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Thread: Bookcase Build Thread – Probably Too Many Pics

  1. #1
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    Bookcase Build Thread – Probably Too Many Pics

    This is a build thread for a Red Grandis bookcase 48” tall x 24” wide x 14” deep. Primary design considerations were I wanted something smaller than a full-size, floor standing bookcase, and secondly a large central space where I can mount a flower Garland carving. I previously posted thread about carving Garland and bead that’s part of this project.

    Here are my rough plans on flip chart paper. I like big paper for planning – makes it easier for me to envision final dimensions. I started with frame and panel carcass sides. I confess I made the thumbnail molding and plowed the frame groove on the router table.





    Here’s some pics of sawing the tenons. Bottom rails are 5 inches wide. For large tenons like this I want the biggest rip filed back saw I can get. This one is shop made 9 PPI.











    Once the tenons are sawn, guide block and wide chisel trim miters. It pays to go slow here as gaps in the corner miters of the assembled frame are particularly noticeable, at least to me.





    With tenons on the rails completed, I use them to lay out where stile moldings need to be removed for mortises. These frames have two panels; a larger one on top (not my usual design, used here to line up where the carcass is divided between upper bookcase and lower drawer) and smaller panel at the bottom. That means a 3rd. Rail in the middle of the frame.






    I like drill press for roughing out mortises, and for me nothing beats a pig sticker mortise chisel for leveraging out chips. I think a sharp, finely set shoulder plane is super helpful/essential for trimming tennon shoulders to get a nice flush fit on the show surface.






  2. #2
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    Next are panels for the carcass sides. As a 95% hand tool guy, panel gauge is essential kit for laying out width – I guess kind of the equivalent of the rip fence on tablesaw.






    Raising panels is a three-step process for me: fenced rabbit plane to establish the shoulder, coarse set Jack plane to remove most of the waste, and finally LN rabbit block plane for final trimming.









    Lately I built several projects with Red Grandis, a species that originated in Australia and is sustainably grown in South America. Super hand tool friendly, hand working characteristics a lot like mahogany but lighter in color. For this project I am going to dye the Red Grandis brown to get more of a traditional mahogany look. Panels are dyed before glue up.




    Layout screw up: I cut the mortise for the central rail in the wrong place. As you can see in the dry assembly panels and rail don’t line up – rats I hate when that happens! Had to recut the mortise and glue in a replacement piece of molding.











    Horizontal shelves are joined to carcass sides with sliding dovetails. I further confess I cut the female dovetail housings with an electrical router. I guess I could do it by hand but the router saves a lot of time and results don’t look/work any different than hand done. Layout the male sliding dovetails using the router bit to get the right width.




    ECE dovetail plane is one of my favorite tools makes short work of accurately cutting the tails while allowing for easy tapering of the non-show side.




  3. #3
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    Dry fit and glue up.





    Carcass sides are housed in the bookcase top in stopped dadoes. Small calipers help establish dado width. Top held in place with cleats to allow for expansion.









    Matt Bickford’s book “Moldings in Practice” is always in my shop. I used it to make templates for top cornice and base moldings.






    For me, I prefer to shoot moldings as part of a wider piece of stock and then cut the molding off after shaping, versus cutting the molding to width and planing in a sticking board. Just easier for me to keep the work piece steady.





    As you can see, there’s quite a bit a waste material in making this molding. Because I’m going to use a router table to plow the rabbits (I’m too old and fat to make all those rabbit shavings by hand), I sawed off most of the waste with a 28”, Disston D- 8 , 4 PPI thumbhole rip saw. Wasn’t actually as hard as it looks. Maybe this is why some folks keep their tablesaw!




  4. #4
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    Plowed the reference rabbits with the router table and then shape the molding with hollows and rounds.













    Same process for base molding.















    Next step will be bookcase doors with mullions and drawers.

    Thanks for looking, all the best Mike

  5. #5
    Fantastic pictures, Mike. Looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  6. #6
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    Mike,
    Just plain WIW!!!! Clipped and saved for study. Thanks for the detailed pics.

  7. #7
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    Here is stock layout for bookcase doors. I try and use a 3-2-1 idea when sizing door components: base rail is widest, styles are slightly narrower and top rail is thinnest of the three parts. I cut the rails and styles from the same board to try and get a grain match



    Moldings and M&T joints were the same as for framing panel carcass sides. Couple things I did mention it’s easier to trim the molding before using the mortise gauge so you can mark all three sides. This is easy to do by eye.




    Also, when you’re cutting the tenons, might as well relieve the inside shoulders with a pairing chisel while you’re at it.



    These doors are going to be inset inside the carcass with no overlap, so I really need them as square possible. Here’s the setup I use for gluing with reference squares clamped to the benchtop. I glue both rails into one stile and let that set up, before gluing up the other side.





    Fortunately, was able to get a pretty good fit right out of the clamps.




    I put a tiny little thumbnail molding on the mullions using the router table. For me it pays to make way more mullion stock than I think I need because I’m guaranteed to screw up somewhere along the way and need to replace a part.
    For me, fitting the mullions into the door moldings is strictly a mark by eye, cut and cuss process. I’m sure there’s some kind of geometry I could use to figure out the appropriate angles for the end of the mullions but that’s way over my head.








    I start with start with long mullions that go from top to bottom corners. Then cut the shorter, central diamond shape mullions. Then put back in the long ones and laying the short ones over the top to mark where they overlap to cut the relief housings. For small cuts like this I really like a Dozuki. Try for a friction fit (sanding block is your friend) because these are all basically butt joints with small glue contact area. Once there assembled, turn them over and apply additional glue to inside of the joints. Don’t worry if it’s too sloppy, most of the spill out will be covered up by the wood molding applied on the inside to hold the glass in place.








  8. #8
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    Originally, I planned for a single large drawer to have enough space to mount my carving. Once I assembled the carcass, I realized space was much too large for single drawer, so I added dividers, kickers and drawer slides for three doors on top and two on the bottom. For me when trying to divide a space into equal, proportional parts, dividers are the way to go - no math to screw up. These belonged to my grand father who was lead machinist at Caltech 1920-1950's. He had great stories about trying to explain to pointy headed scientists why the thing they wanted him to make would never work in practise. I still have 200lb chest full of his tools I have no idea what to do with.

    Vertical dividers were joined to shelves with stopped dadoes. For me setting up a fenced rabbit plane to cut a clean, square rabbit without spelching is always a fussy task but kind of essential to get the fit you’re looking for. I start by marking the shoulder of the rabbit with the square and marking knife and then setting the sole of the plane along the layout line and adjusting the fence accordingly.







    I added front dividers first and then added kickers and drawer runners from the back of the carcass wall gluing it and back vertical dividers.







    Bad news – the carving is too big to fit on any of them!

    Last was drawer fronts out of a single piece of wood to match grain. For me making fitting drawers is one of my favorite hand tool jobs – a chance to use saws and planes to get a nice fit. My process is to start with drawer bottom as reference side and then Mark and trim the other three sides of the drawer front to fit.











    Thanks for looking. Will try to post the rest of the build as it finishes up.

    All the best, Mike
    Last edited by Mike Allen1010; 11-03-2021 at 9:22 PM.

  9. #9
    Wow. I just learned a lot.

  10. #10
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    Mike,

    Thanks as always for your detailed posts. And nice save on the offset mortise Will look forward to seeing the rest.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  11. #11
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    Thanks for sharing all of the details Mike. I have a couple of questions. How are cleats for the top joined to the side panels?

    For the fixed shelf with the dovetailed tenons, is it glued in, just in the middle or back or is it just friction fit?

    How did you cut the dove tail dado for the shelf? Router table? I always learn something from your build threads and admire your work. Thanks for sharing

  12. #12
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    Mike, a fine display of hand tool woodworking…enjoying the build.

  13. #13
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    Mike, your woodworking is as inspiring as your photography.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe A Faulkner View Post
    Thanks for sharing all of the details Mike. I have a couple of questions. How are cleats for the top joined to the side panels?

    Hey Joe great to hear from you. Cleats have a tongue that is captured in a rabbit plowed in the carcase sides. The cleats are then screwed to the top.

    For the fixed shelf with the dovetailed tenons, is it glued in, just in the middle or back or is it just friction fit?

    The sliding dovetails for the horizontal shelves are glued the first four or 5 inches starting from the carcass front but are fiction fit for the rest to allow the shelves to expand.

    How did you cut the dove tail dado for the shelf? Router table?

    I


    I always learn something from your build threads and admire your work. Thanks for sharing
    I cut the female sliding dovetail housing using a electric trim router and a T-square fence. For a larger furniture component like this it’s easier for me to bring the tool to the work instead of vice versa.

    Cheers, Mike

  15. #15
    Mike,

    An outstanding presentation of an impressive undertaking.

    The execution of the molding and panel raising are particularly noteworthy.

    Thanks for this -- it's inspiriational to many of us.

    JB

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