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17+ DIY Projects and Storage Hacks to Open up Your Space

13. A Bookshelf Inspired By Thomas Jefferson

A dad was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s idea of having stackable bookshelves for easy transport and decided to build his own set of Jefferson book boxes. He used pine plywood to create shelves, cutting them into different sizes, and used a table saw to cut jig joints into the sides of the wood. The dovetails on the ends of the board allowed them to fit together to create the box shape.

For finishing, he used shellac, which is environmentally friendly and waterproof. To make the edges darker, he burned them with a blowtorch and sealed the color with shellac.

Finally, he hammered the joints into place with a rubber mallet and drilled the bottoms of the boxes into place. They are stackable and feature handles, making them easy to move around. Now his son has an interesting and useful part of history in his room.

The 2nd project uses steamed beech with three coats of Minwax Antique Oil.

The cases feature hand-cut dovetails, with over 120 individual joints. The backs of the cases are 1/2″ beech, with a beaded shiplap, and they were fastened with clout nails. The project was modified slightly from the original design, and the author discusses the benefits of building the cases in one shot, using a Moxon vise for precision sawing, and using consistent measurements for all cases.
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