Projects - DYI Built-In

Wife wanted a built-in shelving unit for the front room ever since we re-did the floors. Once we got the new windows installed, it was time to get it in gear. So the following will hopefully help someone out there who is looking to do their own built-in.

One of the problems I had when trying to come up with ideas, was that Google was full of images of nothing like what my wife wanted. She did have a picture from a magazine to kinda guide me, but I still wanted to find some useful information on things like molding, dimensions, etc..

Once I got enough of a clue of what I was looking to do, I fired up Google's Sketchup, got the dimensions of the wall and started there. My wall is 219 1/2" long and has a 9' centered window 18" off the floor. The one thing in the back of my mind, was that I'm designing based on a flat floor and a straight wall (right). After about a week of playing around in sketchup, I came up with a 3 piece plan for the base.
After doing my "sketches", I drew a 4'x8' rectangle to represent a sheet of plywood. I was planning on using sanded plywood with 1x2's and molding for trim and edges. Then I started taking components from my plans and laying them out on the new 4x8 rectangle to figure my cut plan. Turns out to require 6 sheets of plywood, plus 1x2's and plus molding.

Once I got the wood, I printed out the plans and started cutting for the middle section, which would be 8' long, so that would be the easiest cuts. I hand cut the larger, longer cuts with a rail, then the smaller cuts with my table saw. To start my assembly, I have the bottom shelf on top of 2 vertical pieces that are 4 5/8" high (will be putting baseboard on the front). The sides will be glued and nailed to that to support the top shelf.

After gluing (using Titebond), clamping, then nailing with 2" nails, it took about 2 hours of assembly.
All in all, took me 2 afternoons to put the 3 base pieces together. I've "dry" fitted the 3 sections and my measurements were very tight - good thing. Turns out the floor wasn't too bad, only one section really needs any serious shimming. I did some heavy sanding with the belt sander to give the pieces a little more room to fit I plan on lining the bottoms with some felt to protect the floor if anyone in the future wants to take them out.
I've been working on painting, sanding and adding polyurethane to the bottom pieces over the last week. Finally got them done and back in today (Sunday 5/19). Took some shimming to get them level since our floor is not. The wall is pretty bad too, but that's what quarter-round is for.
Shelves...
The shelves are 48" wide, all plywood. I used 1x2 select for the front edges. Sanded the joints to make them smooth, so when they are painted, it'll look seamless as possible. Couple of coats of paint and a couple coats of polyurethane and done. I used caulk for the vertical wall edges and quarter round for the base horizontal edge.