Barrister Book Case Tutorial #10: Building the Base

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 09-07-2009 02:34 PM 1785 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Starting assembly Part 10 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 11: Cope and Stick Doors- building a practice door out of MDF »

The project is coming right along, its really starting to take shape! I put the backs on, and built the bottom base this weekend.

If anyone is interested in building a set, the plans came from I would offer to send the PDF of the plans to anyone that wants them but they’re on my old laptop that died. All I have is the paper set. If you decide to build them I hope the info in this blog helps.

Nothing very interesting about the backs, the only thing worth mentioning is that I attach the backs with tiny #4 screws, this way I’m able to disassemble for sanding and finishing.

I also use my smaller MFT to cross-cut the panels because they’re just a hair to wide for the miter saw, and I don’t use a cross-cut sled on the table saw.

I start the bottom base by milling up my 4/4 boards for the stretchers and the 8/4 for the legs. With everything cut to the final size and laid out, I make the marks for the Domino’s. I’m using two domino’s for each joint, this might be a little bit of overkill, but I figure its likely that someone will no doubt push or pull this piece across a carpeted floor at some point during its life!

I reference the Domino machine off the outward facing face of the stretchers using its top fence, as opposed to just laying the unit flat on the bench. I approach it this way because it makes it easy to set the stretchers back a 1/4” from the legs. (More on this below)

By placing a stretcher flat on the work surface, and placing a 1/4 brass spacer bar on top—I’m able to set the fence on the Domino to place the mortises in the legs so that they will be set back 1/4”

Now I just reference the Domino off the face of the legs to make the mortises.

I glue all 16 domino tenons into the stretchers and let them dry before I set them into the legs. The mortises in the stretchers were set to zero clearance, the ones in the legs were set to allow a little room for adjustment. I do it in stages like this because I think it just makes the glue up go easier and faster when the domino’s are already glued into the stretchers.

With the mortises cut into all the pieces, I can now taper the legs. I fashioned a jig out of scrap wood and a toggle clamp to make this operation as safe and accurate as possible.

Because the bottom base assembly can’t be disassembled, I sand all the parts down to 180 grit before the glue up. A quick plug for Festool: Sanding is the absolute worst part about woodworking, there’s no doubt about it. The Festool system makes sanding a lot less of a pain by eliminating, (almost entirely) the dust. The MFT and the different clamps to an excellent job of holding the work down, and the abrasives seem to last forever before they need replaced. I know I must sound like a Festool commercial, but the stuff is just excellent, its a great system that I can’t recommend enough.

I do the glue up in stages to make it easier to keep everything aligned.

Finish up by attaching the slat to the base.

Next weekend I’ll start the doors. I decided to go with the cope and stick style. Normally, I’d build the top next but I’m still reading up on how to do veneering. (Mike Burton’s book: Veneering A Foundation Course)

The top will be birds eye maple, I’d rather just go with a solid wood piece, but I’m not sure where to get it and how much it would cost. It only needs to be a 10 3/4×32” piece, does anyone know where I could get this?

Thanks for reading!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

2 comments so far

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 2820 days

#1 posted 09-07-2009 03:20 PM

It’s coming along nicely, thanks for the step by step progress.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3009 days

#2 posted 09-07-2009 07:11 PM

Thanks for sharing.
Your Festool power tools (especially Domino Dowel Joiner) seem to be doing great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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