How to Build a Barrister’s Bookcase
Stackable cases with retractable overhead doors
Synopsis: Jeff Greef rebuilt a barrister bookcase from the early 1900s after it was damaged in an earthquake, and what he learned about it inspired him to build his own very much like it. Greef’s design consists of a couple of carcase modules, stacked together with a base and top unit. It has retractable doors that use pulleys so the doors don’t pull askew when opened. Greef explains how he chose materials and put the cases together, how he made the parallel mechanism, and final assembly. Detailed project plans illustrate the construction of the cases and pulley system, and a side article by Alec Waters details the guides that align overhead doors.
Among the victims of California’s 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a sectional bookcase (also known as a lawyer’s or barrister’s bookcase) belonging to a friend of mine. When she asked me to rebuild it, I inspected…