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For the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I built a pair of folding campaign bookshelves based on a 19th-century pattern.

Long-time readers of this blog know that I love mechanical furniture that folds up into tiny spaces and is durable. So 19th-century British campaign furniture is right up my alley. These examples have a Gothic look to them, but you could alter the profiles of the folding end pieces to be unicorns, Ford F150 trucks or even silhouettes of ear mites. I don’t judge.

What is ingenious about these shelves is that they telescope open and shut based on how many books you have. The telescoping action is regulated by a leather belt. I made my own leather belt, but you can use one of your own if you like.

The telescoping action is all about interlocking tongue-and-groove joints that slide in and out. They are fun to fit.

The ends of the bookshelf fold flat thanks to piano hinges.


 

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