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Re: Making a custom bookcase

Subject: Re: Making a custom bookcase
by Findegil on 2010/10/9 15:14:44

Lining a bookshelf with suede or felt would certainly cushion a book's bottom edge when sliding it in or out, at least until the lining is worn down by repeated sliding. But I wouldn't recommend it. Suede (if real leather) could eventually mark the bottom edge; felt may or may not have an acidic quality, and I would wonder about color-fastness; repeated sliding of books eventually will cause unsightly marks on the lining material; any non-smooth element on a bottom edge of a book would tend to catch at felt nap; and both suede and felt are dust magnets and difficult to clean. Also, you would have to use some sort of adhesive to mount the material to the shelf proper, to get a flat surface, and that would introduce another questionable element, possible acidity of the glue.

The answer is to have a smooth surface to the bookshelf - wood or metal - which is true with most commercial bookcases and minimizes contact with book edges; and then, in handling the book, to try not to slide it at all. For most books, this means: lay your index finger on the top edge (don't hook the top headcap, which could tear it), tilt the book towards you, grasp it with your other fingers as more of the volume clears the books on either side, and pull it out without sliding it on its edge (lift it a little if necessary). Of course, if the book is large or heavy, this technique has to be modified, e.g. push the volumes on either side a little towards the back of the shelf so that there's enough room to grasp the book wanted, then pull it forward, lifting it if you can. (Very large books should be shelved flat.)

I recommend Wayne and Christina's article to be found here on this very site


Written when we had 'only' 12,000 books!

Wayne