I then used a Bosch Multi-X with a flush-cut blade to slice through the nails that fastened the studs to the drywall on the opposite wall. The opposite wall was finished and painted, so I had to be careful when removing the framing.
CASE CONSTRUCTION I then repurposed a couple of the old studs to use as trimmer studs, which frame the new book case. I was able to relocate one of the electrical lines to the top of the bookcase area, but another line ran right through the center, which required me to drill access holes through the new trimmer studs. Make sure to install the studs perfectly plumb.
The lower section of the wall beneath the staircase was unfin- ished, and the stair stringers were not framed flush with the rest of the wall. Hopefully your project won't have the same substrate problems, but this required me to add all sorts of creative shims and blocks to create a flush, plumb nailing surface for the plywood backing. I laminated sheets of 1/2-in. plywood over the exposed drywall and blocking using a combination of Liquid Nails construction adhe- sive, plus some strategically placed drywall screws. A little bit of forward planning was important at this phase of the project. I knew I had to conceal both the seam of the plywood pan- els plus an electrical line which was routed through the bookcase to a light switch. Therefore, I rout- ed the wire along the plywood seam so I could eventually conceal them both using a single shelf. Note: When securing the panels I wanted to use as few screws as possible to minimize wood-putty repairs. So, to help hold the ply- wood in place while the adhesive dried, I tacked on a frame of tem- porary scrap 2x4 cleats along the edges. I then screwed together a simple rectangular box for the case foun- dation made of 2x4 stud material and strengthened with blocking. This "toe-kick" box would raise the bottom shelf a few inches off the floor and provide room for some decorative base molding at the bottom. The box was screwed into the lower plywood panel. Because I planned to build the shelves with a 1-1/4-in. nosing overhang (1/2 in. taller than the 3/4-in. shelves), I installed 1/2-in. plywood over the toe-kick box to serve as a shim for the bottom shelf. The next step is installation of the side panels. Since I planned to paint the case, I used some eco- nomical edge-glued panels cut to fit over the toe-kick and flush with the ceiling. These required a little wood-filler and sanding prior to installation. The sides were mount- ed into the the trimmer studs with 3-in. self-countersinking R4 screws from GRK Fasteners (excellent fas- teners if you can find 'em). The sides must be perfectly plumb and square to the back.