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The Cookbook Shelves

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Project by Greg Guarino posted 12-19-2014 10:05 PM 1194 views 8 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After having built a home for the other 400 or so books in the house, I wanted a place to store the cookbooks, a little closer to the kitchen. I decided to build two of these units to flank a large living room window.

Sketchup is largely responsible for the design. I started out trying to adapt something from a Pottery Barn catalog, but kept tinkering with it until I had a very different animal. The “ladder” sides were the biggest change.

There were a lot of lessons learned during this project. Chief among them was that Sketchup makes it awfully easy to draw a lot of repetitive parts; making those parts takes a lot longer, especially if most of them will be fastened with dowels. 224 dowels in 448 holes. I made a series of jigs that made the dowel holes reasonably efficient, but there was also the sanding, edge-easing and prefinishing to do. That coupled with a job and increased family obligations and this project took nearly six months; a few hours here and there on weekends.

Woodworking is still a pretty new hobby for me. Although simpler then much of what I see on LJ, this is my most complicated attempt yet. It’s my second try at pattern routing, which was used to make the arched stiles. I think they are my favorite detail. It was also my second use of biscuits, which fasten the “ladder” sides to the front and back frames and also were used to glue the “border” pieces around the tops.

Another lesson was that dark stain does an excellent job of highlighting small imperfections. On close inspection there is a certain “rusticity” that I hadn’t intended. My wife loves it though. Maybe I’ll claim it was on purpose.

I finished the units with General Finishes Candelite Gel Stain and GF Gel Varnish. After 3 coats of varnish I steel-wooled it a bit and then buffed the finish up a bit with paper and sometimes a rotary buffer as an experiment. I came out pretty well, but I have to say the gel stain was a real pain on all the inside surfaces between the “rungs”.

I’m tossing around some ideas for “matching” end tables for the same room, but haven’t settled on a design yet. I think maybe I’ll tackle a smaller project for the winter instead.

-- http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/collections/72157628183467127/





4 comments so far

View yooper's profile

yooper

215 posts in 2286 days


#1 posted 12-20-2014 03:44 AM

I really like this project, and it would look great in so many rooms of a house. I’ve had some real good luck using GF Candelite Gel Stain also.

-- Jeff, CT - keep calm and make sawdust

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

1914 posts in 1774 days


#2 posted 12-20-2014 10:04 PM

Looks pretty good from over here, and I think you have graduated up the woodworker scale beyond the “new” class … I really like the Arts & Crafts flavor to this piece, and it is proportioned well … I would need about 12 of those to hold my wife’s cook books, (27 feet of shelving to hold them).
Next time consider a taper from the bottom rail to the base, (like Stickley did) ... Give yourself a gold star for this one.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Greg Guarino's profile

Greg Guarino

50 posts in 989 days


#3 posted 12-21-2014 02:35 PM



I really like this project, and it would look great in so many rooms of a house. I ve had some real good luck using GF Candelite Gel Stain also.
- yooper

In my limited experience, I find that stains rarely approach the color on the can, or even on the alleged wood “samples”. That was the case here, although I’m reasonably satisfied with the color. But it really was a chore to apply. While I did do all the finishing before final assembly, the “ladders” were pre-assembled. Getting that “pudding” into all the nooks and crannies – and especially removing the excess – was very difficult and time-consuming.

Thanks for the kind words about the project. I like it too. It was about the twelfth iteration of the design. I’m still tweaking (read: changing completely) the design for the end tables. I guess I’ll use the same stain, but this time I’ll pre-stain all of the parts.

-- http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/collections/72157628183467127/

View Greg Guarino's profile

Greg Guarino

50 posts in 989 days


#4 posted 12-21-2014 02:51 PM



Looks pretty good from over here, and I think you have graduated up the woodworker scale beyond the “new” class … I really like the Arts & Crafts flavor to this piece, and it is proportioned well … I would need about 12 of those to hold my wife s cook books, (27 feet of shelving to hold them).
Next time consider a taper from the bottom rail to the base, (like Stickley did) ... Give yourself a gold star for this one.
- Grumpymike

Thanks.

I like the design too. Sketchup was frustrating to learn, but I’m fairly efficient with it now. I’m not really that knowledgeable about furniture styles; I kept changing it until I finally decided to buy some wood. :) Printing the curve templates directly from Sketchup really worked well. It allows a guy with limited tools to make repeated, accurate shapes very easily. A taper, huh? Even with such short “legs”? I may have to draw that just to help visualize it.

27 feet of cookbooks? Wow. I built some bookcases a ways back that hold most of our books, about 32 feet I guess. Here’s half of it:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/9146396185/in/set-72157632376881493

I built it with space for books of differing heights. I think there are about 500 books in it. Does your wife really have 400 or so cookbooks? The eatin’ must be good at your house.

Thanks again.

-- http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/collections/72157628183467127/

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