Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Little Free Library

Maybe you've heard of these "take a book, leave a book boxes".... or maybe you've even seen them in your own neighborhood.  I was planning to build one a few years ago, and then our neighbors (go Adam and Paul!) beat me to the punch.  Their "Bueno Books" box has been a great addition to the greater Bueno Avenue area, but the elements have taken their toll, so I figured I'd build a new one and document the process.  It was a great way to use up some scrap wood and a set of old cabinet doors that I had been hoarding.  The only cost was about $2 for some exterior-grade screws. Its a quick project- it only took me about an hour, and you can build it with just a drill and a screw.  You can vary the measurements to suit whatever materials you have on hand- in my case, the dimensions were driven by the size of the doors.

Step 1:

I used 3/4" thick plywood.  I'll protect it from the elements with paint.  The box needs two sides         that measure 11 3/4" deep.  Their top edges need to taper: they measured 29" on the longest side and 18" on the shortest side.

Step 2:

The box goes together quickly with 3" screws.  Even Abigail (age 7) got into the act.  The bottom of the box (and the shelf) were 27 1/2" x 11 3/4".

Step 3:

The main assembly is ready for a back.  I used 1/4" thick plywood, which is plenty strong.

Step 4:

The easiest way to attach the back is to tip the box onto its front.  Then you can drive screws directly into the 1/4" ply and into the 3/4" plywood parts of the box.

Step 5:

The roof is made from a single piece of 3/4" plywood I gave it a little bit of an overhang on the front and back edges. Its overall measurements with 32"x18".

Step 6:

The box could might mounted in any number of ways- I decided to attach a quartet of 2"x2" "stilts" to the corners.  This is because they were laying around with no other pressing purpose.  I liked the height that the box was at when it was perched on my bench, so I was able to attach the legs by simply letting the box overhang the bench top and then screwing the legs to the box.  A clamp helped hold the legs in place temporarily.

Step 7:

These doors feature "euro-style" hinges that are commonly found in kitchen cabinets.  That said, if your doors don't already have hinges like these, you may want to go with a simpler style- there is a bit of a learning curve to this type of hinge.  If you're looking for some old cabinet doors, I suggest checking someplace in your area that offers salvaged and reused building materials.  

The doors- once I cut the plexiglas and get it in- go a long way toward protecting the books and the interior surfaces of the box; the other key weather proofer is some kind of decent roofing material.  

Also: the term "Little Free Library" is an official designation. There are over 36,000 LFL's in the US alone.  You can register your book box and receive a plaque which certifies it as a part of the network.  That said, you are under no obligation to do so.

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