finally getting close to the finishing room ...

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Blog entry by kordwood posted 04-01-2009 05:33 AM 1326 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working on a big Stickley designed double bookcase for way too long, but I’m closing in on it now. Finally put the tongue-and-groove back boards on, all the shelves are done (middle shelves are fixed, top and bottom shelves adjustable … it was too tall for me to get a full top to bottom shot, so you can’t see all the shelves in this pic), it’s all glued up and ready for some final sanding. It’s coming out fairly well, if I do say so myself.



But it’s been a bit of a learning curve. For instance, wrestling with the sheer weight of each board was—ahem—interesting compared to the other, smaller projects I’m used to. The top and bottom shelves are 1-1/8 inch thick, 13 inches wide, and over five feet long. The whole mess stands about 55 inches tall. Needless to say I got pretty adept with a roller stand.


A couple other lessons:

Tenons2.JPG BookcaseMortiseDado.JPG

Cutting thru mortises in REALLY expensive stock is daunting! And because they were twinned up, they had to be much more precise than anything I’d done previously. Also, I decided to dado the inside so that the top and bottom got additional support.

DSC_0008.JPG BookcaseDetailSide1.JPG

Which leads to my next lesson …

Figuring out my own joinery takes planning. The original plan came from the book “Craftman shop drawings.” The drawings are excellent, but the joinery is left purposely vague. This really tested my anticipation skills — and my memory — as I had to adjust the plans to accommodate the changes in measurements.


Next up is a pair of optional glass doors … it’s actually square enough (lesson four).

And since the bookcase may be too darn heavy to carry gracefully out of my basement shop, the last lesson just might be how to procrastinate even more.


-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

9 comments so far

View Topapilot's profile


172 posts in 3838 days

#1 posted 04-01-2009 06:01 AM

That looks sensational. What are your plans for finishing it?

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 3749 days

#2 posted 04-01-2009 06:06 AM

Thanks. I’ll use a water-based trans tint dye, then I seal it with Waterlox sealer, rub a walnut gel stain into the pores and finish with Waterlox satin. It mimics Stickley Fayetteville really well. If you peek at my other projects, you’ll get a sense of it.

Jeff Jewitt came up with the original recipe. I’ll dig around tomorrow to see if I can find a link.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4097 days

#3 posted 04-01-2009 11:11 AM

Really nice, crisp work. I will be looking for the finished piece.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3726 days

#4 posted 04-01-2009 01:31 PM

Todd describes it well. Very crisp. I love it. I wish I had the ability/patience to get this level of precision in my projects.

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

189 posts in 3412 days

#5 posted 04-01-2009 04:00 PM

Looks great. Oh, don’t worry about taking a long time on projects. It happens to the best of us. I have two electric guitars half way completed and just waiting for the right time to pick them back up. In the meantime, i have build four or five other projects.

Did you cut the through mortise with a chisel and are the slots in the back tied together with a lap jointed?

Nice work and looking forward to seeing it finished. BTW – Jeff Jewitt is an awesome adviser. I love his forum.

-- Matt, Arizona

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 3749 days

#6 posted 04-01-2009 05:53 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, everybody.

Matt: I used a mortiser to rough out the through mortises, being careful to stay inside the lines so I could clean up the fit with chisels. I used splines on the back, glued to one side, so they’re kind of a faux tongue and groove. That let me cheat and use stock that was less than six inches wide. Saved me a bundle.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4085 days

#7 posted 04-02-2009 12:05 AM

THe plans for finishing sound interesting Can’t wait to see the final look.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 04-02-2009 03:15 AM

Looks like Jeff Jewitt changed his recipe for the finish just a bit … he’s gotten away from Waterlox in favor of General Finishes SealACell Sealer and ArmRSealer satin. Here's a link to his pdf with details.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

View kordwood's profile


29 posts in 3749 days

#9 posted 12-03-2009 05:22 PM

It’s done—finally! Sneak a look at the finished work in my projects.

-- David in sunny Cleveland, Oh

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