ye old bookshelf

One of the furniture pieces that I’ve inherited from my grandparent’s house was this old bookshelf:

2012_11_10 (27)

I’ve kept it because it matches the desk that Grandma used to have and well, it’s pretty solid. But there were a couple of issues.

As you can see above while it was nice to hold my printer and scanner the cords were always running around the edge which meant I was always tripping on them. The two shelves were adjustable but I found it annoying to hold my binders so those are now on a different shelf. But the bigger problem was that the finish had worn away in many spots, leaving it looking old and tired.

So after finishing the office floor with new laminate (looking above I do not miss that carpet!) I pulled this outside to begin working.

The back piece needed to go, it wasn’t solid wood and had splintered in several spots. So I ripped it out, removed the finishing nails and staples as I went.

Bookshelf 1

To replace the back piece I picked out a piece of plywood this one from Home Depot – it was much bigger than I needed so I used the rest of it for other projects.

Before throwing out the broken back panel I used it as a template to trace the new piece and cut out the new piece with my jigsaw. As you can see below I also notched the bottom corner so I can run cords through the back.

Bookshelf 2

The rest of the bookshelf got a good sanding with my B&D palm sander and then stained it for a fresh start. I thought about painting it but I really do like the wood finish and it was in pretty good condition already.


The back piece is just thin underlayment so it was easily stained to match: 


After staining the piece with Golden Oak from Minwax, I let it dry and then sanded it down with a 220 grit sandpaper. After the first layer of stain and then sanding, I did second layer of stain and let it dry overnight.

Note: I picked up just a small 8 oz jar of stain and it was just enough! I had a little left in the bottom for another project but it covered great in 2 coats.


Last step was protecting it with polyurethane – I have this one from Minwax.

Bookshelf 5

After applying the protective finish it need 24 hours to dry and cure so it stayed right outside to off-gas. When that was done I was able to nail the back piece in using my Airstrike (which is seriously be best tool I bought all year!).

Bookshelf 3

Finally it was ready to move back in – of course the office is mostly in shambles due to work in the guest room but it’ll be in the final office reveal!

Bookshelf 4


3 thoughts on “ye old bookshelf

  1. Pingback: My Friend Kelly

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