Useful Designs and Beautiful Style in Barrister Bookcases


We can thank attorneys for the beautiful, sophisticated barrister bookcases. First introduced several centuries ago, these bookcases were

Originally designed to protect legal volumes from moisture and dust, today the glass door bookcases still do both, but have become a stylish addition to the home study.

For the Armchair Attorney A Barrister Bookcase

designed to keep heavy – and expensive – legal tomes from getting wet or damaged.  The style caught on, and today, barrister bookcases are a chic, and practical, accessory for the home.

What Is a Barrister Bookcase?

Barrister bookcases have doors that are attached to the front of the shelves to keep dust or humidity from ruining books.  This was their original purpose, and they are still quite useful.  They are, however, very much prized for their classical sense of style.  So a shelf with doors is a barrister bookcase?  No, it is a shelf with doors.  To be a barrister bookcase, the doors must hinge from the top.  This is a technical difference to be sure, that is original to the design.  You may find bookcases with shelves are exactly what you need.  Those who choose barristers, however, are usually looking for the combination of style and utility.

The first barrister cases were made so the user could take a particular case from room to room without removing all the books.  You will find designs today that are true to the original: they are self-contained and stackable.  The advantage is that they are easy to move and you can configure them in a number of ways.

Barrister cases come in all different styles, materials, and finishes today.  If you want the look of a traditional barrister, try to find an antique dealer or modern manufacturer who produces replicas.  You can also build your own if you have a good set of shelf plans.  In any case, you will love the look and versatility of these great bookcases.

Woodworking Builds an Appreciation for Artisan Work


An interest in woodworking usually begins when a person needs something functional or practical like a bookcase for the

Rich wood finish is gorgeous on this classic, but modern book made to be a part of an impressive entry or plush living room.

Classic Bookshelves in Rich Wood

children’s room or shelves in the garage. In my case, it all started with me years ago after a cabinet maker made some desks to order for my real estate office.

You see, selling real estate is a business that leaves no tangible product even when you’ve done your job flawlessly.   I was deeply struck by the tangible nature of the beautiful work the cabinet maker left when his job was finished.  You could touch and feel it, and you could admire its beauty and functionality. You could really appreciate his work as an artist.

That was the day I not only became interested, but decided I would begin to make things out of wood too.   My grandfather had been the mill superintendent of our local lumber yard and he introduced me to woodworking with the pieces he had built for my grandmother.   My favorite was a bookcase cabinet with glass doors.  Realizing a project that intricate would come later, I settled for building some storage shelves and a work table for my outside utility room at home.

My first lesson came when my shelf plans told me I would need certain tools, which we had on hand. In addition, the shelf plans also taught me about using jigs for sawing precisely to make two things I would need… simple sawhorses. They came out very well, and I was hooked on woodworking.

The shelf plans were straightforward and soon I had two wall shelves up, and then decided I needed a counter or work area of sorts for the little utility room. I took another lesson from my office cabinet maker who had filled a similar space in my office. He made a table for our microfiche machine (remember those?), so I borrowed the idea for my narrow utility room.

The room was about six feet wide, so I bought a plain, ordinary six foot interior door at the lumber yard. I used a dark stain on it and voila, it became a 30 inch counter. The supports for my top were made as follows using 2 by 4 pieces of lumber just as my office carpenter had done.

I bought three, eight foot long 2 X 4’s. The supports were two, eight foot long 2 X 4’s each cut into two, three foot lengths with two feet left over. The third board gave me two more two foot lengths and left me with a four foot scrap length which I chose to use to make my counter have even more support in the back by the wall.

The main supports were these rectangles I built with the two foot lengths forming the base and the top as headers and footers for additional weight bearing capacity. The three foot lengths were the front and back vertical members in between. Both of these finished pieces were pushed back to the wall and secured to it for stability. These rectangles formed the base or the “legs” of the table.

For added stability, I placed my door counter top on its new supports, then got on the floor and used a pencil to mark the wall horizontally

An exploded view illustration from a set of book shelf plans

Shelf Plans Show How It Fits Together

where the bottom of the table top struck the back wall. I put screw holes in my wood, held my wood up to the line where the table top would rest and used my drill to mark the wall in two places about twelve inches from each end of my four foot long 2 X 4 scrap piece.

It was finished by preparing the wall to receive my fasteners, then attaching the scrap piece to the wall. Once the table top was set back into place, it was completely sturdy and I felt like the queen of my castle. Yes, I’m a gal who just loves woodworking. It’s really just like sewing to me, but for different patterns, tools, and materials. We haven’t lived in that house for twenty-one years, but I’d bet the work table is still there.

tetris shelf, shelf plans for tetris shelves, wall shelf, designer shelves

Beginner or Pro Will Enjoy These

You might be a beginner or a pro, regardless you will enjoy these five simple woodworking projects.  Woodworkers enjoy the feel of the woods they mold into useful objects.  Part of the feeling of well being the woodworker enjoys

Floating wall shelf with corbels to add strength to the hold items like vases.

Attractive Display of Mementos on Wall Shelves

comes from giving others a piece of themselves each time they share their work with others.  The five simple roads to self-satisfaction are:

1.   The solid wood Picture Frame

Nothing makes a house a home more than having the walls adorned with framed works of art or pictures and portraits of family members.  These are the things which give your home a personality all its own and without speaking at all make your visitors feel at home too.

2. Bookshelf

This doesn’t need to be a large project, but rather one like this simple bookcase.  This is a lovely little bookcase that I wrote about in my previous article.  It is a true piece of furniture and could appropriately be placed in the living area or in the bedroom to accommodate your night time reading.

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Tetris Split Wall Shelves – Simple & Stunning Project

3.  Set of Wall Shelves

One of the least expensive and most decorative way to show off your walls is with a handsome floating wall shelf or one more substantial depending upon the space available and the size of the room.  Narrow floating shelves are best for narrow areas, while a larger room would be best for the heartier wall shelves.  Either shelf type can be a simple project with a little imagination, some stain or paint, and some quality shelf plans.  To learn more, click on the link in this section and you will see there are so many plans from which to choose, your creativity will come alive.

4.  A Decorative Address Sign or Plaque

A decorative address sign which is coordinated with the style of your home or an address plaque hung on the front of your home will add value and make a statement that you care.  Either of these is relatively simple, but the degree of difficulty is your choice.

5.  A Bird Feeder or Birdhouse

A bird feeder or a birdhouse are great projects and will bring wildlife to your yard and can be enjoyed forever.  Take a moment to visit my other sites on Bird Feeder Plans and the one on Birdhouse Plans.  As you can probably tell, I love my home, my woodworking, and my back yard complete with my

Small, decorative bird feeder for sparrows, finches, and wrens

Decorative Small Bird Feeder

very own birdhouses and bird feeders.

If you read our “About” page, you know I’m probably a girl with a name like “Judy”.  And, you would be right.  I bring this up only to encourage the other girls who might be reading my woodworking blogs.  Woodworking is like sewing with really heavy materials and needles.  Woodworking is an art to most of us, and as such, with the right tools you will easily be able to build anything you can imagine and still be a lady.

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