Oak bookcase

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Project by rwyoung posted 11-23-2008 07:47 AM 2120 views 5 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Took the basic plans from Woodsmith magazine (and by the way, you can get them free on-line from their on-line sample issue) and modifed them slightly for size, material at hand and tools at hand.

Learned a lot and got some really good practice at basic joinery, grain matching, sheet-good finishing and edge banding. Plans called for cherry and cherry plywood but locally all I could get was red oak and oak plywood. Good practice at finishing and getting the solid wood to match (reasonably) the plywood.

Junior high shop was a long time ago and I’m slowly (very slowly) working my way toward some kitchen and bathroom remodeling. Also including in the mix is building a darkroom. The real kind, where you can splash around in developer and look at everything under red light!

And by the way, the bookcase is straight and square, it is the camera lens and crappy JPG compression that is causing the seemingly curved lines!

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

10 comments so far

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3618 days

#1 posted 11-23-2008 08:56 AM

Looks like a nice book case. Thanks for sharing.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#2 posted 11-23-2008 04:25 PM

Very nice, classic-looking bookcase.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3555 days

#3 posted 11-23-2008 04:40 PM

That’s a nice book case. My favorite thing to make. Book collector. I’ll have to post some of my first book cases, they will make you laugh. Yours is way past my first. Fill’er up!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3500 days

#4 posted 11-23-2008 06:46 PM

The thing I liked best about the plans I found in their magazine was that the book case could easily be made modular. If I wanted one that was double or triple wide it is a simple change to the face frame and applied moldings.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 3757 days

#5 posted 11-23-2008 06:48 PM

Nice job on the bookcase.Looks good.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View woodworm's profile


14468 posts in 3619 days

#6 posted 11-24-2008 04:53 AM

Very very nice bookcase.
“You can do that”...and you did it very well!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View jim1953's profile


2735 posts in 3870 days

#7 posted 11-24-2008 04:57 AM

Great job looks good

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3850 days

#8 posted 11-25-2008 12:16 AM

This is a nice bookcase. I really like this style of furniture and you did a good job with the construction and finish.

What type of finish did you put on it?

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

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3500 days

#9 posted 11-25-2008 12:28 AM

Scott Bryan -

The finish was really the hardest part. Being as I used red-oak for the face frame, trim and shelf banding that was the easy part. Just a couple of coats of BLO with 3 (maybe 4) days in between and a rub down with steel wool. The oak plywood was another story. They don’t grow red oak in China…

The trick I found to be two steps. Did this by practicing first on some scrap and then on the underside of the shelves.

1) More BLO to form a thin protective layer on the plywood. This slows and evens out the later stain absorption.
2) oil based red oak stain (olympic brand I believe) but applied sparingly and rubbed out almost immediately after application. Repeat until color match.

I might have made more work for myself than necessary but I felt it was easier to remove “bad” color while still wet than to over stain and then have to sand back.

Finally, four coats of a wiping varnish (home made by cutting stock poly with mineral spirits) and the usual 0000 steel wool rub down between. And finally, because I like the feel of waxed wood (there is a dirty joke in there somewhere) a single coat of Johnson’s Paste wax which was rubbed out with cotton cloth.

Might have been overkill on finishing but I was really worried about the color differential between the 3/4” ply and the solid wood. In sunlight it is a pretty decent match except for a few places where could have done a better job with grain matching. But there is always the next one…

I just realized I don’t have a good side-shot showing the transition from the solid wood face frame to the plywood. I might change out one of the three photos for that.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3701 days

#10 posted 01-10-2009 06:40 PM

Nice looking bookcase.

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