How to Make a Book Rack

A minimalist approach to an always needed piece of furniture, this book rack will always look good and never need dusting

When it comes to book racks, I can never have enough.  Luckily, making a book rack is pretty straight forward and always useful, but what if you could spice it up a bit? Well, you can.

Make it taller, make it shorter, make it wider.  How you do it is up to you -- here's our take on an industrial modern book rack.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 board at 1 inch x 10 inches x 6 feet
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter's square or ruler
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • 19 1/2 feet of 1/2-inch EMT conduit 
  • Pipe tube cutter
  • Orbital sander
  • 220 grit sanding pads
  • Drill
  • 22/32 inch drill bit
  • Gorilla two-part epoxy  
  • Application brush
  • 2 long clamps                    
  1. Use a measuring tape to measure out 33 1/2 inches and, using a carpenter's square or ruler, mark a cut line.
  2. Clamp the board to the work surface. Be sure to leave enough clearance to run the circular saw across the board.
  3. Tip

    It is not always necessary to employ clamps when using a circular saw, but thin boards -- especially long ones -- can get a bit squirrelly. Using clamps makes it safer and aids in making straighter cuts.

  4. Hold the board steady and make the first cut.
  5. Repeat these steps to end with two boards at 33 1/2 inches.
  6. Mark all the drill holes for the left side board in the following pattern:
  7. * Three marks at 1 inch up from bottom;  1 inch in from left, 1 inch in from right, center
    * Three marks at 1 inch down from top;  1 inch in from left, 1 inch in from right, center
    * Three marks at 17 inches up from bottom;  1 inch in from left, 1 inch in from right, center
    * One mark at 3 3/4 inches up from bottom, 1 inch in from left
    * One mark at 21 3/4 inches up from bottom, 1 inch in from left
    * One mark at 8 1/2 inches up from bottom, 1 inch in from right
    * One mark at 24 1/2 inches up from bottom, 1 inch in from right
  8. Center the drill bit on each of the marks and drill 3/4 of the way into the board.
  9. Tip

    Attach a piece of tape, known as a flag, to the bit at the level of depth -- in this case, roughly 1/2 inch.

  10. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the right side board with one important difference: The right side is to be a MIRROR image of the left side, NOT an exact replica. The three sets of three marks at the bottom, top, and center will all remain the same. The last remaining four are at the same measurements with the directions reversed.
  11. Using 220 grit sanding pads with an orbital sander, smooth all sides and ends of both boards.
  12. Measure and mark 18 inches on the conduit.
  13. Use a tube cutter to cut 13 lengths of conduit, each 18 inches long.
  14. Tip

    If you're not familiar with a tube cutter, here is how it works: Line up the blade with the mark and tighten the screw at the bottom. Tighten as much as possible while still being able to rotate the entire cutter around the conduit. After each revolution, tighten the screw about a half turn. Continue until you have cut all the way through the conduit

  15. Mix the epoxy thoroughly.
  16. Use a small brush to apply liberal amounts of epoxy to the drill holes of one board, and be sure to get the sides of the holes as well. **Important**: Do NOT apply epoxy to the drill holes of both boards. You'll dry fit the opposite side to ensure stable construction.
  17. After applying the epoxy, place the conduit as quickly as possible. To spread the epoxy, give each piece a twist or two as you place it.
  18. When all the pipes are in place, dry fit the opposite side to hold them straight while the epoxy dries.
  19. Clamp the rack to the work surface while the epoxy dries. Make sure that the rack is standing as straight as possible.
  20. When the epoxy is dry, remove the clamps and repeat the gluing process with the other side. Re-clamp the rack as the epoxy dries.
  21. Now that you're finished, it's time to decorate your new book rack with your favorite paper friends.

About the Author

Ben and Jessie Uyeda are a brother and sister team who teach people how to make affordable modern furniture by publishing DIY design videos online. Ben brings a professional background in architecture and digital media while Jessie pulls from her experiences as a former lumber jack and mill worker.