I do like the appearance of shelves, but here are two examples that are contrary to my desires. The nice looking one is 8′ high with adjustable shelves. The finish is Cherry. The rail and bracket shelf has 8′ long melamine laminated chipboard. I like the Cherry one, but would only ever want to use the bracket and rail shelves.
The Rail and Bracket shelves are adjustable, great for the home. They start 4′ 6″ up the wall so they do not appear as a cool ladder to small children. They will carry the weight of whatever is placed on them (get professional advice if you collect large lead ingots). Any shelf can be used so the chipboard can be removed and replaced with any board – oak, pine, etc. (do not forget to chamfer them). If it was me, I would replace the bookends with ones of my own. No complicated joints are needed to make them, just a load bearing wall, measuring tape, pencil, specified screws and rawlplugs for attaching the brackets to the wall, a drill and masonary bit (the bit size needs to be the same as the rawlplugs) for drilling the holes and a screwdriver. That and the brackets, rails and boards of course. The books hide the rails and brackets once done.
The nice Cherry shelves? They are made of veneered hollow core boards so they are as light as a feather. They do not take much ware and will not suffer any accidental abuse and still look well. They can not be repaired. In the picture, they are not even fixed to the wall so are very dangerous if loaded with books, specially to small climbers. The shelves are designed to look better empty. Cherry looks beautiful, but is something of a “soft” hardwood – I am still surprised when I see it in floors.
For me, shelves are for use first and looking well after. I do love working with and the appearance of timber, but only in shelves when fit for the purpose of looking after my books. I aim to get useful timber shelves working for books without breaking the bank. The next post is about salvation of timber and what I have been told looks piebald. The wait will not be as long as it was for this one – sorry about that folks.