Barrister Book Case Tutorial #13: Building the Doors

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Blog entry by Scarcraig01 posted 09-20-2009 05:21 PM 2696 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Preparing Stock for Doors Part 13 of Barrister Book Case Tutorial series Part 14: New Plane and Bench, and fixing the doors. »

This weekend I built the doors using the maple stock. I covered this process in Barrister Book Case Tutorial #11 so I won’t repeat it all here, but if you’re interested in learning more about building doors using cope and stick bits check out my #11 tutorial.

For whatever reason, my doors didn’t come out exactly square. I don’t know what happened, but their off a tad. The strange thing is they’re exactly square on the inside rabbit where the glass goes, but the measurement from the front face corners is off 1/8” I have no clue what could have caused this, but something obviously went wrong.

As a result of not being perfectly square, they don’t fit into the cases with the same gap all the way around so this will have to be fixed. I could just redo the doors, or I could plane the edges of the doors to square them up. Believe it or not with all the thousands I’ve spent on tools so far, I’ve yet to buy a decent quality hand plane, but now I have a perfect excuse to get one! I ordered a Veritas #5 1/4 Bench Plane from Lee Valley.

So I’ll have my new plane by next weekend and I should have no trouble shaving a little bit off the top half edge on the left, and the bottom edge on the right, to square these doors right up!

Next will be building the top. The top will have a birds eye maple veneer top, and I am clueless when it comes to veneering. I got Mike Burton’s book, Veneering a foundation course and I’ve looked through it but I still am unclear on the following issues:

1.) I’m planing on using 3/4 MDF for the substrate. It will be around 11” x 32”, do I need to veneer both sides of this piece to prevent cupping? (Burton mentioned that veneer can pull due to seasonal change, and cause severe cupping, but wouldn’t this only apply to large pieces?)

2.) Should I go with a paper backed veneer, and which adhesive should I use?

3.) Do I have to use a vacuum bag on a piece this size, or could I get by just using caul’s and clamps?

4.) The piece will have a 1/4 rabbit that will fit into a grove on the side pieces. Should I veneer the piece over sized, and then cut the final size, and the rabbits into it with the veneer already applied, or make the piece with the rabbits first and then apply the veneer? Obviously, the first way is far easier, but will the veneer which is only 1/40 thick chip out too much when I try to put the rabbit into the edges? (It will be a cross grain rabbit.)

Believe it or not the book was not much help on these issues. The book deals with projects and techniques that are far more advanced than this simple little flat square piece! The book explains all the options, but I’m not sure which ones are the best for this simple little veneering task.

Any help or advise from LJ readers would sure be appreciated!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

7 comments so far

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3619 days

#1 posted 09-20-2009 05:24 PM

Very clean & neat work. Great job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Mike's profile


252 posts in 3412 days

#2 posted 09-20-2009 10:25 PM

Looks great.

-- Mike, VT

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 3327 days

#3 posted 09-21-2009 02:31 AM

Craig, the book case is really looking good. I don’t have the experience to answer your veneering questions, but I will be interested in seeing what you come up with. BTW… I have the same hand plane you ordered. It is one of my most often used tools. You will be able to easily shave off thin layers of wood. I like the #5 1/4 so much I purchased the Veritas low angle block plane. Both work very well right out of the box and out perform the big box planes I spent hours tuning.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3702 days

#4 posted 09-21-2009 02:50 AM

The bookcase looks good.

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 3431 days

#5 posted 09-21-2009 04:03 AM

Keep up the great job.

I’m pretty inexperienced with veneers, however when I was a little ‘un I remember doing some veneering with my grandfather, just using the glue, a roller to push any bubbles out, then we weighted down the surface with a stack of books over some wax paper. Books are pretty heavy, you can stack how many you want, and they exert a pretty even pressure across the whole area. I gather you have a few books kicking around anyways…

I’m sure a vacuum bag would work better, but it might be worth testing the books.

Plywood might be more stable than MDF with only one side veneered.

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

View Scarcraig01's profile


72 posts in 3223 days

#6 posted 09-21-2009 06:53 AM

Beached, I didn’t consider ply but I understand how that should be the case because ply already has all the different layers of veneer to begin with. That makes a lot of sense to me, I think I’ll switch to ply.

I watched norm last week, he was building a curved front chest of drawers, and he used this small bag with a hand pump that he said is sold to make skateboards. It looked pretty inexpensive, I wonder if any LJ’s have any experience with these bags? I should probably post something in the forum.

I also found a hardwood dealer on the net that would sell me enough solid birds eye maple to do the top for around $40, but I can’t imagine for that price their would be much figure.

Creek, Did you happen to hear Matt from Wood Talk On-line talking about that plane? He’s pretty crazy about it too! I’ve never been unhappy with anything I’ve bought from Lee Valley, there stuff is excellent. I have their medium shoulder plane. It’s great for joinery work, I read your home page so I know your wanting to get into hand tools, tell the wife that a Veritas shoulder plane would make an excellent Christmas gift!

-- Craig, Springfield Ohio

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 3327 days

#7 posted 09-22-2009 03:21 AM

Craig, you read my mind. The shoulder plane is on my wish list. Speaking of Matt he has a video podcast where he used the skateboard kit with a vacuum bag, podcast 336 Roarockit Skateboard Kit.

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

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