What is made from solid wood, but still has two good sides? Our room divider! You can build it either as a shelving unit that is open on both sides, a shelving unit with a rear panel, or as a sideboard with rear panel and doors. Whatever you choose – this piece of furniture will look great in any room.
The design essentially consists of several shelf bases that are fastened between the side panels with screws. The entire unit rests on a butt-jointed plinth.
The following assembly instructions are for 20-mm-thick beech glued laminated timber board. You must adapt the list of materials accordingly if you opt for other materials or thicknesses.
Ask your DIY store or carpenter to cut the required boards to size.
1. Drill a row of holes in the side panels
Drill two rows with holes measuring 5 mm diameter on the inside surface of the left-hand outer side panel, on all surfaces of the lower centre side panels and on the inside surface of the right-hand outer side panel.
To do this, use a pencil to draw a line at a distance of 37 mm from the upper and lower edge respectively. The hole centres are located on this line. Mark a point every 32 mm along the line (distance from hole centre to hole centre). The first hole is located about 70 mm from the bottom edge.
Place the centring tip of the wood drill bit precisely on the intersection point of each marked cross. Do not drill all the way through. Each hole should be 10 mm deep. You should therefore use a depth stop: this is a locating stop ring with a setscrew that is attached directly to the drill bit and used to adjust the drilling depth.
Tip for spacing holes at 32 mm
If you assemble furniture regularly, it could be worth buying a 32-mm system hole template (the name refers to the standard increments between holes). Once the template is clamped onto the workpiece, all you need to do is drill through the metal collars. As a result, the holes are perfectly spaced and perpendicular.
2. Join the sections for the upper compartments together
Place the outer side panels and the upper and lower centre side panels together with the visible edge facing downwards in the way you want to assemble them. Now use a pencil to mark the rear edges so that you always know what goes where at a later stage of assembly. Carpenters normally use a triangular symbol for this purpose.
Mark the shelf panels in the same manner.
The next step is to set up the two upper continuous shelf panels and the two upper centre side panels on their rear edges in the way you want to fasten them together. For the exact spacing measurements, see our illustration. Secure the positions carefully with clamp clips to prevent anything from slipping. Remember to use pieces of scrap wood as buffer blocks while doing so to avoid leaving unsightly pressure marks on the workpieces.
You can now mark the position of the centre side panels on the shelf panels using a pencil. In the middle of the centre side panel outlines on the shelf panels, make two 4-mm holes, with the outer hole at least 30 mm from the outer edges. Countersink the outside of the holes in the shelf panels. (At the same time, you can drill the holes for fastening the sideboard top with screws; countersink these holes from below.)
Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 50 mm), assemble the centre side panels and the shelf panels.
Tip for screwing together two pieces of wood
In the piece where you want to insert the screws first, always predrill a hole that is 0.5 to 1 mm larger than the screw diameter; the hole should be countersunk for the screw head. In the piece that you are going to drill second, predrill a hole that is always 1 mm smaller than the screw diameter.
3. Join the upper carcass and outer panels together
Lay the assembled upper section on its back. Now align the outer panels and the lower long shelf panel on top of this section until the carcass appears as you want to assemble it. Once again, use a pencil to copy the outlines of the shelf panels to the insides of the outer panels.
Drill two 4-mm holes in the centre of the marked outlines. Countersink these holes from outside: be particularly careful because these screw fittings will be visible externally.
Now use the cordless screwdriver and flat head screws (4 x 50 mm) to assemble the carcass sections. Before doing so, refer to the tip on screwing together two pieces of wood in the previous step.
4. Fit the carcass inner sections
Again, use a pencil to mark the position of the lower centre side panels on the shelf panels. However, this time, only drill two 4-mm holes into the lower shelf panel for each centre side panel in the centre of the outline. Countersink the holes from below. The carcass should still be lying on its back.
You can fasten the centre side panels as usual to the lower shelf panel with screws from below. However, for the upper shelf panel, you can make things easier by using L-shaped brackets. Fit the brackets so they lie flush on top, one in front on one side and the other behind on the other side.
Now slide the centre side panels that you have prepared for fastening between the shelf panels. Using the cordless screwdriver and flat head screws (4 x 50 mm), fit the centre side panels to the lower shelf panel (refer to the tip on screwing together two pieces of wood in step 2) through the L-shaped brackets with screws (3 x 17 mm).
5. Join the plinth sections together and mount the plinth
Lay the long and short plinth surrounds together on a surface in the way you want to assemble them. Now use a pencil to mark the edges so that you always know what goes where at a later stage of assembly. Carpenters normally use a triangular symbol for this purpose.
Predrill the five plinth surrounds and the screw strips. Since the surrounds are screwed evenly and diagonally together through the upright screw strips in the corners, align the drill holes through the screw strips so they are staggered accordingly. Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm), mount the plinth sections as shown in the illustration
Now predrill the connector strips used to fasten the carcass with the plinth. Mount the connector strips horizontally using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm) to the short plinth surrounds so they are flush with the upper edges.
Now turn the carcass upside down and align the plinth along the bottom. Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 40 mm), you can mount the plinth below the carcass through the connector strips.
6. Join the sideboard top with the carcass
In step 2, you predrilled the upper shelf panel so you could fasten it to the sideboard top. You can now fit these pieces together. To manage this from below in the compartment measuring only 200 mm, you can use the Bosch IXO cordless screwdriver, which has a suitably compact design.
First align the sideboard top on the carcass: it will project by 5 mm on the right and left-hand sides, and by 20 mm to the front and rear. The larger overhang is to allow room for the rear panel and for the doors, which you can fit as required.
7. Prepare and mount the rear panel
You can attach the rear panel invisibly to the sideboard with laborious dowel-glue joints, or save yourself the trouble with brackets and screws. The following section describes the simpler option.
Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (3 x 17 mm), screw two L-shaped brackets so they are flush with the rear edge to the inside of the carcass outer panels, or flush to the rear inside the carcass base panels on the left and right-hand sides, as illustrated.
Lay the carcass on its side. Align the rear panel on the side edge of the carcass in the way you want to assemble it. Fix it in place with clamp clips and fasten it from the inside through the L-shaped brackets, using the cordless screwdriver and screws (3 x 17 mm).
8. Fit concealed hinges to the doors and tighten doors
Lay the doors on your working surface in the way you want to assemble them on the piece of furniture. Mark the doors so that you always know which side is left or right or top or bottom later on during assembly.
Using a pencil, mark the axis lines for the positions for the concealed hinges on the back of the doors. The axis lines must be located precisely in the centre of two holes from the row of holes. For this purpose, lay the carcass on the outer panel and position the appropriate door as if it were open at a 90° angle. You can now easily copy the axis lines to the door. Copy the axis lines for the second door from the first door using a ruler or a carpenter's angle square. You will need concealed hinges with a centre stop for our doors.
The distance between the holes for the concealed hinges to the edge is 35 + 5 mm, or 40 mm. Mark the four drilling points on the pencil or axis lines. Use the 35-mm Forstner bit (wood drill with a diameter greater than 12 mm) to drill the holes for the concealed hinges.
Adjust the depth stop as required on the drill bit and aim the centring tip of the Forstner bit precisely on the marked drilling point.
Note on order of steps
You should fit the concealed hinges only after treating the surfaces to achieve perfect results. However, we will describe the procedure here in this step to cover all points.
Insert the concealed hinges in the holes and use the cordless screwdriver and screws provided to mount them.
The backs of the concealed hinges on the doors are the base plates on the carcass. These should be fitted next. To do this, press the concealed hinges into the two holes in the row of holes you used earlier to trace the axis lines. Lay the carcass on one of the outer sides to help you clip on the doors. Position each door as if it were open at a 90° angle. Now align the door using two 5-mm spacer blocks so it is parallel to the side panel. Guide the hinge arms through the base plates and clip them into place.
Finally, predrill the holes for the knobs on the doors. Tighten these with the screws provided.
9. Sand wood surfaces
Take time to prepare the surfaces so they are in the best working condition possible before starting assembly.
First chamfer all edges with sanding paper with a grit of 120 or 180 at a 45° angle to create a small bevel. Use your sander to sand all visible surfaces in the direction of the wood grain, first with coarse sanding paper (grit of 120, 180) and then with fine sanding paper (grit of up to 240).
Damp sponge the surfaces afterwards to wipe off the dust. Some loose wood fibres may protrude while the wood is drying. You can remove these with sanding paper with a grit of 180. The wood is now ready for surface treatment. Little tip: Make sure that the sanding paper is sharp enough to remove the wood fibres properly, not just flatten them.
10. Wax the surfaces
First read the wax manufacturer's safety and handling instructions thoroughly. Make sure the room you are working in is well ventilated and not used for smoking, eating or drinking.
Generously apply the wood wax with a fine spray system and remove any excess wax with a cloth. Observe the drying times specified by the wax manufacturer.
If you want to apply a second coat of wax, you need to sand the surface between coats using sanding paper with a grit of 240. Once again, you must always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Repeat the application as described in the section above. Once the wax has dried, polish the surface with a soft brush until it gleams.
Following the wax application, spread out the wax cloth and leave it to dry properly in a well-ventilated area. If left scrunched up in a ball, the cloth may become warm and self-ignite.