How to make a bee hive

A friend of mine through was invited by Craftsman Tools to do a video on making a beehive. I was supposed to go and be in the live audience that day, but I was originally told it would film in the evening, and that got moved to mid-day, and I had made morning and early afternoon plans that day.

If you have a youtube account, click over and thumbs up and comment on the video! Maybe next time he will invite me to assist him on the next project..

DIY homemade bookshelf risers for 2 levels of books

I have been kicking an idea around for a while. I am not sure if I saw it somewhere, read about it, found in instructable for it or what, but I have been wanting to make some bookshelf risers. So, if this is your idea, let me know. I will give credit where credit is due. Read about the next version – New Book Shelf Shelves.

Bookshelf risers – you know, bleachers for your books.

Normal bookshelves are 10 inches deep, and paperback novels are 4 inches deep. So the shelves are deep enough for 2 and a half rows of books. The shelves are also usually much taller then paperbacks as well.

In comes my riser idea. it’s a subshelf, that sits on a regular shelf, that is behind the first, outer row of books. It lifts the 2nd row of books up high enough that you can read the spines of the back row of books.

My mess of books
My mess of books

This is my current mess of books. The shelves are full (or at least would be), and I have 4 boxes of books waiting to be put on the shelves.

So, like any good DIYer, I made some.
With cardboard…
…and duct tape.

But, would a normal riser be good enough for me? NO. I need to make it more complicated. I want mine lighted. You know, so you can see the books in the back.

I just happened to pick up a good number of white LED Christmas tree light sets for real cheap tonight. So, of course, I want to use these. I mean, how cool is that, white LED lit bookshelves?

Poking the lights through the cardboard
Poking the lights through the cardboard

I just punched holes into the cardboard with a ball point pen. I took the crystal bulb lens dohicky off, shoved the plug through the hole, and pluged the light/lens back in depending on what popped off when I pulled hard.

I made the homemade shelf risers using a couple of books as measuring gages. I figured how tall I wanted the riser, how deep, etc. using the books on the shelf, then used the books on the cardboard when I was scoring the folds and cutting the ends. I wanted it L shaped so that the lights could be low, and face up, and so he wire was inside. The ends got to be pretty complicated to cut & fold together. It’s kinda a big jigsaw puzzle. Way too much cardboard in that small area – like 7 layers of cardboard all wanting to be on the same layer. So I kinda had to squish the ends flat to shove the whole thing into the shelf.

Homemade cardboard bookshelf riser installed. Look at the pretty lights!
Homemade cardboard bookshelf riser installed. Look at the pretty lights!

Here you can see the homemade cardboard rinky-dink subshelf installed. The lights point up. The top tips forward. Such a mess. I like in anyhow.

A row of books on the cardboard bookshelf riser so you can see how it looks.
A row of books on the riser so you can see how it looks.

You can push the front row of books back, and there is enough room for the lights to light up behind them.

Here you can see what the cardboard bookshelf riser looks like.
Looks good, doesn’t it? The orange thing is a portable power inverter because there isn’t an outlet nearby.

Here are both rows of books shelved. It’s pretty cool how you can see all the books now isn’t it?


Books with the lights out
Books with the lights out

Books with the lights out.

Comparing 2 rows of books both on and off the bookshelf risers
Comparing 2 rows of books both on and off the bookshelf risers

Here I have a photo with 2 rows of books on the top shelf, the outer row only 3/4 full. The lower shelf has the missing books from the top row. You can see how much better you can see all the books.

I am loving it!

One riser assembled, one cut and ready to assemble.
One riser assembled, one cut and ready to assemble.

So, what do you do when you spend an hour trying to figure out how to make a homemade funky shape out of cardboard, and you find yourself needing to make a 2nd? You take the first one apart, copy it, and put it back together again. The 2nd one goes so terribly much faster it’s not even funny.

Lights in a bookshelf
Lights in a bookshelf

It took a bit of doing to get 1 string of lights to work on 2 different shelves. I had to fiddle around a bit with the lights before I got them right. I had installed the lights starting on the wrong side on the top unit at first. It needs to start on the left, go to the right, so the lower one can go from right to left as the electrical outlet is to the left of the shelf.

Shelved my books back onto the shelf showing the bookshelf riser
Shelved my books back onto the shelf showing the bookshelf riser

Ah, isn’t it wonderful? I added nearly half again the usable shelf space on the bookshelf by dedicating 2 shelves to just small paperbacks and using my risers. I have the books I have read in the back, on the risers. I have some that i have read in the front too. All in all, I am quite happy with this set up.

But the coolest thing is…

back-lit bookshelf risers at night.
back-lit bookshelf risers at night.

Is this not the coolest thing you have ever seen? Ok, so it isn’t, but it is pretty cool anyhow. Probably one of the more unique bookshelf setups around. Guaranteed it’s the neatest one purchased 100% from Walmart. You just gotta know how to make their cheap crap into nice, cheap crap.

Speaking of crappy situations. The outlet is a switched outlet. So the bookshelf lights can only be on when the main light is on. How annoying is that? I have lights that will cost a penny to run round the clock for a year, and I can’t use them that way. Oh well, probably for the better. At least you can read the books in the back row because they are not all in shadow.


Read about the next version – New Book Shelf Shelves

Battle of the Videos Part 2

It’s funny how solutions to problems can come from unexpected sources. I have had a login for Sourceforge for years now. They sent me a survey for the best software for 2008. The survey had a multimedia category. SCORE! So I checked out what’s in the line up.

Media Coder

Talk about exceedingly complex! There are about a trillion option combinations in that software. But, it can trim my HD files down to size, and a test upload to the video websites shows that the aspect ratio is kept! Best off all, it looks like I can save presets and run it against entire folders – batch processing of my videos.

So, without any further ado, here is round two of the video comparisons.

This uploaded video is a down-sampled rip to mp4 of the original 1080p .mov with a new image size of 480X272.


Google Video
Again, let me know which one you like the best!