Home Tips & Advice > Step-by-Step How-To's > ACE Bookshelf Project

Ace Bookshelves Project


Approx. 22' hardwood cleat material 7/8" x 2-1/8".

Fastening is done with white or yellow wood glue, polyurethane glue and (optional) brad nails from a pneumatic brad nailer.

2Front edges1-3/8" x 2" x 24"Cherry
1Front edge1-3/8" x 2" x 78"Cherry
1Front edge1-3/8" x 2" x 70"Cherry
1Front edge1-3/8" x 2" x 61"Cherry
1Front edge1-3/8" x 2" x 55"Cherry
2Shelf skins1/4" x 9-1/2" x 55-5/8"Cherry ply
2Shelf skins1/4" x 9-1/2" x 70-5/8"Cherry ply
2Shelf skins1/4" x 9-1/2" x 78-5/8"Cherry ply
2Shelf skins1/4" x 9-1/2" x 61-5/8"Cherry ply
4Shelf skins1/4" x 9-1/2" x 24-5/8"Cherry ply
12End bldups7/8" x 2-1/2" x 9-1/8"Pine
30Bldups7/8" x 1-1/2" x 7-5/8"Pine


1. Study the Drawings and Materials List then familiarize yourself with the construction steps that follow.

2. Gather building materials. See above under "Materials".

3. Before construction, determine if you want to build the shelves to the lengths given, or make them longer or shorter. Adjust the materials list accordingly.

4. Begin construction by cutting materials to the sizes given in the Materials List. Allow an extra inch or so for trimming the assembled panels to final length.

5. Cut a 1/2" x 1/4" rabbet on two long edges of the solid cherry front edge parts. See cross section drawing of shelf.

6. Glue the long laminate strips to one long edge of one plywood piece per panel subassembly (see panel cross-section diagram). The laminate must be short enough in length to fit between the end pine build-up pieces that will be glued later.

7. Assemble each panel. First glue and fasten and/or clamp one piece of cherry plywood to the appropriate length front edge piece at the rabbet. Turn the work over and proceed with gluing the longer pine build up parts to the ends and shorter one about every 12" to 14". Use polyurethane glue for cross grain gluing. Next glue the second 1/4" cherry plywood "skin" over the build up ribs fixing with glue and brads as before. Clamp ends and at rabbet joint to ensure a sound glue joint.

8. Repeat this procedure for each panel subassembly.

9. Now carefully mark each panel subassembly indicating its position for final assembly when complete. Mark the up position (the laminate strip must always be on the top side), and right and left ends. Careful marking will ensure the end miters are cut correctly.

10. Now rout a 1/4" radius on the appropriate edge of the solid cherry front piece.

11. Next cut the chamfer on the long edge of each solid cherry front edge using a table saw. The cut should blend with the routed radius in the previous step. Refer to cross section drawing.

12. Using a sander or scraper, flush up the joint where the plywood is joined to the solid cherry front edge being careful not to sand or scrape through the plywood veneer.

13. Cut the miters on the ends of each panel subassembly using a sliding compound miter saw, table saw or radial arm saw.

14. For ends to be glued together cut biscuit slots for biscuit joining the miter joints.

15. Assemble the miter joints using glue and clamps (see photo for clamping suggestion).

16. After the glue has cured, "veneer" the remaining mitered ends using cherry veneer. You can cut your own veneer by slicing off 1/16" thick pieces from left over solid cherry stock. Use contact cement to glue veneer. After gluing, trim veneer overhang until flush with adjoining surface.

17. Sand completed project using progressive sandpaper grits up to 150 or 180 grit.

18. Apply two or three coats of clear finish sanding lightly sanding between coats with fine sandpaper.

19. Prepare hardwood strips for attaching shelves to wall. Strips should be a good fit in slot created in back of each shelf. Drill and countersink holes for screws in rear top edge of each shelf placing screws about every 14".

20. Very carefully lay out shelf locations on the wall where they will be hung. Attach hardwood strips, fastening them securely with screws to studs behind plaster or drywall.

21. Sleeve shelf unit over hardwood strips attached to wall and secure shelf units with screws in pre-drilled holes.

Photographs and building instructions courtesy of Popular Woodworking magazine

back to top

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

© 2016 Ace Hardware Corporation. Ace Hardware Corporation and Ace Hardware Corporation logo are registered trademarks of Ace Hardware Corporation
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99% of hacker crime.

Add Item to To-Done List

To use this feature you must be signed-in to your account, please sign in now. If you do not have an account, please create an account to participate.

Ace Rewards

Ace Rewards is a free and rewarding membership program that lets you earn rewards with every purchase you make! Join now.