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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/Trying to hide wires in bookshelf


Hi Jamie,

I have a built-in floor to ceiling bookshelf in my office behind my desk. I have power and ethernet outlets in a couple of the sections at the bottom with about 3 inches of space to pass wires behind it and the wall.  I have various telephone, cord power, and ethernet just hanging out the front because the shelves are flush against the back and sides of the bookcase. I have an idea of cutting 1/2 by 2 inch rectangle hole in the back of the bookcase where the adjustable shelves line up.  I would also then cut notches on the back of the shelves of about a 1/4 to 1/2 inches.  The shelves themselves are about 1 inch thick.  So my idea is that if I cut a 1/4 inch notch from the bottom to the middle of the shelve and top to middle on other shelves, I could hide the cord holes in the back of the bookcase to make it look more pleasing. Also I am hoping if we do sell the house in the future the holes will not be as noticeable because the shelf will cover most of the hole.  I hope that makes sense and sounds like a solid idea.

Now to my question, how do I cut the notches in the shelves?  I plan on using a Dremel to cut the holes in the back of the bookshelf, but I don't know the best tool to use to cut the notches in the shelves.  I don't have an elaborate set of tools because I don't do this kind of thing at all.  But if there's some tool that makes sense to get that I might use in the future, I'll be happy to get it.

Anyway, I hope I was clear enough with my idea and if there is a better way of doing what I need to do please let me know.  I really appreciate your help on this.

Have a great day.


Hi Jason,

Your idea about notching the shelves is a perfect one - and not very hard to accomplish. You could notch those shelves with a variety of tools, but the easiest might be a jigsaw or a coping saw. With either one of those saws - you could cut a small notch. You only need a notched curve about the size of a nickel, which wouldn't be too hard to accomplish.

Here's a link to what a coping saw looks like:

They're rather inexpensive, and readily available, so you shouldn't have any trouble locating one. I would put a piece of blue painters tape on both sides of the wood that you're cutting, and then trace a nickel on the edge of your shelf. Using the saw - cut the circular notch, staying vertical with your cut. The tape will help with any chipping that you might experience.

I wouldn't worry too much about the notches, they will virtually disappear with the shelf is in place.

Good luck with this, write back if you need more help,

Jamie in Vegas

Jamie Yocono
Wood It Is! Custom Cabinetry
Las Vegas, NV

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

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Jamie Yocono


Woodworker, Furniture designer/builder, industrial arts educator. Bachelor degree in Furniture Design, and journeyman carpenter, with a 4 year apprenticeship. Currently owner of custom furniture/cabinet shop in Las Vegas, NV. Can answer most woodworking questions EXCEPT those regarding repairs, refinishing, and antiques.


Bachelor in Furniture Design - Ohio University (1980) Journeyman Carpenter, Local 639 Adult educator - Developed adult education woodworking program for the University of Akron, and taught classes there for 9 years. Opened a private woodworking school in Las Vegas, NV and teach private and semi-private lessons. In 2011, I will begin teaching UNLV woodworking classes at my school. Sweet!

Furniture Society

Tile Design and Installation Magazine (Article on inlaying tile into wood)

Journeyman Union Carpenter Bachelors degree in Furniture Design (Ohio University) College of Hard Knocks!

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