in-laws found an oak headboard and footboard on the side of the road months ago. So they have been in my basement since then waiting to become something. I ripped them into the frame. I used my Kreg jig and pocket screws to assemble the frame. When making the frame I first found the largest books we had and took measurements. After all of this work the last thing I wanted was books that didn’t fit in the bookcase. I graduated the shelves from bottom to top. The bottom one is 15” tall; next is 14” then 13” and so on. The top two are 10”.

The shelves are ready to stain pine project panels from Lowes. I routed the edges and stained them a Minwax Ebony. I sealed all of the wood with Minwax wipe on poly clear gloss. I only used one coat. I was worried two coats would take away the rustic look. I can always put on a second coat later if I like. I permanently mounted the shelves to the frame. It makes it heavier but stronger.

The backing was a difficult decision. Originally I was going to use bead board and paint it purple, maroon or a hunter green. In the end I decided on corrugated roofing steel. I measured the height so the steel would be attached at least one inch way from the edges. Two panels were needed to complete the job. To make the backing appear seamless I overlapped them. With the bookcase laying down I attached the steel with ¼ inch pan head machine screws. I put them in the corners and a few on the sides at first. With the bookcase upright I looked for any light showing through the back into the case and placed another screw where appropriate. In the end I put a screw about every four inches or so.

Now it is prominently placed in the study/office/nap room. Carrie proclaimed that it will never be sold and the only way it is ever leaving this house is if it is bequeathed one of our children.

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