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Two-Drawer Bookcase

This is a project I chose for my Woodworking Class I am taking. It's described as a Two-Drawer Bookcase but could really be lots of things. That's one of the reasons I chose the project. It could easily be used in a bathroom, bedroom, study, family room or wherever extra storage is needed. I think I am going to put this in our guest bath (which currently has no storage) but if it doesn't work there then I am sure I can find some place for it. I like the look of Red Oak on the project so I will use that as well. I believe I will finish it using Danish Oil (my favorite finish).
I found this project featured in a book published by Woodsmith Magazine. The book is entitled Easy-To-Build Bookcases and Shelves (ISBN: 0-9729769-9-X) published in 2006. The article describes in great detail how to make this bookcase. I hope it comes out as well as I hope.


posted Jun 17, 2010, 5:05 AM by Kevin Fodor   [ updated Jun 17, 2010, 5:21 AM ]

Finally after over 12-weeks of class it is finally done. I simply applied a thin coat of Danish Oil to the project which I found creates a very nice golden glow finish.

Final Assembly

posted Jun 17, 2010, 4:51 AM by Kevin Fodor   [ updated Jun 17, 2010, 5:21 AM ]

With all the pieces cut and asembled the final glue-up was at hand. Finally I am able to see what this thing is going to look like. The photos below show the bookcase after assembly and sanding, ready for final finish. Oh yeah and it needs holes drilled for drawer knobs...ah a minor point!

Drawers Completed and Bookcase Assembled

posted May 27, 2010, 10:26 AM by Kevin Fodor   [ updated Jun 17, 2010, 5:03 AM ]

Ah! Finally I am able to see my hard work assembled as a functional bookcase. The first step at this point was to glue together the drawers which I cut to size earlier and cut locking rabbet joints into. This was a pretty easy glue up. The locking rabbet joints hold the pieces together really well and make drawer assembly a breeze.
The photo below shows a close-up of the locking rabbet joint. As you can see it seems very string and holds together nicely.
This photo shows the front drawer locking rabbet assembled.
Shown under that photo are the sub-assemblies ready for a bunch of sanding.


posted May 12, 2010, 7:53 AM by Kevin Fodor

Wow! Making drawers can be a real pain. Even having the drawer front, backs and sides cut to size there was still a lot to do. I decided to go ahead with the locking rabbet joint suggested by the author of the article. I figured it was a good opportunity to get some experience with another type of joinery so what the heck. I pretty much proceeded as the author suggests. I used a dado blade to cut the rabbet for the front piece and used the regular table saw blade to cut the groves for the back piece as well as the drawer bottoms. I dry fitted all the pieces and everything seems to fit nicely. The drawers even actually fit inside the bookcase shelves! Go figure. All that remains now is to cut the drawer bottoms to size and then glue and clamp the drawers. Finally I need to pick out some drawer knobs for the front and then aside from some light sanding...I just might be done!
Well, applying a finish is after that but I still haven't decided what kind of stain or finish I am going to use.
This photo shows the front drawer rabbet which was cut using the dado blade on the table saw.

Not so fast...

posted May 8, 2010, 9:30 PM by Kevin Fodor

OK. So I attended an extra session since I am soon to run out of class time finishing the project. During this session I basically spent most of my time gluing up the face frame onto the bookcase's carcass. This took a surprisingly long period time. It proved to be quite difficult to clamp and glue all that edging to the face of the bookcase. I need to be careful clamping because I didn't want to mar the surface or get an excessive amount of glue on the bookcase itself which would later need to be sanded. Once the face frame was glued and clamped, there really wasn't much time for anything else. So I made sure the pieces I needed for drawers were cut to size and also took some measurements of the drawer openings so I could make sure the drawers were built to actual size. So for home work I brought the drawer pieces home to at least cut the front of each drawer's locking rabbets. The remaining 1/8" slots can be cut later during the next class session.

Drawer Cutting and Assembly

posted May 6, 2010, 12:14 PM by Kevin Fodor

This class session I was able to cut the boards (I cut them over sized) for the drawers side, back and front pieces. I also rough cut some 1/4" oak ply-wood for the bottom pieces as well. But before I was able to cut the locked rabbets and cut the boards to their final size I needed a better idea of how big these drawers needed to be exactly. As it turns out the space I have for the bottom drawers is slightly smaller than in the plans.
So at this point the best thing to do was to start assembling the bookcase carcass. I began by sanding the pieces first with 150-grit paper. If anything just to minimize the amount of sanding I'll later need to do with it fully assembled. I glued and clamped the 3 fixed dividers and added a support piece for the top just to keep the side panels separated uniformly throughout. All clamped up I then attached the top frame and panel to make sure everything stays in alignment and square. Once that was done it was left off to dry till the next session.
Next time I hope to finish applying as much of the edging and face framing I can, let that dry and then while that is happening finally cut the locking rabbets for the drawer pieces and cutting the drawers to size.

Topping it off

posted May 2, 2010, 8:38 PM by Kevin Fodor   [ updated May 4, 2010, 7:10 AM ]

The last part of the actual bookcase itself is the top. Again, following the article's instructions pretty much as described worked out here. I did however decide to cut a wider top frame than described. I didn't see any reason all 4 pieces of the top frame couldn't be 2-1/2" wide so it was simpler just to cut them all to the same width. I mitred the from 3 -pieces (sides and front) but simply butt-jointed the back piece since nobody is going to see that anyway. The back piece only needed to be about 1" wide but I though the wider 2-1/2" width might make the top frame a bit sturdier even if it was probably overkill. It also seemed to provide a wider area in which to attach the top ply-wood piece. Either way it seems to have worked out OK.
I also decided to build up the frame separately (I didn't attach it to the top yet). I biscuited the frame together with a #20 biscuit. This allows me to build up the entire top frame, ply-wood top and edging separately from the rest of the bookcase. To me it seems easier to make all these pieces separately and leave the final assembly to the very end. Also I am not sure yet if I will apply a finish to the project before I assemble it or not. I am still on the fence about that part of it.
Once the top frame dried, I then drilled some counter-sunk #8 wood screw holes (8) around the inside perimeter of the frame. The purpose of these screws are to hold the top piece of ply-wood to the frame. There will be another perimeter of at least 8 screws as well doing down into the bookcase carcass. I will need to drill these once I am able to dry-assemble the bookcase again since these holes must be drilled to fit. Once attached the plywood top was trimmed flush against the top-frame with a flush-trim bit on my router table.
Lastly, I routed the same 1/4" bead into some trim pieces again and applied them to edge of the plywood top. The front edge has two miters, while the two sides are flush against the back. Each of the pieces of trim were cut to fit along the edge. Finally, the trim pieces were clamped and glued to the top-plywood piece. This finally completes the bookcase itself. The only part now which remains is the drawers. With just two weeks in the class remaining I think I am in pretty good shape.

Edge Trim and Beading

posted Apr 29, 2010, 12:24 PM by Kevin Fodor

Last night was pretty productive even though the entire process is moving much slower than I expected (gee go figure!). I was able to finish cutting the dividers to size and actually for the first time dry-assembled the bookcase. It was kind of gratifying to see it at least clamped all together. This thing might actually come together after all.
I spent most of my time cutting and trimming various small 1/2" x 1" edge trim pieces to face-frame the bookcase. At home I was able to use the 1/4" bead bit I have to route the edges of the stiles and edging. The beaded edging is what really gives this project the "wow!" factor. I am really impressed with how much a simple beading can really add to a project. I think I will probably find someway to use this bit in the future on other projects as well.

Drilling Holes and Cutting Dadoes

posted Apr 27, 2010, 12:45 PM by Kevin Fodor   [ updated Jun 17, 2010, 5:05 AM ]

Now that the two side panels were assembled, glued and dried it was time now to cut the dadoes for the fixed and adjustable shelves as well as the back panel. This went pretty much as the instructions specified. The dadoes across the sides were just under 3/4" to accommodate the dividers and the dadoes along the back two edges were 3/8" wide by 1/4" deep to accommodate the 1/4" (actually 3/16") oak plywood back.
Finally, eight 1/4" holes were drilled along the each of the 4 rails approximately 2" apart to accommodate the adjustable shelf. The drill press came in hand here and made the 32 holes which needed to be drilled a breeze.
That's pretty much it for the panels. Next step is to cut the dividers to size, cut the back panel and adjustable shelf and assemble.



The Glue-up

posted Apr 20, 2010, 2:59 AM by Kevin Fodor

Finally, time to stop making pieces and actually a chance to begin some assembly and glue up. The first panel I glued-up was a little tricky. Those space balls all around the panel's perimeter kind of makes it a bit 'spongy' so there is some back pressure felt when clamping the sides and panel together. But with enough coordination and tight squeezing in the clamps it did come together nicely.
I clamped each panel along each of the 3 stiles and also help the ends together with a few bar clamps. After a few hours the panels were dry. Finally it is starting to look like a real project!
Here is a shot of the glued-up panel resting on my bench waiting for it to dry. As you can see the clamping is a bit complicated.
Here is one of the panels finished and dry while the other panel is waiting to dry.

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