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Bookcase Challenge entry

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Blog entry by Greg Wurst posted 03-28-2008 08:06 PM 2673 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, for kicks and giggles I decided to try to create a bookcase entry in Sketchup for the competition. I have no delusions of winning anything, but I thought I’d give it a try. I though of what I could do to make a traditional bookcase stand-out, and not coming-up with anything I decided to mess-around with curved surfaces in Sketchup. After some tinkering, I had a basic design that you see here:

Bookcase 1

Bookcase 2

Bookcase Render

It’s more of an art piece than a bookcase I suppose, but it was the best I could come-up with. It is a very simple design. Basically, nothing more than 12” wide 3/4” baltic birch plywood. The two intersecting arcs would be just 2 steam bent pieces of plywood that would connect to each other with intersecting slots cut half-way through each piece (in the SKP file the one arc is actually 2 pieces, since I didn’t want to spend a lot of time recreating the joint). I would likely screw and glue the arcs to the bottom of the base. The middle shelf creates a joinery dilemma. I’m not sure if you’d screw and plug it, create a dado (a complicated prospect due to the arc), or just glue it and rely on gravity and wedging to keep it in place.

I also would like to emphasize that I am not capable of building this piece. I’ve never tried steam bending anything, and I don’t have the setup to do so if I wanted to. This is basically just a design exercies for me.

If you’d like to view the Sketchup file, you can download it here:

http://homebrew.gotdns.org/pics/bookcase/bookcase_project.skp

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.



15 comments so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2642 days


#1 posted 03-28-2008 08:14 PM

That’s a pretty cool design!

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

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 2425 days


#2 posted 03-28-2008 08:15 PM

Gwurst,
Don’t defeat yourself like that. You obviously have some dedication to your education of Sketchup. I know a lot of people who cant do curves, let alone ones that intersect properly like yours. Nice job. Personaly, I think you could embelish a few things, make a few additions like a base, etc… and have a real first class entry. I know you can do it.

BTW… Look up “bending plywood”, it makes this project very do-able.
Tom

-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2528 days


#3 posted 03-28-2008 08:32 PM

I like what you have drawn. Like Tom says, give it a shot.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

781 posts in 2486 days


#4 posted 03-28-2008 09:24 PM

Thank you for the kind words. I don’t mean to diminish my work, it’s just a very simple project and unlikely to be considered the best entry. I think it stands pretty-well on its own merits, though.

I looked at embellishing the project, but the curvilinear design does not lend itself well to that I’m afraid. In the end, I decided a minimalist approach would be best. I did have one other design option, but felt the radius on the base was just too-much to be able to physically achieve:

Bookcase 3

While I COULD build this if I really wanted to, I just don’t have a real desire to do so. It is a very modern piece and wouldn’t go anywhere in my house. I also have a small shop and no room to create the steam bending box and jigs necessary to make the piece.

As a side note, if you look closely you will see that the two intersecting arcs are not the same. I tried just flipping the one piece, but I did not like the way it looked. In the end, the outside arc has a gentler slope than the inside arc. I started with the inside arc, so if you used the gentler slope on both pieces it might look better, reducing the number of bending jigs needed to just one. I think the slight angle variations add character, though.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

781 posts in 2486 days


#5 posted 03-28-2008 09:26 PM

Oh, and my apologies if you have trouble viewing the pictures. They’re running on an XP web server at my house and it only allows 10 connections at a time, so you may need to refresh later to see them.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2645 days


#6 posted 03-28-2008 10:04 PM

Looks cool, and you wouldn’t have to steam anything, a bentwood lamination would do just as well and is very easy to do in a home shop. It’s how I did the curves on the bow of my boys boat bed

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View grovemadman's profile

grovemadman

556 posts in 2426 days


#7 posted 03-28-2008 10:09 PM

That’s a coool design! I think you should at least try to build it – the design itself actually just may win.

-- --Chuck

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

781 posts in 2486 days


#8 posted 03-28-2008 10:20 PM

Looks cool, and you wouldn’t have to steam anything, a bentwood lamination would do just as well and is very easy to do in a home shop. It’s how I did the curves on the bow of my boys boat bed

Interesting idea. I did a quick Google search and people seem to be doing those bent lamination glue-ups using 1/8” luan or an 1/8” bending poplar. Apparently there is a 1/16” Wisa Italian bending plywood as well, but I’m not even sure where I’d get the 1/8” stuff. I’m still not sold on actually building this project, but that is certainly something to consider for future curved project work.

Of course, if PWW insists on me trying to build this I’ll give bent lamination a shot! :)

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2476 days


#9 posted 03-28-2008 10:47 PM

Hi Gwurst,

You have an interesting design which you have obviously given some thought. The basic premise behind the contest is not winning or losing since everyone who enters is a winner in some capacity. The contest is really designed to get creative ideas flowing and stretching your woodworking further than you would normally be inclined to go. Those who design, build and complete their individual projects within the alloted time frame are all winners. GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!

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

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 2374 days


#10 posted 03-28-2008 10:55 PM

I think you’ve got a better design there than you believe. Sometimes “less is more”.

I hope you build it, too!

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View johnjoiner's profile

johnjoiner

160 posts in 2547 days


#11 posted 03-28-2008 10:59 PM

Hi Gwurst.

Cool shelves! I like the curves. I’ve especially had a tough time doing much curved work in SU.

-- johnjoiner

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2814 days


#12 posted 03-29-2008 01:04 PM

very cool…
it’s almost an “X and O” design.
very creative

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View mrtrim's profile

mrtrim

1696 posts in 2534 days


#13 posted 03-29-2008 01:46 PM

from what ive seen so far , its got my vote

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 2529 days


#14 posted 03-30-2008 07:20 PM

gwurst,

I suggest you contact Neil, at Furnitology Productions . In fact, just this morning (Sunday, March 30) he posted about The Rough Cut forum , and states the forum is ”...what I term, a “building or working forum”.”

Neil is one of the premier experts on laminations today, (as is John Fry ), and a fantastic teacher. I am certain he will be glad to suggest how best to tackle this beautiful bookcase.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO, http://sandal-woodsblog.com

View joey's profile

joey

396 posts in 2558 days


#15 posted 03-31-2008 09:13 PM

I don’t think this would be as hard to build as you might think, it is only one form incorporating both pieces on opposite sides and four laminated parts in two sessions, the strength would have to come from the base and the center shelve, but you know all that ready, its a nice design simple and elegant, good luck.
Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

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