Barrister Book Case Tutorial #3: Finishing up the bases

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 08-29-2009 07:30 PM 1899 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Begining with the base Part 3 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 4: Allow me to introduce myself... »

A 1/4 inch piece of plywood is glued over the slats on the base to give the bottom of the boxes a smoother look. (otherwise you would see the 3 piece slat system.) The 1/4 solid wood strip provides not only a way to hide the plywood edge, but it also functions as a door stop.

If you follow the plans to get the size for the bottom piece you will come up short! This is because the thickness of the ply is not exactly 3/4. This will make the bottom approx. 1/8 short because you will be 1/16 short on each side. This would cause the sides to not be far enough apart and would cause an ugly gap to appear on the sides. (See pic below.)

To get everything lined up perfect do not use a measurement, instead, line everything up the way it should be and use an adjustable story stick to get the correct size. The stick can then be taken to the miter saw and the stop set with it. This will insure the exact right size.

It is very important to not move your miter saw stop for awhile! Keep it set right where it is, this way it will insure that the other pieces that need to be this exact size: The solid wood trim strip, and the scrap piece that helps with getting the box square as well as helping with the position of the top slat.

At this stage I take a scrap piece of plywood and rip it to around 3” wide. (make 2) Then take it to the miter saw and cut it to the exact length of the bottom piece using the unmoved stop. Drill 2 large holes in each end of these to pieces so that a clamp can be placed into them. (see pic.)

These scrap pieces will go a long way later in helping you keep the box square and figuring out the placement of the top slat latter on. I can’t stress enough how important it is in this project to have everything square, lined up, and the exact right size. If anything is off it will show when you start stacking boxes! You don’t want the leaning tower of pisa, or the trim pieces from box to box not to line up. So batch cut pieces and use your stops.

After getting the correct length for the bottom piece, cut it to size. Note that this piece dictates the placement of the sides because the sides butt up against it, so make sure they are perfectly square. I know I’m showing the sides completed and I haven’t blogged about them yet, but be patient, they’re coming up next! Although the plans don’t have you build them yet, its nice to have them handy when your cutting and placing the bottom piece. I use the sides to get everything lined up and perfect, then I make a few random pencil marks on the edges of the ply and the base to line it up for the glue up.

Before making your pencil marks make sure both sides and the bottom are positioned exactly like the pic below.

The glue up is pretty straight forward, I use a caul made of MDF to help apply pressure evenly. You will want to pencil around the piece so you know the boundaries of where to put the glue on the base.

To make the small strips that act as the door stop and the trim piece for the plywood start with a milled up piece of 3/4 stock and rip off 1/4 inch strips. I’m not real careful making these strips exactly 1/4 because I run them through the thickness planner anyway to get the right size.

The plans call for these strips to be applied now but I think its best to wait until the sides are attached that way you can prevent them from drifting ever so slightly one way or the other and messing up the alignment of the sides. (PVA glue will often drift a little while setting up.)

Don’t forget to use the stop you have not moved on your miter saw to get these strips to the exact right size.

A small detail I should have covered at the beginning is the finished edge that is put on the edge trim piece. This is done on the router table. I use a bit that does both sides at once with one pass. I apply a scrap piece of 1/4 inch mdf with double sized tape as a “shuttle board” to prevent the piece from catching or hanging up as you run it across the cutter. (Before doing this, the work piece would often catch a little bit because of the opening in the middle. The shuttle prevents this.) Note: This is done before the application of the 1/4 plywood, I should have started this blog entry with this step.

Run the two ends across the cutter first, then the long front edge. (This will avoid tear-out)

My next post will cover the construction of the sides. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to send me an encouraging message to let me know that you’re intrested!

I recently added some books to the one stack that I’ve got completed. Notice the start of the stack next to it, I will finish this set after I complete this Maple set for my sister. My other passion is books, and I have quite a collection that calls for 22 boxes total! So stay tuned I have a lot of work ahead of me!

This small room is actually the narrow breezeway that connects the house to the shop. The plan is to line both long walls with the barristers. This will make my shop and my library very close to each other, which will be a joy for me to have these two areas that I love so much, so close and convenient to each other!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

1 comment so far

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117061 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 08-29-2009 11:32 PM

thanks again good info

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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