Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cherry Bookcase - Design and construction.

Earlier this year a friend asked if I would be willing to build a bookcase for her.  She has an old bookcase in a hallway and wants to replace it, though she couldn't find something shallow enough. We talked over what she was looking for and I did some sketching.

After getting feedback on the sketches I built a quick sketchup model.

This let us play with thicknesses. We decided to go with 5/4 material for the case so the top would finish out to 1 1/8 and the sides 7/8.  The shelves are finished at 3/4 from 4/4 material.  We met up at lunch and went over to CS Woods in Denver.

They have a good inventory or really nice, unsteamed cherry.  These boards were tempting but way too wide for this project (18-24 in wide, 5/4).  

First up was to get the stock broken down and milled close to final size.  I finally found a good deal on a small jointer on Craigslist.  Some handwork we still required as the 6in jointer only got 2/3 of the wider boards.

Then the case boards and shelves were cut to final size.  I clamped them all together to get an idea of how the different thicknesses worked with one another.

After cutting all of the joinery with the domino I cut the profile on the underside of the top.

Finally the case was ready for a full dry fit.

Next up is the skirt.  Here is one option for an arch, layed out in blue tape.

The side skirts are cut from the same board so the grain will wrap around the case.

The corners of the skirt and chamfered and joined with a small domino.

The back edges of the case pieces were rabbeted to accept the back.

All that's left is to get feedback on the edge treatment for the front of the shelves and then sand everything before glueup.


  1. Looks good, Jeremy. The shape of the bookcase looks balanced. How deep is it?

    1. The top is 9 in deep and the shelves are about 8in.

  2. I will almost always reinforce both the front and back edges of my shelves to prevent sag. Sometimes I'll even use a contrasting wood for accent.