Good Questions: Securing a Barrister's Bookcase

Good Questions: Securing a Barrister's Bookcase

Mar 30, 2007

Tom sent us an email: "Please help. In my wife's and my younger days, we purchased a bunch of great vintage steel furniture at the dearly departed (at least from NYC) vintage steel shop, Sonrisa.

Now, we've got a rug rat and one of those pieces of furniture is decidedly NOT baby-proof. It's a barrister's bookcase (alternately called a lawyer's bookcase, depended on how stuck-up you want to sound). And it's a hazard.

We use it as a bar. It's filled with glassware and glass bottle. And it's tippy.

Over the years, the shelves (which are interchangable and not bolted together) have seemingly shifted shapes so there is a frontwards tilt to the bookcase as a whole, and the base has gone off-kilter (making the tilt even more pronounced despite shims under some of the legs).

Besides the tippiness of the whole, there's a problem of little hands being very interested in getting into the glassware on the lower shelves. So we are looking for a solution... Perhaps a recommendation of a metalsmith in the NY-area that folks can recommend who can stabilize the bookcase as a whole and maybe craft some locking mechanisms for the lower shelves?

We want to keep the bookcase AND the baby. Any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated. "

(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first. Email questions and pics with QUESTIONS in subject line to: nursery(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com)

Well, we can see why you would want to keep that metal barrister's bookcase - it is fabulous. And the baby is pretty cute, too!

We know we have some NY-area parents reading, and hopefully one of them can recommend a local metalsmith for you. Meanwhile, we think that the short-term solution might be to think natural disaster. When we lived in earthquake country, all of our furniture was attached at the back to the studs in our walls with earthquake straps. If you have a drill strong enough to install the connectors on the back of your cabinet, attaching these may solve the issue of the whole cabinet tipping over. There are lots of models to choose from, and for the most part, you don't see them once they are installed.

As for the glassfront shelves, if this was our bar (and oh, how we wish it was!), we would probably do a set of vertical earthquake straps across the front of each shelf, but choose a too-long width so that the fastener, instead of being on the side, was on the back. These are not attractive, but they least until your baby is old enough to figure out the fastening system and unhook them himself.

The problem with both of these solutions is it requires some drilling and modification, and not everyone wants to do that to their furniture. This is a tough question! AT readers, what would you do?

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