The construction part of the bookshelf is finished, I have the can of varnish, I have paint brushes, and I have a stretch of warm, dry weather known as “summer” happening. So, of course, I’m so bothered by the rough side where the saw didn’t quite cut the plywood that I flail around, looking to borrow a saw or sander to smooth it out more before I put on the final touches. I fail to locate these things. In August, my grandparents come to visit. They’re full of spoilage, and the next thing I know, a trip to the hardware store for a sander turns into a I-am-so-doing-carpentry-as-a-hobby-now-because-I-have-all-the-tools. All. The. Tools. I refuse to be one of those people with a garage full of tools they bought with good intentions and never use. There’s a lot of sawdust in my future. (Also, my grandparents are made of spoilage and awesome.)
I sanded the side. It’s not quite smooth, but it’s more than adequate. Then I cleaned the two months of dust and spider webs off the shelves and did the first coat of varnish. Next time, I’m definitely doing the varnishing first. It wasn’t impossible to do once everything was put together, but it was a bigger pain than it had to be, and there are spots where the varnish dripped and I didn’t catch it in time.
I did the first coat of varnish on everything but the shelves themselves, then a few days later went back and did the second coat, and one coat on the individual shelves. From thence, I commandeered roommately assistance to move the giant, gorgeous shelving unit into the den. This one bookcase, without the shelves in it, weighs more than all of the bookcases we brought with us to the house, combined.
The next day I put the second coat of varnish on the shelves, thereby completing the construction process. Or so I thought. Remember the ominous, foreboding ending on the last post? Yeah, that was done with intent. Two months on its side, in my garage, warped the bookcase just enough that the shelves no longer fit. I needed to saw off about a quarter of an inch, or, you know, slightly less than the overhang on the plywood that caused me to dither and delay in the first place. The universe, it is made of dramatic irony that’s out to get me.
With much trepidation – I’m so close to being done without tragic error – I put together my shiny new workhorse. And then I took it apart and put it together with the legs facing the right direction. Clamps, obsessive measuring and drawing of lines, and I took the circular saw to my precious, precious shelves. Last chance to slice off fingers or render things horribly crooked…which I declined to do.
There is a word to describe my state of mind when that first shelf slid into place. The word is smug. It’s tight, it’s secure, and it looks right. I was so smug, I went and did it again to the rest of the boards.
I let it sit for a couple days, to make sure it wouldn’t fall over and kill the cat, or spontaneously eject the boards, or anything like that. It did none of these things. In fact, this bookcase does a remarkable job of just hanging out, holding books, and not sagging. Even after weeks of having the contents from two other bookshelves sitting on it, this bookshelf seems utterly indifferent.
You’ll note how its taking up less floor space than the two bookshelves it’s replacing, yet has room on its shelves after putting all of their books on it. You’ll also note what a remarkably fine looking piece of furniture it is, even if I do say so myself. And I do. Frequently. The roomies are probably tired of hearing it. Or disturbed by the increasing quantity of furniture I’m prone to pet and congratulate. It’s hard to be a crass materialist and look sane at the same time.
In case it’s not obvious, I’m still unbelievably smug about the success of this particular project. Every day it doesn’t sag or fall over is another day I get to know that, when the apocalypse comes, as long as there are still lumberjacks and saw mills, I’ll have somewhere to keep my books.