Look at the shelves on that!
March 29, 2008 5:52 AM   Subscribe

Bookshelf. "The home of interesting bookshelves, bookcases and things that look like them"
posted by fearfulsymmetry (24 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I totally want those Smansk shelves. We're book fiends here, and those would be perfect!

Great site, thanks!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:03 AM on March 29, 2008

Lots of fun stuff here, although most wouldn't hold nearly as many books as I'd need them too...

I really like that equation bookshelf, but it doesn't seem to be for sale?
posted by Zinger at 6:52 AM on March 29, 2008

Very cool site. I love the Tetris blocks shelf.
posted by danb at 6:59 AM on March 29, 2008

This looks to be more for people who love interior decoration than people who love books. Some of them (cf. Neverending) don't actually seem to be designed to hold books.
posted by languagehat at 8:08 AM on March 29, 2008

How to make an invisible book shelf.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:29 AM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I prefer bookshelves that do their job by holding books -- lots of books -- instead of looking fancy. A plain bookcase filled with books is far more attractive to me than any of the ones I see here.
posted by fings at 9:59 AM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Gravit powered bookshelf? Aren't all bookshelves powered by gravity?
posted by papakwanz at 10:03 AM on March 29, 2008

Ok, I take it back in part. Going through the archive, I see three I like: Bookstairs (seen earlier at boingboing), Untitled which is a bit big for home use but would be kicking in a public library, and All Aboard, which I wouldn't mind having in my home.
posted by fings at 10:09 AM on March 29, 2008

Well I was all excited over that counterbalance bookshelf (especially when I misread the designer's name as Denis O. Shits) but that invisble one from weapons-grade is just great. I'm just in the mode of packing up all my books so when they re-emerge I think I've got a crafts project to try ..
posted by mannequito at 10:33 AM on March 29, 2008

Ha! Clearly, I can turn my stairs to the dark side, once I run out of room in my library. *rubs hands gleefully*
posted by thomas j wise at 11:02 AM on March 29, 2008

I saw this invisible bookshelf for sale at Barnes and Noble. You don't have to ruin a book like in the DIY one.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:37 AM on March 29, 2008

Bookshelves make me mad. Bear with me. I have a lot of books, piles of books, stacks of books, small heaps of books, but not shelves of books. I would like shelves of books. Nice tall, wide shelves made from wood or plastic or metal or anything cheap and abundant. Yet when I go look for shelving I find it costs hundreds of dollars, is three shelves high, and hasn't room for more than twenty books. Why? What is so expensive about two parallel boards of some ridged material about an inch in one direction, a foot in another, and five or six feet in the third connected by five or six horizontal boards of the same material evenly spaced parallel to each other in a vertical stack rotated perpendicular to the first two in two dimensions, the whole thing backed with one or more thiner boards of the same or another material? Isn't the whole point of particle board that it is cheap, light weight and strong? It should cost $10. The cheapest snap-together modular too ugly for anything but a garage shelving systems cost upwards of a hundred bucks. All I want is to spend $50 plus shipping and have shelving for five hundred or so books. Apparently this is impossible, and I don't understand why. If I had transportation, tools, and a place to construct them I could buy boards and nails and a right angle and hammer such things together in an hour or three but I don't have any of those things. So why can't I order something for $50? Why does everything have to be designed or made from compressed lemurs or only available to pickup? What am i doing wrong?

Thanks for the link but I think I need a drink now.
posted by Grod at 1:54 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

What am i doing wrong?

Not going to the pauper end of the market, perhaps... my booksheleves were cheap as chips and where self-assembly MDF rubbish from B&Q; the do the job. They are ugly as sin though and I drool over the pix in the link but they'll do for now.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:46 PM on March 29, 2008

Grod, I bit the bullet years ago and had someone who did wood working build me a 7 foot bookcase out of 2 inch pine. Total cost was around $300 but I got exactly what I wanted, adjustable shelves, deep enough to store a bunch of artwork books I have been collecting. I've since learned how to build my own, and have built some smaller ones now.

For $50 I could buy two sheets of MDF thick enough to withstand all the weight a large collection of books. That would probably make one bookcase, but it wouldn't cover the costs of covering it in a laminate or the labor for someone to build it for you. I'm sure a place like Ikea has some in the $50 price range, but considering what things cost, I'm sure they're not very big.

As for the blog, I have to say I love to see small blogs like this geared around one thing. I've been contemplating building a small bookcase for my office at work, something a little more elaborate than just a basic bookcase. I love the Soundwave inspired shelves. Too bad I couldn't replicate those in wood (and still have a lot of strength). It's a great blog for inspiration about a basic piece of furniture most people end up needing to own.
posted by inthe80s at 4:35 PM on March 29, 2008

Grod: Ikea Flarke Bookshelves - $20 each. They are short (only about 5'6"), come only in fakey birch colour, but they do hold up to 20kg per shelf.

We recently got 7, and regretted not getting 8. $140 (+ any tax), many many books (and other things) shelved.

If we had unlimited money, we would have gotten wood shelves. Lovely lovely wood - what a wonderful substance. Strong, yet light. It's like some engineer just got things right.
posted by jb at 5:10 PM on March 29, 2008

Globe Wernicke made my favorite bookcases a hundred years ago. Modular, beautiful, sturdy, and expensive!

I do love those Tetris bookcases though. Neat.
posted by JBennett at 5:26 PM on March 29, 2008

hey jb, that's a great idea. Unfortunately while it is $19.99 for the shelf there is a $295.52 shipping and handling fee. Oh, and $1.84 tax because apparently they'll ship it from a warehouse in-state. The down side to never having learned to drive is that every so often rather absurd situations like this crop up. I think I'll have to shelve your suggestion for the time being.
posted by Grod at 5:49 PM on March 29, 2008

What am i doing wrong?

You're not doing anything wrong - I have found that getting the right shelving is very important to readers. I wanted wood, but I was still in school moving around, and wanted it fairly extensible and collapsible. And though it didn't do everything I wanted just right, this is how I compromised with myself:

1)Hollow-core doors, like the kind you can get at Lowes/Home Depot for $20
2)Adjustable, single-track wall-mounted shelving, like that manufactured by Knape and Vogt, but sold by Lowes/Home Depot, Ace, and any number of other hardware stores.

1) Put Item 1 next to the wall. Make sure there is enough room at the bottom of the door for a slight lean back to the wall, but placing it outside the baseboards/molding at the floor usually accomplishes this. Affix the top of Item 1 to the nearest convenient stud with small L-shaped brackets.

2) Affix Item 2 to the edges of Item 1; insert brackets into standards and secure, put spare lumber across the brackets, lade with books.

This method currently has c.1500 books of mine spread out over four doors. For those of you thinking 'Hollowcore doors? That sounds too flimsy', the key thing to remember is that the doors, while made of cheap paneling and cardboard on the interior, have edges that are quite sound.

In addition to being stronger than one would think, it's fairly cheap: the doors are c.$20, the strips are c.$4, and the brackets are c.$1.50 each - so for around $40 you have six foot tall bookshelves with a shelf each foot that you can paint any color you want (I'm lazy and mine remain unpainted), and you shelves are whatever you want - if you buy cheap pine 1x8s or expensive oak 1x6s, you've still got something better than pressboard.

For bookends, you can spend more and attach wood sides to them or you can leave some of the books vertical, or use this as a wonderful opportunity to put some of your kitsch to work. Or, failing all that, y'know, buy some real bookends.

Finally, they break down into a-the doors with the standards attached, b-a box of brackets and c-a stack of wooden shelves (and boxes and boxes and boxes of books). All this, with no impact on the structure other than the small holes in the drywall/paneling/plaster where you attached the L-brackets to the studs. I can usually get those as small as or smaller than holes tacked in for pictures.

It's not perfect by any means, but it's how I finally 'solved' the 'I want wood bookshelves, dammit!' problem.
posted by eclectist at 6:14 PM on March 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sadly, yes, Ikea does have terrible delivery prices -- we have one locally, a 30 minute walk, but delivery of anything is still $70+. That's when you call a cab -- or (in the case of 5'6" long bookshelves) the friend with the minivan.

Obviously, other alternatives in the low end include places like Walmart, Target, etc. Staples will ship for free in many places when you order over $50, but they have fewer low end shelves.

That said, my father did once have bookshelves made in the classic planks and bricks style -- and they looked surprisingly not bad (nice, ochre red bricks). Shop.com links to carriers of wood and lumber, and bricks too. (I'm impressed - you can order bricks online). This isn't as ingeneous as eclectist's solution, but hey, it is classic.

Another friend had a wonderful set of bookshelves he made from wooden wine cartons (he worked at a bar before starting a PhD). He arranged them on their sides, facing out, but instead of puting them all square to nail together, he offset them and arranged spaces between them, which made for more shelves and let him create a variety of shapes of spaces (tall, short, narrow, wide). It was very visually striking (he arranged them well), stored many, many books, and, as he is a foodie/wine buff, the wine crate aspect was just part of the decor schema.

Back to the original link - I was looking at the skewed shelves and thinking, well, I don't really need skewed shelves, but I would love modular shelving like that. You could make it any height, move it so easily - basically modular shelves. Why don't we have more modular shelves available? You would think they would sell like hotcakes. I would love modular shelving.
posted by jb at 6:28 PM on March 29, 2008

Why does everything have to be designed or made from compressed lemurs or only available to pickup? What am i doing wrong?

You're living in America, where the expectation outside of NYC is that everyone drives.

If you can get someone with a large vehicle to take you, you can get big, cheap bookcases at university surplus stores. They will be filthy, ugly, and solid. And mostly, they'll be steel. Googling, the U of MD runs one.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:34 PM on March 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Grod, can you just hang some shelves in your place? Where shelves = generic planks of wood on a railing. If you buy the planks at a local hardware store someone who works there might be amenable to delivering them.
posted by trig at 9:15 PM on March 29, 2008

Has anyone had success with pressboard/MDF bookshelves in the long term? It seems like they always sag awfully over time, and the curve is permanent. Also, if the shelves are adjustable and the side panels of the bookshelf are MDF, eventually a big chunk comes out just under where the pin is suppossed to be.

I got my 7' unfinished pine bookshelf on sale at ACE hardware ten or fifteen years ago for about $80. The rest of my bookshelves were free at corporate bankruptcy liquidation sales.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:40 AM on March 30, 2008

I want one. Seriously I need a house for all the books I want to add to my collection.
posted by wsiebler at 6:12 PM on April 13, 2008

It seems like they always sag awfully over time, and the curve is permanent.

But flipping the shelf over can make it start curving back.
posted by jb at 3:15 AM on April 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

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