First of all, this was the first project that I’ve ever completed. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I didn’t expect to be perfect from day one. I made plenty of mistakes and even trashed a little bit of wood, but I learned from those mistakes and will be a better woodworker for it.
That being said, my grandmother had read about the Little Free Library in the newspaper and had been asking for one ever since. Knowing that this was something she really wanted, I decided to complete this project for her for Mother’s Day last year. I can’t really say that I had much of a design written down, but went mainly straight off the top of my head (Mistake #1). :)
The main body of the library is made of 1/2″ pine plywood. The sidewalls and bottom are connected using dado and rabbet cuts, glued together and brad nailed for good measure. Similarly, I mitered the top and bottom edge of the roof panels and cut dadoes to join the roof to the main body. I lined the exposed edges with 2″ x 1″ pine for a cleaner look and to provide an extended overhang to prevent rain from entering the housing.
The door was constructed using the 2″ x 1″ pine as well. I joined the door segments using mortise and tenons and rabbeted the inside edge to install the plexiglass window. I attached the door with some simple exterior grade hinges and a latch from the hardware store and attached a pine handle I had lying around.
I stained the entire library and applied 2 coats of 50/50 spar varnish/mineral spirits to hopefully protect it from the elements.
I plan on making another Little Free Library to place at my own home. I think after making this one, with all I’ve learned, the second should come out nicely. My late grandfather did a lot of woodworking (which is where I’ve gotten 75% of my tools) and he always built a new project once out of pine to hammer out the mistakes and then a second time with whatever wood choice for the final product. I can see myself doing the same. :)
I highly recommend you visit www.littlefreelibrary.org and consider taking on this project yourself. It is a fairly simp le project and is great for your community. Inspiring reading in all generations definitely a worthy cause, in my opinion.