Can someone help me make this french industrial bookcase?

cleo07February 4, 2010


I would like to make a bookcase similar to this one from Wisteria (no longer available) but I don't know what the metal parts would be called. I am assuming they are stem casters inserted into the hollow bar but that's about as far as I can figure out. I can't tell if the metal supports are single bars or are they shorter bars joined together with some screw assembly? I probably would do it shorter too as the piece looks like it may get top heavy,

Thanks in advance for any tips.

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The supports look like they might be galvanized iron pipe sections, threaded into pipe flanges -- standard Home Depot sorts of stuff.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 2:36PM
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I would hazard a guess that they used 3/4" threaded rod, washers, nuts, and sleeves that slip over the rod and are tightened against. It would be cool if you welded the rod to the caster pin and it became part of the structure.
You could use 2" thick poplar mason's planking for the shelves. Neat project. That should easily take 2000 lbs.of cargo. But don't let it get top heavy.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 4:49PM
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Looking closer, I think Casey's right. There do seem to be flats on the parts I thought were flanges, which means they're actually nuts.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 5:28PM
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Thanks guys!

I have been wanting this bookcase for 2 years but they wanted $800 for it plus freight which I think is a lot for the materials and skill level for this bookcase. The wood looks salvage but it isn't listed as such so I think it is just distressed and aged to look old.

So I basically thread on the nut, then washer, then shelf, then the sleeve on each rod at each of the given heights? That sounds pretty easy once I track down the materials. Do they have threaded casters? I know Van Dykes doesn't but maybe online?

I also have some articles on using vinegar to age new planks and can stamp on numbers or whatever, then seal. How thick should I do the wood to get that look?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 8:08PM
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$800 sounds cheap to me -- you're going to be surprised at how pricey those materials are. Here is an internet source for six-foot lengths of 3/4" threaded rod; with shipping, they are more than $47 each. Big, rubber-wheeled casters are also expensive, but maybe you can get some secondhand on eBay.

I think those casters may be a pretty standard type, with a plate fastened to the plank with several screws.

The wood is thicker than anything you'll get from a big-box store. You'll need to find a lumberyard that stocks rough lumber, buy 6/4 rough stock (red oak?) and have them plane it down to 1 1/4" thick or so. I'd guess that you'll be sinking at least $100 into the wood.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 6:17AM
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You might get away with shorter section of threaded rod if you use couplers concealed inside the shelf to join the rod sections.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 7:43AM
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I don't think plate-mounted casters are going to end up so close to the corners. The plates on 6" casters are around 4x6, for the ones I've seen; that puts the centerline of the caster 2" in from the edge, which doesn't look like the picture. If I were building it, I would search for identical casters, esp. with a black oxide finish.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 12:28PM
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I predict $800 is going to look like a good deal by the time you're done buying materials. I build a lot of things myself because I'm cheap and because I can usually do a better job, but this one looks like a challenge to get right and to find correct hardware for at a reasonable cost. I'm not trying to discourage you...just the voice of experience speaking here!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Hi everyone. Sorry I didn't get back here.. We got hit with snow and lost power all day.

You guys are right about the cost of materials. I did check out the price of the casters which can be crazy expensive ($200 per caster for some??). I think if I can find cool casters for cheap, it will be worth making.

Thanks for all the tips. This is something I may tackle this summer so I will start looking for bargain materials to make it worthwhile. I'll post back when I make it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 8:22AM
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"I did check out the price of the casters which can be crazy expensive ($200 per caster for some??)."

The casters on the unit are probably not weight rated for their apparent size.
They 'look' heavy duty, but are not.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Well, it looks like you need 48 flanges for all those pipes, so I hope you can find decent ones cheap! If you do end up tackling this project, I'd like to hear how it turns out. Good luck, whatever you do.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 3:28PM
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I purchased the Wisteria FRENCH INDUSTRIAL coffee table and sofa table and then they stopped selling the Wisteria French Industrial bookcases that you want to build.

Here is another seller of the same furniture below.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 12:07AM
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