Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Particle Board Bookshelf Makeover

A couple Saturday's ago, Patrick and I helped a neighbor move around some furniture in her small apartment in order to allow delivery of a new bed. She decided that she had all too many books in the process and began to get rid of several of them. She also had two particle board shelves that were, in all honesty, really ugly. She planned to get rid of them because they didn't really fit where they were and, as previously stated, they were ugly. Still, the storage would be helpful to her, and after having a hard time finding the right thing to replace the storage for a very low price, I suggested just making over the shelves.

This shelf was rather interesting. It was made completely of particle board and, I assume, at one point some glue. The pieces were just cut with notches to fit them together. While this is a rather smart way to build a really cheap shelf, it is not a good way to build an attractive shelf, nor is it a really good use of space; this technique leads to some odd protrusions which are neither attractive or useful (beyond keeping the shelf from collapsing, but I mean you can't put anything on them and they take up space).

I began by fixing the main reason the shelves were ugly, which was surprisingly not the fact that they were made from bare particle board, but the odd protrusions (which is a testament to how bad the protrusions were, not a compliment of particle board). I simply cut them off and replaced the structural support they gave with screws. Then, I cut off the top shelf in order to make the shelves fit under the window they were to be placed under. Finally, they got a coat of primer and a coat of white paint. The primer was even more important than usual because I am pretty sure the particle board would have otherwise sucked up a couple gallons or so of paint (and I am only sort of exaggerating).

I really think they are a vast improvement and she was pleased with them. She actually first wanted only one done, but then it took up so much less room without the protrusions that she decided she had room for both. That was no problem for me, but it does mean I was only able to take a picture of them completed one at a time. I also ended up not having a good picture of the shelves before, but you can get the idea from the one above. All you really need to know, however, it that it was bad.

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