Built-In Bookcase And Mantle Installation

By Robert Robillard on Finish Carpentry

Fireplace Mantle and Flanking Bookcase

Custom built-in bookcase and mantle project:

On this project we were asked to remove the built-in cabinet and replace it with a built-in bookcase and mantle installation.

New Design – Built-In Bookcase And Mantle Installation

The plan was to install a custom mantle that is lower than the existing blue-stone mantle and built a new panel above the mantle.

The cabinet on the right would then be replaced with a bookcase to match the one on the left of the fireplace.  Once this was all done a television would be installed above the fireplace.

Before we started we needed to configure the base cabinet to accommodate audio visual equipment.  Cabinet door on the right was really a drawer that had been built for CDs.  We removed the drawer slides and installed hinge and a shelf inside to make this a functioning cabinet storage space.

The two doors on the right needed a shelf installed and some structural work done to the underside of the cabinet.

Remove The Old Cabinet:

Next we removed the top portion of the cabinet and discarded it.  I used long strips of straight plywood as a story pole to mark / duplicate the bookcase height, depth, width and other important measurements.  The same was done for the mantle and new panel above.

Fireplace Mantle

We custom ordered a Somerset  mantle from Premier Mantles and specified that the left and right returns be cut at exactly the measurement of the space between the two bookcases. The mantle and corbels were then removed.  The new Somerset mantle will cover the area where the broken off corbels are.

Equipment Considerations Start At The Design Phase:

Because all of the AV equipment is going into this new bookcase base cabinet we designed the new bookcase to 3/4″ less depth than it’s flanking sister. We did this so we could fur out the wall behind it with 3/4″ plywood strips and use that space as a chase for speaker, TV and HDMI cable.

Making the Bookcase in the Workshop:

Once back in the shop I ripped all the plywood parts to their rough widths. Using the story pole I ripped and cut everything to the correct width length.

I made the bookcase carcase out of maple plywood and used a dado blade on my table saw to create  tongue and dado joints.  the tongue and dado joint hold everything together and give better surface for gluing.  Glue and finish nails to hold it together.

See my post how to make a bookcase.

Mass. Construction Supervisor License Continuing Education


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Writer / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. He also writes the "Ask the Carpenter" advice column in the Boston Globe, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob <a href="https://profiles.google.com/concordcarpenter"

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