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Thread: Solid Walnut bookshelf dados - is glue enough?

  1. #1

    Post Solid Walnut bookshelf dados - is glue enough?

    Building 6 ft high, 28 in wide, 12 inch deep solid 3/4 inch walnut bookshelf , no adjustable shelves. I have dados for all shelves. The sides are a little bowed, requiring some pressure with clamps to pull them together with the dados. Not a ton, but some. I'm trying to decide if I need to add screws with plugs or pocket screws (never used them) or if glue will be adequate. The dados are roughly 5/16 inch deep.
    Trying to avoid screws from the outside with plugs because the wood is beautiful, but I would do it.
    Have never used pocket screws, but I can learn.
    Or is glue enough?
    I've searched and searched on this with no luck.

  2. #2
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    Did you already cut the dados? If not, have you considered another technique, like dominos? Or possibly sliding dovetail dados?

    How many shelves and at what spacing? Glue may be just fine, depending on the spacing.

  3. #3
    Thank you! Yes, I already cut the dados. 5 shelves plus the top and bottom, so averaging 10-12 inches apart.

  4. #4
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    I would glue it up

  5. #5
    Have at it .......... glue it up.

  6. #6
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    How much bow do you have in the sides over their length?
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  7. #7
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    With that many shelves at 5/16 you've got enough glue surface for sure.

  8. #8
    The gaps Iím pulling closed are maybe 1/8 in tops

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Brammer View Post
    The gaps Iím pulling closed are maybe 1/8 in tops
    I wouldn't be concerned about pulling down that small a gap. However, if you cut your own plugs from the original scrap they will certainly not take away from the finished assembly. I use Fuller counterbores and plug cutters.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Brammer View Post
    Building 6 ft high, 28 in wide, 12 inch deep solid 3/4 inch walnut bookshelf , no adjustable shelves. I have dados for all shelves. The sides are a little bowed, requiring some pressure with clamps to pull them together with the dados. Not a ton, but some. I'm trying to decide if I need to add screws with plugs or pocket screws (never used them) or if glue will be adequate. The dados are roughly 5/16 inch deep.
    Trying to avoid screws from the outside with plugs because the wood is beautiful, but I would do it.
    Have never used pocket screws, but I can learn.
    Or is glue enough?
    I've searched and searched on this with no luck.
    Bill, it appears to me that that issue is the bowed sides, and that these need to be reinforced to ensure that the shelves do not drop out if the sides continue to move.

    I would not use dowels, screws, Dominos, or similar to connect the dado and end of shelves. The risk is that these will pull out of the end grain.

    What I would consider is to attach (glue and screw) a short brace/stretcher below a dado and across the centre of the case on both side. Then connect these two braces with a stretcher using a dovetail at each end. The construction can be hidden under a shelf. The aim is to prevent the sides from pulling away and outwards. I hope my description is clear enough.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  11. #11
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    I have a couple cases where one shelf is rigidly fixed part way down (or up ), and the remaining shelves are on pins. Similar to what Derek points out, pulling in something rigid shortens the distance for warping.

    I would NOT plug from the outside. (thats me, just would not do it I am not a fan of the plugged look). If you want something very simple, pick one of the midway shelves and simply add a cleat underneath each end where it meets the sides (even though in a dado it doesnt matter). Glue/screw that cleat to the side. Then glue/screw that cleat to the shelf. It does not have to be a large cleat and does not have to go all the way to the front edge either.

    Having said all that, glue alone 'might' be enough depending on how it wants to behave over the years (I have had drawer front dovetails loosen over time so it sometimes surprises me)

  12. #12
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    Glue away!!
    Ask a woodworker to "make your bed" and he/she makes a bed.

  13. #13

    Thanks

    Good grief I wish Iíd asked this earlier. Iíve been cruising through YouTube and the Internet. This is great. Thanks everybody. I might add a cleat or a stretcher, Iíll see what it feels like when I glue it up.
    Good to get an opinion on those plug cutters, I donít have any but I will have need of them so I appreciate that

  14. #14
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    Does the bookshelf have a back? If it does, that will pull the sides straight.

    A back also adds big resistance to wracking, so it is a really good feature on several issues.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Does the bookshelf have a back? If it does, that will pull the sides straight.

    A back also adds big resistance to wracking, so it is a really good feature on several issues.
    I was going to suggest this. Mostly for the racking issue you mention, but it's also a good way to keep the piece square during the glue up.

    I'd also recommend that you think through how you will glue this thing up. With the amount of pieces you will be working with, and dados, and their respective lengths/widths, glue up will be a bit of a challenge to get everything correct. You can use TB3 to give you a bit more time, but in my experience, there is not much more forgiveness with TB3 as 1 or 2...... An extra set of hands would be helpful, if that's an option. I never do have help, so I am always thinking about how to do something solo when I really should have some help.

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