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Суббота, 23 Сен 2017
15.02.2011 14:05

Hinged book shelves

The magic of engineering that is. Where ultra-light construction and a wall attachment trick create a seamless illusion.

book_shelves_0_mGo ahead. Take a guess. Just what do you think one of these shelf  units weighs? I’ll give you a hint. The thickness is 13?8", the length of the longest part is 78" with the other leg 61". The height is 24" and the depth is 11". Some serious cherry timbers, you think? Say 40 or 50 pounds? Well, guess again friend ’cause you’re off by a factor of two. Yes, 23 pounds for the big unit and just 20 pounds for the smaller one. What you’re looking at are three torsion boxes for each unit that use a solid cherry front edge, a top and bottom of  1?4" cherry plywood and several pine ribs that run cross grain to the cherry ply, or perpendicular to the front edge. It’s all glued together to make a strong, flat and lightweight panel.  So how is it fixed to the wall? I’m not revealing that trick until the second act!

And by the way, if you think you’ve seen these shelves before, chances are you have. Our version was inspired by those shown in an Ace Hardware advertisement. I wasn’t surprised to learn from Ace that they’d had hundreds of requests for plans to build this project. When I suggested we feature it here, they jumped at the chance.

book_shelves_1_mTorsion (or anti-Torsion) Boxes.
Before heading to the shop, understand that what you are essentially making are a series of torsion boxes. Now why they are called “torsion” boxes and not “anti-torsion” boxes I’ll never know (unless one of you would be kind enough to help me). To me, “torsion” means “twisted, or twisting,” and what this construction technique does is prevent that from happening. Everything from aircraft wings and fuse lages to hollow-core doors use this principle to keep their shape, even under a lot of stress. If you do much woodworking, you’ll find torsion boxes a terrific solution to construction “problems” that come up from time to time. After looking over the drawings and collecting your materials, begin by cutting the parts. Cut the plywood to length and width and mill the solid cherry for the front edges. At this stage, leave the solid cherry just a little long and keep the edges square, but do cut the  1?2" x 1?4" rabbet where the plywood will be joined to the solid front edge. You should make sure that the rabbet’s depth leaves the solid edge flush or just proud of the plywood.

book_shelves_2_mBuild the Ribs
Now cut the pieces you’ll need to provide the build-up between the two plywood faces. It should be exactly the thickness of the dimension created by the two rabbet cuts. Note there are, however, two different widths and lengths. The pieces that are assembled at each end are both longer and wider than the intermediate ones. Lastly, cut out four strips of plastic laminate to the dimensions given. If you don’t have a plastic laminate such as Formica handy, you could substitute 1?16" x 1" precut strips of aluminum or steel. Before starting assembly of the shelf panels, glue the plastic or metal strips to the inside back edge of the plywood that will be the top side of the four long shelves. This material will reinforce the plywood when you attach the shelves to the wall. If you use plastic laminate, use either white or yellow woodworking glue. If you use metal, use an epoxy or polyurethane glue.

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