Barrister Book Case Tutorial #7: Building the sides

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 08-30-2009 10:16 PM 5653 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Rockler's Barrister Slides Part 7 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 8: A Door Dilemma »

Hey readers, my apologies for that last post being published twice.

This post will show the construction of the sides:

Because the maple ply that I bought is not a rotary-sliced veneer but a Pivot slice, it appears as if its glued up boards, each one being around 6”. So a 24” inch wide piece looks like 4 boards glued up. To make this work to my advantage, I laid out the pieces and used the track saw to make the first cut in a way that would make my sides look like the same two 5 1/2 inch wide boards glued together from the top to the bottom. In this way the grain pattern will match perfectly from the bottom barrister to the top. After getting a good clean edge from the track saw cut, I set my table saw fence to rip them to the final width. In this way I’m able to make sure they are all exactly the same size. The Festool saw could make both cuts but it would be hard to get them all the exact same size. You just cant beat the table saw for this kind of work! I use the track saw mostly for getting a good straight edge to start with.

After cutting the pieces to the proper width, I set up my miter saw, using the stop to the right of the blade to cut the sides to the finished length. As always with this project these cuts must be dead on square or else you will have gaps in the stack or a leaning stack. Also like before, don’t move that stop because you’ll want to use it to cut the 1” wide trim pieces that get attached to the front edge of the sides.

After all the pieces are cut, line them up on a perfectly flat surface and verify that they are all exactly the same size.

Next, I cut the 1” wide by 3/4 thick edge strips that get attached to the front edge of each side.

I used biscuits to attach these. A small 1/8 rabbit is applied to these strips, I put the biscuit slots in before I cut this rabbit so that I would have a good edge to plunge into. This of course causes the biscuit slot to be 1/8 of an inch to shallow, so I adjusted the biscuit joiner to go a little deeper.

I used a dado stack in the table saw to make the rabbit. Also note that the edges of these pieces have been rounded over 1/8 on the router table. The blade height is the plywood thickness.

Next I use a dado stack again to cut the rabbit in the back of the sides, and to make the groove for the door. The 1/4” hole for the pin that goes in the side should also be drilled now. (I neglected to remember this important step, so I’ll have to do it now that I’ve already got the trim attached. This shouldn’t mess me up too much, but it would have been better to do it before!)

Next is the glue up. I really like how the Festool MFT allows you to come up with some pretty cool ways to facilitate clamping.

My next post will deal with the building of the top slat and the back stiffener. I will also start some assembly.

Thanks for reading and please keep the comments coming!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#1 posted 08-30-2009 11:46 PM

good details well done

-- Custom furniture

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 2719 days

#2 posted 08-31-2009 02:49 AM

Great series keep them coming.

-- Mike ...Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction

View AustinFlyer's profile


1 post in 2827 days

#3 posted 08-31-2009 01:48 PM

Nice looking project…if you haven’t tried them, I use the new Festool parallel guides and the MFT, and get rock solid repeatable cuts all the same size and perfectly square…only thing I use my tablesaw for is ripping thin 6 inch stock and thinner. I haven’t come up with a jig for thin on thin with the Festool, although I could use a same thickness backer board…just easier on the tablesaw.

View Scarcraig01's profile


72 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 09-01-2009 07:35 AM

Thanks for the tip. Those guides are pretty new aren’t they? I think I just glanced at them in the new catalog but I didn’t investigate how they actually work. I’ll have to give them a closer look.

I went without a TS for awhile, I was considering just using Festool exclusively in my shop. (My first set of barristers was made exclusively with Festool.) Its a great system if you have limited space, and with the great dust collection and with the accuracy and quality of the tools they’re a joy to use. I did the thin strips with the backer board, I did all the routing with the QF 1400, and the joinery with the Domino etc. The only Festool I don’t have is the Kapex, and the drill. I have two MFT’s, 3 sanders, ( I’m a huge fan!) If you haven’t visited the festool users group on the web check it out, those guys come up with some amazing jigs. I finally broke down and got a cabinet saw and a router table just because the set-up with the tracks, clamps, etc. was just getting to be too much effort. I got to a point where I started thinking: “If I were doing this on a TS or a router table I’d be done by now”

Thanks for the comment! (my reply’s a bit wordy, my apologies…I do like to talk Festool!)

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

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