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Thomas Jefferson Book Boxes

Greetings, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break! Susan and I took the girls to Hiawassee, Georgia for a week over Christmas and although it was a lot of work I think everyone had a memorable time. While we were there we were able to get a bit of “antiquing” in. The girls shopped for tea cups and tea service while I shopped for vintage hand tools. But that was then and this is now my second week back at work and while considering what my next project should be, I was drafted to make a “tall skinny bookcase” for my eldest daughter.

After brief consideration I felt I had the perfect solution for her, “Thomas Jefferson Book Boxes”! The modular stacking boxes are not only utilitarian for a college student but she is a history major which should only add to the appeal. Erin want’s them painted white so I purchased inexpensive 8′ – 1 x 12″ pine boards and will glue, screw and plug for joinery. After deliberation I decided that 1/2″ ply for the backs would be strong enough and 3/4″ ply would add unnecessarily to the weight. I could be proven wrong on this; such is the privilege and adventure of make one’s own design.

Jefferson Book Boxes

Model for stacking book boxes made from 8′ – 1×12 pine.

Currently I’m planning to make 5 boxes, two large, two medium and one smaller but I’m not going to commit myself yet. I decided to make cutouts for hand hand-holds which should make moving the loaded boxes easier when the time comes. I am still going to recommend that two people move each loaded box because they will be heavy. Completely modular these don’t have to be stacked vertically and any reasonable number of boxes can be stacked in many configurations.

Project Dimensions (suggested)

Large Boxes

top and bottom (1 ea)  – 33″ L x 11 1/4″ W  (single 8′ – 1 x 12  pine)
sides (2) – 14″ T x 11 1/4″ W
back (1) – 15 1/2″ T x 33″W  (1/2″ ply)

Medium Boxes

top and bottom (1 ea)  – 30″ L x 11 1/4″ W  (single 8′ – 1 x 12  pine)
sides (2) – 12″ T x 11 1/4″ W
back (1) – 13 1/2″ T x 30″W (1/2″ ply)

Small Boxes

top and bottom (1 ea)  – 24″ L x 11 1/4″ W  (single 6′ – 1 x 12  pine)
sides (2) – 10 1/2″ T x 11 1/4″ W   (can split a ply – 24″ x 24″ panel for two boxes)
back (1) – 12 1/2″ T x 24″W (1/2″ ply)

Smaller Boxes

top and bottom (1 ea)  – 24″ L x 9 1/4″ W  (single 6′ – 1 x 10  pine)
sides (2) – 10 1/2″ T x 9 1/4″ W (can split a ply – 24″ x 24″ panel two boxes)
back (1) – 12 1/2″ T x 24″W (1/2″ ply)

Hand-hold Cutouts

Centered 2-3/4″ from front edge of the box. Three 1-7/8″ diameter holes next to each other, then cleaned up with a chisel. Alternatively could trace a shape and cut out with a jigsaw.

Resources

Monticello  Book Boxes « Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (Also called “book cases” or “book presses.”)

– http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/book-boxes

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