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How to build a shelving unit with mitred corners - the basics

Here is a quick "How to" guide on how we would design, prepare, build & fit a shelving unit or book shelf.

This is how it should like once complete.

We would start with the customers ideas and specs and then turn them into a rough drawing.

Depending on how complicated the unit is, a front and side elevation drawing will usually do.

Taking into account the material thickness, the sizes are worked out and a cutting list made.

They only need to be scribbles at this point. As long as you can understand them as you are building the unit, that is all that is needed.

The cutting list can then be drawn onto a 2440 x 1220mm rectangle (8 x 4ft sheet material) showing all the components and cuts.

This unit only needed 1 sheet of 25mm mdf as it was also used it for the backing.

This way, the unit can be fixed through the backing into the wall.

Once we have all the components cut to size, the 45 degree cuts are made on the table saw and so are the rebates.

The the mitred corners will give us a perfect finish without seeing the end grain of the mdf.

The rebates on the rear of the top, bottom and 2 sides are made so the backing sits inside and cannot be seen once the unit is made.

The uprights are marked out, and the biscuit slots are cut in using a biscuiting machine on the uprights and top and bottom.

Always do a dry run or dry assemble before gluing it together.

Also use a squaring block to keep the unit perfectly square.

If not, the finished unit will not look good and the backing may not fit within the rebates.

If the unit is to be painted, apply the first 2 coats of undercoat and first top coat before glueing and screwing the backing on.

The backing can then be painted too and screwed into place within the rebates.

One final coat of paint is applied before installation.

As I was fitting on my own and the unit is pretty heavy, I made up a prop to hold the unit in the correct place whilst fixing it into position.

Job done & this is the finished product.

Need anything made? Feel free to contact us via our contact page.

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