Easy Pocket Hole Bookcase

My wife is an avid reader. She spends as much time reading her favorite novels as I do in the shop. Combine the two and you get a bookcase! A bookcase has been on the “honey-do” list for a while and I am just now getting around to it. But the problem with almost all of my household projects lately is finding a place to put it. We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment so space is very limited. With that in mind, I designed a relatively small bookcase.

The bookcase is roughly 42″ tall, 24″ wide, and 9″ deep. I designed it this size first and foremost because that’s just about all the space I have available in my room and secondly because this allows me to use 1×10 and 1×8 materials with little trimming. The shelf pieces the exact depth of a 1×8 which made the project that much easier to assemble.

jayscustomcreations bookcase 1Because I had to do a lot of running around this week I was unable to make this a complete how to project with plans. Maybe after busy season at work I will come back and make a plan for it (EDIT: I have since added a cutting diagram and updated SketchUp file at the end of this post) Speaking of running around, I had to make three trips to Lowes for materials for this build and this is why; First, never make a materials list that starts on one piece of paper and ends on another. Dumb mistake by me. Second, when you are checking out with your materials and you are roughly half of what your estimated cost was it is a good idea to stop and check the list again. And third, which is the one I am horrible at, measure twice and cut once!

If you take my human errors out of the picture, the project went smoothly with no problems. This build is super simple. Any pocket hole project is generally simple actually. I started this late one night and finished it up the next day. That’s with recording the build too! I would estimate a build time of about 4 hours with no distractions. The total cost was about $45 while using a decent grade pine. The finish used was Minwax Early American stain and a few sprayed coats of satin lacquer. Without the lacquer I was not pleased with the stain. The lacquer really gave this piece the look I was going for.

jayscustomcreations bookcase 4I was trying to match the bedroom furniture I already have. Matching any type of already stained project is always a nightmare for me, especially with pine. Pine is so unpredictable. In the end I am extremely pleased with how they match. The most important part is that my wife is really happy with it too. That’s pretty much all that matters here anyway! This picture kinda sucks but I included it anyway to show the color matching I was going for. Note that we are really crammed for space!

jayscustomcreations bookcase 6This is also the first build video with my new camera. I want to thank everyone who watches these videos and surfs around on this website. If it wasn’t for your support I would not have been able to make this upgrade. Thanks again guys and I hope you enjoy the video!

Click on these images to view them larger. From there you can save and print them. The construction is pretty basic. Refer to the video for assembly.

jayscustomcreations bookcase 8jayscustomcreations bookcase 9

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  1. Nice job Jay, always like your videos and builds. I’ll be building this bookcase over the next couple of days as my previous one, which hung on the wall, decided it didn’t like where it had been placed and decided to dismount itself and come crashing down (however, the bookshelf itself survived relatively undamaged).

    Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work.

    And as for three trips to the store, ya..been there done that.

  2. Jay, good stuff brother! I noticed some differences and similarities between you and me.

    The differences start with the fact that your sketch up drawings and your finish projects look alike. And one other difference is that you actually finish projects very quickly. I could have stretched this thing for about a month!

    The similar stuff is the multi trips to the store. My motto is “measure often, write it down, incorrectly transfer that measurement to the lumber, cut, measure cut piece only to find it’s wrong. Make sure kids are not around – express oneself…. buy more lumber!”

  3. Jay , is your paint gun attached to your air compressor? I have a large Graco paint sprayer and love it. But I hesitate to use it for small projects simply because of the amount of time to set up and clean up. I wonder if you have the same issues? I’m thinking if it attaches to an air compressor, it may be a faster way to go.

    • Yeah, its just a cheap gravity fed gun. I like to use Target Coatings EM6000 water based lacquer. It’s a tad on the pricey side so I havn’t bought any lately but its easy water cleanup. Lately I have been spraying Deft Brushing Lacquer as its easy to get locally and produces a nice finish. I don’t take much time to clean my guns when using it. I just gently rinse with lacquer thinner and then fill half way with lacquer thinner for storage. When I am ready to use it again I just slosh around what is left in it, dump it out, and fill with lacquer.

  4. Hey Jay,

    You do good work. Awesome job on the projects that you do. But I was trying to download the plans for the book case but I don’t get anything. I tried on my work computer and also my home computer but I get nothing. Can you PDF the file to me at my home e-mail at: nos19@sbglobal.net. Thanks Jay.

  5. Hey Jay The bench i made that i gave to Headway brought in $225.00 at the fundraiser auction and i was wondering what you where spraying on the bookshelf after you stained it Thanks again awesome work i have learned a lot from you

  6. Jay,
    Wanted to thank you for your directions and video. I made this out of pine and was trying to match an aged cherry in our room (worked out pretty well). Also used Charles Neil’s pre color conditioner. How can I send you a picture? Thanks again. Fred

  7. Hello! Just saw your site via some pinterest browsing – for DIY bookshelf designs.
    I was curious about one thing I couldn’t find mentioned in your steps – how do you actually adjust the shelves – do you just use dowels, or is there something else?

    Thanks for sharing the project! I’m hoping that a total beginner like me can make it look reasonable. :)

  8. great looking book case, looking forward to trying and improving my skills with this book case in the future

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