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Tall Tommy Bookcase

I’d like to introduce you to the Tall Tommy Bookcase. He’s a looker, yes? Long, lean lines, good coloring, strong and sturdy. He’s got it all! I actually finished this bookcase a couple of weeks ago, but just now pulled it out of the garage to take some glamor shots. He has a nice home waiting for him stashing books for a lucky kiddo. But right now he’s taken up residence in my bedroom until he can be picked up or delivered.

The bookcase is 61″ tall, 44.5″ wide and 13″ deep (though the shelves are only 11.5″ deep). Here’s a wide shot of the room for scale, next to my Farmhouse Bed and Brooke Midcentury Console. I know it looks chaotic with 4 different shades of stained wood in here. Don’t worry, it’s not my regular look ;) For plans, I used Ana’s Tommy Bookcase, and only altered the two sides by changing the height to 60″ and adding in two extra shelves. To save costs, I chose to get plywood cut instead of using pricey 1×12 boards.

I built the bookcase out of one sheet of PureBond birch plywood and a couple of boards for the trim. I love this plywood, because it’s made in the USA and formaldehyde free. I covered the raw ends with edge banding, and I have to say, the whole thing looks really nice.

At the last minute the customer wanted to add beadboard, which can be pretty pricey. Somehow I lucked onto two quarter sheets on clearance at Lowe’s for only $3.67 a piece! It was fate. So I cut it down and matched it up and it looks beautiful. Though if I make this bookcase again, I would probably just add some nice 1×2′s to the back to keep it sturdy since beadboard really ups the price.

For the base, I cut down a 1×4 to the right width, then added a 1/2″ thick piece of trim. It fit like a glove, and blends in so well. Definitely a high end look for an affordable price.

I considered using my Kreg Jig to join the shelves with pocket holes, but I really didn’t want to mess with those fancy plugs or see the holes. So instead I countersunk regular 1 1/4″ screws and filled with flat 3/8″ plugs. They blend in so well with the final piece that you hardly notice them!

I stained it with one coat of Rustoleum’s Ultimate Stain in Golden Oak. I had to sand down a few drips and touch it up in places, which was very easy and looks really nice. I followed it with two coats of spray on poly, but decided it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. I purchased a rub on wax from Home Depot and worked it in with a rag, which gave it this lovely light sheen. It was perfect! I’m excited to use it for other projects in the future. Not that I’ll give up the spray-on for everything, it’s especially nice for projects with a lot of crevices and slats.

When I first finished building, I didn’t really like it. Rather I should say, it wasn’t my taste. I thought the shelves looked too thin, too unsubstantial. But once it was stained and polished, I fell in love. The clean lines are beautiful. The shelves are made out of high quality 3/4″ ply, so they don’t bend. The top and bottom trim is so sharp. It’s just a really nice bookcase! I’m so happy to add this to my building repertoire, because it’s a classic piece at an affordable price. It cost me roughly $80 in materials (I had stain, sandpaper, and plugs on hand) and I’m charging $110 for it, since it was a first build. I never charge a full rate the first time I build something, because there’s usually a big learning curve. I make mistakes that I have to fix. In the future, I’m thinking I’ll charge $160 for one with beadboard, and $130 for one without.




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6 comments

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  1. Victoria

    This looks amazing! I love the color of the stain and def love the beadboard!

  2. Stephanie/SwoodsonVintage

    I wish you lived closed to us – I need to find someone to build us a ‘real wood’ expedit :/

  3. Maddie

    That turned out unbelievable! Man, Brooke, you just keep getting better and better! Your stuff has always looked good, but that last coffee table you did and this new shelf have a super-professional look and look expensive! I honestly think you could charge more than $130/160 in the future because the shelf looks waaaaaay more expensive than that.

    Great job!

  4. Amanda

    It’s beautiful! I’m always so impressed with the pieces you build!

    1. Thank you Amanda!

  5. Suzy

    Those are some mighty fine pitchers you got thar missy…;) oh and the bookshelf ain’t too shabby either!!! :)

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