Our neighbor has had a little book box in his front yard for a few years, and happened to mention that he was thinking of replacing it with something larger. So Tina and I decided to take advantage of all the scrap wood we have from our demolished bookshelves and recycle them into something new.
I stewed on the idea for a while, since I wanted the new one to be something interesting enough to spend a whole day (or more) building. Eventually I drew this little sketch:
And we got started. The pieces we were working with were these long 1 X 10 boards that had been a set of ill-fitting bookshelves in our upstairs room; we’d pulled those out, and the wood had been sitting outside.
So, we started building individual boxes, in various widths, all tall enough to fit a hardcover novel. As the boxes were finished Tina started painting them. The neighbor had the inspired idea of painting the boxes in a Mondrian theme.
The curved roof promised to be a challenge. I cut the curve out of plywood and used some leftover 1 X2 to support the overhang.
The neighbor couldn’t stand just watching us do all this so he came over to paint for a while.
It was quite a bit of work to mask everything off and get those nice, clean lines on the side-by-side colors. I am grateful to be married to someone who doesn’t mind doing it. She has this magical ability to carefully do something and rush at the same time.
After painting the boxes and getting the doors on, it was time to attach the roof. The doors were fun; I had never worked with plastic before, and was pleased to see they had the plastic and some great screws for attaching it right down the street at Ace Hardware, along with those little thingamabobs that hold the door shut when you close it, the sort of thing one would use in a cabinet. Doors are always a bit of a miracle: when you screw the hinges and the closures on and the thing swings shut, stays shut and isn’t crooked…it’s just amazing.
The roof is a piece of duct material from the Re-Store, a place that sells unused, scrap, and used building material for Habitat for Humanity. I cut out the corners, folded them over by clamping a 1 X 2 along the length and bending it with pliers, then beat the edges down with a rubber mallet. I had to beat the corners with a hammer to get the little sharp bits flattened.
The final step was screwing and bolting the boxes onto the support pole, which is the same one that was holding the old book box. It was hard because we couldn’t fit the drill into the boxes, so it had to be done by hand.
Now we just need to fill it up!