Over-sized Oak Bookcase

When I made this bookcase some years back, I built it to fit a specific area of an office wall. However, if I were to do it again, I would have made two narrower bookcases rather than one wide unit.  At the time, my thinking was that a single wide unit would be the most economical use of material. Plus, the dimensions (46″ wide by 68″ high) would form an almost perfect golden rectangle, a furniture proportioning staple that has been in use for centuries.

Oversized oak bookshelf

Oversized oak bookcase

But form must follow function. Over time, I found myself wishing that the bookcase was narrower which would make it easier to fit other spaces in the house as well as easier to move. Most commercial bookcases of this height are 30″ to 36″ wide. I actually think a “standard” width bookcase looks better than a wider case – perhaps it’s just that we’re used to seeing relatively narrow units? But I decided to be a bit creative with this design and try something different. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

This bookcase has held up well over the years and exhibits no noticeable sag in spite of the wide shelf span.  The shelves are made from 3/4″ thick solid red oak and measure 11-1/2″ deep by 43″ wide. They are glued and screwed to the solid red oak vertical support pieces and also attached to the 1/4″ oak veneer back panel via screws inserted from the rear. No particle board or plywood in this beast!

The bookshelf has migrated to the basement office for general purpose storage

The bookcase has migrated to the basement office for general purpose storage

These days the bookcase sits in the basement office and holds an assortment of paper backs, medium-sized books, photo albums and miscellaneous papers, folders, etc.  Hopefully, the next time I have to move it, it will be to donate it to a family member or friend and they can do most of the lifting!