I wanted these shelves to be narrower than a lot of store-bought shelving, yet wide enough to accommodate books. The layout of the shelving unit can be adapted to any space. I found it useful to measure up the shelving area (1450mm 1500mm for me, plus the area beneath), and then map out a grid of four units wide and five units high. Anything more than that and it'll get way too complicated to make. Once you have this grid, you can play around with various layouts for how to break up the shelving vertically and horizontally.
The first step of construction was to glue and clamp 110 x 19mm 1.8m DAR Tasmanian Oak planks to create 220mm-width planks. This took a while, especially the planing and sanding of various parts to ensure the joins were as seamless as possible. If I were to do this again, I'd just get planks that were the right width to start with.
The second step was to connect the sides and three full-width cross pieces to establish a strong frame. I checked that it would be a snug fit in the space I wanted the unit to occupy and made sure that the corners were square and everything was level.
I used a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig to attach the top, middle and bottom lengths to the sides so that there were no screw holes on the outside. The jig is easy to use and the results look great every time.
Once this initial frame was done, I added the internal vertical and horizontal pieces. I worked my way from the bottom up, cutting, glueing and screwing each piece. I attached the verticals first (the two you see below are 580mm each) and then the horizontals. Precision is so important at this point. I used a handsaw and did my best to keep the saw cuts at 90 degrees.
You can see some of the nice pocket holes in the image above. Wherever I needed more rigidity, I made four holes, otherwise it was two per join. At this point, all the construction was done. Everything looked good, and fit nice and snug. I filled and sanded the holes and any minor misalignments in the joins to get the unit ready for staining.
Depending on your taste and the style of your room, you could just lacquer this piece and be done. Tasmanian Oak has a beautiful rosy tint to it that goes with a lot of choices of decor. All the other furniture in our living room is a darker Teak colour so I used Cabot's Cedar Water Based Stain and Varnish to make it match.
The final step was to anchor the unit to the wall with an L-bracket. Anchoring the unit is crucial for safety and stability. After that, we were finally able to bring a whole lot of books out that we had stuffed away in boxes for ages and put them on display. An all-round satisfying result.