Challenge04 Bookcase #1: Modern Style Dovetail Bookcase

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Blog entry by kshipp posted 04-19-2008 05:42 PM 6140 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Here is my entry for the bookcase challenge. Actually, maybe I should call it “how I forced myself to learn Sketchup the right way.” I had dabbled in Sketchup before but I never made drawings of different components that I then assembled. I spend a lot of time for this challenge watching the tutorials on YouTube and reading about proper Sketchup techniques online. I have worked with many 3D modeling programs before and some of the concepts are the same but there is certainly a learning curve for Sketchup.
Learning how to use components was the biggest help for this project. I also learned how to do dovetails properly and use layers and scenes to keep multiple views in the same project.

So without further ado here is the bookcase:
kshipp bookcase

I haven’t done any work really with dovetails or gluing up panels so I tried to focus on those skills for this project. As you can see, the corner joints are done with dovetails and the shelves are attached with sliding dovetails. The bookends are what I think makes the project unique. They also use sliding dovetails and are able to slide out of the end of the case if you had a full shelf. The weight of books on them would cause them to “rack” in the dovetail slot and thus hold the books. They are made of alternating wood because I think it kind of makes the bookends look like books themselves.

With books


The side panels are a glueup of cherry and maple to highlight the slots for the bookends. All of the pieces are 1” thick for strength and uniformity. I think this bookcase would be a great way for me to build my woodworking skills and end up with a nice bookcase.

Front view

Exploded View

Here is the Sketchup file. It has multiple scenes which can be accessed by clicking on the tabs at the top. I made one layer with the original drawing (which I found out can’t be on the default layer if you are going to use scenes). I then copied it to another layer and added books. For the exploded view, I copied to another layer and manually pulled the parts out.

Good luck to everyone and I welcome comments or questions on the design.

-- Kyle Shipp,

3 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4012 days

#1 posted 04-19-2008 05:47 PM

Cool looking design!

Good luck.

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

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3241 posts in 3736 days

#2 posted 04-19-2008 06:17 PM

The bookends really make this bookcase special (and practical). I’ve made bookshelves using a keyhole slot and screws on the underside of bookends, but I prefer your idea. You came up with a unique design for removing them, too. And if a person were really overwhelmed with ambition, he could actually create wooden books (carving and painting or leather/fabric binding). Great work!

One question: Did you think about the possibility of racking of the whole bookcase since there is no front or back bracing, or will the thickness of the lumber and size of the dovetails alleviate any potential problem?

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 04-19-2008 07:20 PM


This looks like an interesting design. And congratulations on getting a fairly good working knowledge of Sketchup.

Good luck in the contest.

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

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