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Depth of book shelves?

Bookcases: If You Build/Buy Them, They Will Fill

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Edited: Mar 4, 2007, 2:13am Top

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Feb 21, 2007, 6:41pm Top

For a built in I would tend to go with the 12" boards. Unless you have specific need I would stay away from making it 14", that is huge. The book case design would make the decision of wether or not to angle things back as the case went up the wall.
Just my opinions but I think 11-12" are about perfect for most cases.

Feb 21, 2007, 6:52pm Top

Dead space behind books is a dust magnet. It's bad enough keeping them dusted without having to pull them off the shelves to dust behind them.

I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this (...being an extreme case and all...) but I long since shifted to "shelving by size".

My built-in bookcases are a mix of nominal 6" and nom. 8", with only about six feet of nom. 12". (The paperbacks are almost entirely relegated to custom 4.5" pb cases, deeper in the house.) Each case is then proportioned to the size of the books it holds: the 6" cases are 9- and 10-shelves tall, the 8" cases are 8- and 9-shelves, the 12" cases are 7-shelves.

The deepest cases (12") are in the middle of one wall, and each rank to each side then steps back. It gives the room a 'waist' in the middle, which visually helps divide the room. (It might have at least a placebo effect on the acoustics, too.)

This was all in the interest of a) keeping the price down (12" board is expensive) and b) maximizing the amount of running shelf.

Feb 21, 2007, 7:42pm Top

Having just been through the process of having bookcases made, I can speak only from my perspective. Prior to LT, I cataloged all of our books in an Excel spreadsheet (and I still keep it as a parallel catalog). I'm anal-retentive enough that I have columns for the weight and dimensions (in both metric and avoirdupois).

Relative to how books normally sit on a shelf, the tallest book we have is 17", the deepest is just over 16". The majority of our books are approximately 9"x6", but a significant number of them are either 11" tall or 10" deep.

Having that information, and measurements of wallspace, doorframe heights, window sill encroachment, and locations of electric outlets and switches was invaluable to the bookshelf maker.

In the end, we got a dictionary stand, a set of Steinbock shelves, and 6 bookcases -- 5 of which are 11" deep and one at 16-1/2" deep. The dictionary stand is 22" deep, by the way, so if we get any books with glandular disorders, that's where they're going. All of the bookcases have one fixed shelf in the middle, and the rest are adjustable.

Eventually, we'll post some shelf porn on here for you all to drool over.

Feb 21, 2007, 8:17pm Top

Here are some pictures of a built-in book case I did in my last house. it's 12" deep and all the shelves on the sides are adjustable. The paper backs easily fit 2 deep. The window sill is 15 1/4" deep. Just for some visuals.

Feb 21, 2007, 8:25pm Top

OOOHHHH!!! Shelf porn!!!!!

Edited: Feb 21, 2007, 9:03pm Top

I would love to have bookshelves that are just big enough for the books. Since I have some series that mix small paperbacks with hardbacks, then big enough for a hardback book is the size, I guess, with a couple extra-large shelves for my extra-large books.

I have a tendency to set stuff down any place there is room, and empty space on the bookshelf, in front of the books, accumulates stuff. And I have to keep all my books pushed back against the back of the shelves, or Asimov (my cat) will pull them down.

Edit: After some consideration - for me, those shallower bookshelves would only be good if the cat couldn't reach them, I guess.

Feb 21, 2007, 9:40pm Top

readafew #5: nice!

Feb 21, 2007, 11:09pm Top


Feb 22, 2007, 12:21pm Top

Regardless of the depth, make as many shelves adjustable as possible and get an extra shelf for each case so that you aren't locked into your first go at arranging the books. Our shelves that are anchored to the wall don't need any fixed shelves which has been very helpful. We also do a lot of shelving by size because of the number of books we have!

Edited: Mar 4, 2007, 2:14am Top

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