thinking outside the tank

SketchUp, books, Polynesian migration theory, and pride

with one comment

The building of the Conti-Ki
I am writing this in praise of Google’s SketchUp program which allowed me to design and visualise a bookcase that would fit into the loft conversion that we pretentiously call The Study. The loft, the garage, and the garden shed are my domains and I’m finally getting round to organising them. This includes finding a home for several thousand books.  Yes, I know that previously I have blogged about the obsolescence of writing and I sell my stories as e-books through Mobipocket, but Andrew Marr is right about the sensuality (the sight, the feel, and the smell) of books.
SketchUp plan and finished bookcase

SketchUp plan and finished bookcase

I feel comfortable surrounded by them though I still, sometimes, confuse ownership of a book with understanding the ideas it contains. I read too many books when I was young and too short of life experience to appreciate the points that were being made, the stresses endured and the compromises reached. Now I’m finding a balance between experiencing life and reading about the experiences of others, and the first step to take was to organise and manage the paper.

SketchUp, a 3D-modelling program available from Google was brilliant in the design phase. It allowed me to define the shape of the bookcase and add scaled images to help me position the vertical supports. Having completed the design I extracted measurements which I used to estimate the materials required. A piece of advice I can offer is: never build a bookcase during a recession. My mistake was to shy away from the cost of solid wood and to choose a composite – essentially wood chips, glue, and a laminate surface.

South side of the Conti-Ki

South side of the Conti-Ki

The brand I used was called Contiboard, hence the naming of the project Conti-Ki, but I suspect I would have been disappointed by the performance of any similar material. If Thor Heyerdahl had used this board for his raft then his Polynesian migration theory would have come to a watery end on the first day of the Kon-Tiki expedition.

I used glued, dowelled joints to hold the bookcase together. There are about 80 dowels in the top section and I would recommend a hand-held dowelling guide sold by Bosch without which I could not have aligned the holes.

To support the upper section of Conti-Ki, which is double-depth, I also used SketchUp to design a bookcase tailored to the size of Penguin paperbacks.

A friend of my daughter’s noticed a door she hadn’t seen before and asked where it led.

“OMG, I can’t believe you have a third floor and you didn’t tell me!” And after five minutes: “It’s a haven of tranquillity; I could sit up here all the time.”  Me too. My sin is pride.


Copyright © Colin Hazlehurst 2009


Written by netkingcol

August 28, 2009 at 12:02 pm

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. There is something about the smell of books that is intoxicating. I am to books what women are supposedly to shoes. I can spend hours fingering through them, especially used bookstores cluttered with ceiling tall shelves. The bookshelf design looks amazing. Congratulations. I love the way the wall hugs them.


    August 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: