Yes, that’s right, my friends. The bookcase is officially DONE.
Okay, okay, by “done” I mean there are still a few tiny details to be worked out. I’m planning on adding magnets to the inside of the doors so they align a little better. I have some paint touch-ups to do on the ceiling. And I’m not 100% happy with the wiring for the speakers, which is really quite visible in its current state. But for now, I’m calling the thing done.
Adding the wood filler and caulking everywhere made a huge difference, and made up for an enormous amount of errors. I should be clear – when you get up close, there are plenty of imperfections – this is not a sleek piece of modern furniture. But that’s okay, it sort of matches the rest of my house this way. And honestly, the overall difference it has made such a difference to the room that it more than makes up for the imperfections. To get an idea of the miracles of caulking and wood putty though, check out the difference it made to my salvaged baseboards (which were installed in pieces).
The last few changes took longer than I expected. Cutting the crown molding was a bit complicated, as I actually don’t have a chop saw (just a circular saw), so I couldn’t cut the proper angles with my tools. The molding was also too large to fit into my little miter box. So I hauled the trim to a friend’s house, cut it, and then hauled it back. I might look into buying a chop saw for the next project, but I’ll see if I can find a good used one. This project has already cost just as much in tools as in supplies.
Lack of tools also was the reason I made the doors the way I did. I didn’t realize that the proper way to make these kind of doors is to cut a groove in the side panels, then slide the centre into place. I just put four pieces of trim onto a piece of chip board and screwed them in from the back. Again, a kind of hack-ish way to achieve the same effect that isn’t even close to the polish of the proper way – and I don’t have the right tool anyway (a table mounted router I guess?). I would change my door-making strategy if I made this again. But hey, they work, and they will hide a lot of shit, which was the goal.
This project has been a great learning experience, and a great warm-up for round two, which will be a second bookcase around the staircase. I have a bunch of things I’ve learned that I’ll be applying to the second bookcase. Firstly, the MDF trim was really heavy, ultra hard, and difficult to hammer and sand down. It was cheaper than wood trim, and pre-primed, but I’m not sure if I would use it again. I think it would have been easier to sand down imperfections and get a smooth finish if all the trim was made of a soft wood. Also, I spent tons of time painting everything before assembling it, but then had so many touch-ups to do at the end that I feel like I painted the whole thing ten times over. For round two I would reserve pre-painting for only certain sections that would be hard to access in-place. I should not that this probably only applies to me because I’m such a beginner, a pro could probably really save time with painting!
But, despite all the imperfections, I’m so happy with the results. Because I know everyone loves a good before-and-after, check out the difference below.
And the bookcase in context:
Time to move on to my next project. Finally!