Fudge a Little Here, Bump a Little There

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Blog entry by FloridaNoCypress posted 04-20-2008 07:55 AM 1330 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For some two years, I carried a rough outline of a case for my wife’s piano books in the back of my mind. Having been scared away by AutoCad’s threat to my credit card balance, and then frustrated with TurboCad’s coming-through-the-back-door work method, I decided to bite the bullet and try Sketchup. Otherwise, I’m back to my old CrayolaCAD.

Well, Sketchup was a little tricky at first, but I managed to fudge a little here and bump a little there, and finally with one cathartic brain fart, was able to get my poor long-suffering wife’s music bookcase committed to something other than my wavy memory.

Here are the pix, all screen shots.

This picture shows the bookcase in its assembled and exploded states. The exploded state is intended to be a joint study, that is something to help me figure out how to join the pieces together to make the bookcase.

The little wedges in the bottom shelf go through the shelf’s through tenon and is a nod to the Arts & Crafts style. But, I’m not one to follow rules slavishly, so with hard times coming in the form of $4/gallon gas and Florida’s lack of railroad service (the same as is throughout the Deep South), fumed quartersawn white oak will have to give way to riftsawn and plain sawn red oak. It seems, though, you can still do a lot with red oak to bring out its best qualities. Never mind that it is a specie commonly used in home and corporate office furniture.

As I understand it, white oak finds a home almost entirely in the half of the Unted States east of the Missssippi River. The Greene brothers practiced architecture in Southern Californa at the turn of the last century, so they may have been resigned to using wood found mainly in California. Here in Southwest Florida, we have live and laurel oaks; their leaves look more like red than white oak. It’s likely that you won’t find white oak south of the line from Tampa through Orlando and Cape Canaveral. So I feel justified in using red oak for a piece which has a nod or two to the Arts & Crafts style.

The bottom two shelves are viewed in the above picture. The through tenons of the bottom shelf are sandwiched between the upper and lower crosspieces in turned mortised and tenoned into the front and back legs. One thing I’ll have to deal with is the 76 deg. angle of the front legs as I drill the mortises.

Above is the view of the right upper leg joint and the end of a shelf where a sliding dovetail key is routed. The dovetail will actually be slightly tapered to make assembly easier. This bookcase is planned to be a knockdown piece. Perhaps the shelves won’t be glued to the legs. I have a pretty steep angle of 14 deg. for the dovetails, mostly from the angle of the router bit, but it will also make the dovetail stronger in holding together the bookcase. The next picture will give you a closer look at the sliding dovetails so you may see the steepness of the angle.

As you may know, 14 deg. is the complement of 76 deg. I measured for the front legs. I can assure you that was not at all planned, it just happened that way.

And here is the Sketchup file

I had to fudge a little here and bump a little there to get these pix and file onto this site. After this, the shop never looked so easy. And I have been doing folks’ taxes on some form of computer for better than 10 years now. Yep, you guessed it, fudge a little here and bump a little there to get those returns working right.

-- FloridaNoCypress

12 comments so far

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 3234 days

#1 posted 04-20-2008 08:52 AM

Interesting design. Nice sketchings.

-- Jiri

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3243 days

#2 posted 04-20-2008 12:54 PM

This is an interesting design.

Good luck in the contest.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 04-20-2008 04:42 PM

nice design. It looks good, I can’t wait to see what it looks like in wood!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3410 days

#4 posted 04-20-2008 07:48 PM

Pretty nice. I think I would call it a Ladder Bookcase.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View libbasher's profile


1 post in 3110 days

#5 posted 04-20-2008 08:46 PM

Looks like a terrible waste of good wood. Typical lib activity. Ok for libs to waste wood as long as no one else does.

View woodsmith's profile


69 posts in 3214 days

#6 posted 04-20-2008 11:18 PM

I think the purpose of wood is to build things with it. I keep as much scrap wood as I can after the project is over and try to find uses for it. Also wood is a renewable resource and trees should be replanted after being harvisted. Look like an interesting project.

-- woodsmith

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3237 days

#7 posted 04-20-2008 11:29 PM

Welcome to sketchup. BTW, we have a lot of white oak out here in California. No red Oak though. We call it Valley Oak. Quercus lobata

-- Scott - Chico California

View FloridaNoCypress's profile


16 posts in 3117 days

#8 posted 04-21-2008 02:36 PM

Thank you, ChicoWoodnut. So, is it possible that the Greene brothers used some Valley Oak? What other furniture / cabinet grade species are in California?

-- FloridaNoCypress

View FloridaNoCypress's profile


16 posts in 3117 days

#9 posted 04-21-2008 05:23 PM

Dear libbasher,

Tell you what. I might actually make two bookcases of this design. One, of course, is for my wife. i’ll sell the other on e-Bay. Before I put it up, I’ll give you first crack at about a 33% discount from the price I might wind up getting from e-Bay. My best guess of an e-Bay price is $375; 33% discount is $250.

As a devoted husband of almost 13 years, let me advise you that when you embark on rescuing your wood from my terrible, wasteful ways, you may want to run the whole notion by your wife. Truth is, she might also like your purchase just fine the way it is, no more help from you. :-D

My friend, you and I have different words for the same thing. I never much cared for the phrase “work ethic”; too many folks have different ideas for the same phrase. So I had no idea whether I was supposed to work hard or work smart – no one could really tell me. In fact, if I worked smart, folks got to wondering if I was working up to my true potential. If I worked hard, folks got to wondering if I was just spinning my wheels. And then of course, there is this small matter of comportment. If I’m smiling, folks got to wondering if I was having too damn much fun and not really working hard enough. If I gritted my teeth, folks got to wondering if I was straining too hard doing something stupid for no gain at all.

For me the key is nature, as in growth. If you don’t grow, you die. And I tell you, I haven’t been one to turn down too many chances to grow. Doing a craft, like woodworking or gardening or writing, is my chance to grow. Just as my taking on new tax clients for the variety of situations that gives me is my chance to grow. That is America – that is the American dream – that is the good liife. And you can bet your bottom dollar I wll fight to the death for that dream. Don’t thnk any different, you hear?

Taking the initiative is a natural part of growing. My offer is good untl I finish that second piece and put it up on e-Bay. You know, Henry Ford, stubborn old coot that he was, almost had his company die out on him because he offered only one color for his Model T. I won’t make that mistake, so I offer three options, all of which I can do very well, thank you very much: Golden Oak; Deep Dark Red Oak; or Sinple, Nice Oak Finish.

Since $250 is a good chunk of money on anyone’s budget, your wife might want a say about the color.

-- FloridaNoCypress

View motthunter's profile


2142 posts in 3220 days

#10 posted 04-21-2008 05:42 PM

nice design.

-- making sawdust....

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3237 days

#11 posted 04-22-2008 03:14 AM

Well here is a little compenum.

Of course there is the biggest daddy of them all, Coast Redwood Sequoia sempervirens

Then there is Black Walnut. There are enormous trees in Northern California. We have our own species Juglans hindsii

There are thousandsof acres of English walnut. All of them are grafted to Claro. The stumps sell for large sums of cash.

Then there is the English walnut itself; Juglans regia. The wood is creamy in color and it is highly prized for guitars.

The California Sycamore, Platanus racemosa grows to very large size. Here is a picture of a large one near my house.

Some lesser known species are:

Pacific Madrone, Arbutus menziesii which is actually very beautiful but extremely hard on cutting tools. People use it to turn bowls.

Then there is Olive. A lot of Olive orchards a little west of me in corning and all up the valley. Good for inlays and turning.

There are probably more. I have been thinking about starting a Blog about the trees aroud my Town.


-- Scott - Chico California

View FloridaNoCypress's profile


16 posts in 3117 days

#12 posted 04-22-2008 12:23 PM

Thanks, Scott, this is good to know.

-- FloridaNoCypress

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