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Bookcase For My Daughter

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Project by MJMeers posted 1968 days ago 2079 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife decided that my daughter needed a bigger bookcase. After talking her out of buying one of the cheapy particleboard ones from a store, I told her that I would build it for her. I’ve had a Kreg pocket hole jig system that I’ve been dying to try out and figured this project would be as good as any to give it a whirl.

I built the entire bookcase out of a single sheet of birch plywood, veneered the exposed edges, and stained it with General Finishes water based Black stain. I then added 3 coats of General Finishes PolyAcrylic.

By using the pocket hole jig it took longer to stain the bookcase then it actually took to build it. They were a breeze to use. My biggest concern with the pocket holes are how strong the joint will be. I figure a bookcase is a great test. If they can withstand the books then I’ll be using them for many more projects.

-- Matt, RI





24 comments so far

View coolio's profile

coolio

7 posts in 1994 days


#1 posted 1968 days ago

Great Job, Matt from RI. Did I see…...

Coolio

-- You can call me "Big Wood"

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 2033 days


#2 posted 1968 days ago

nice looking bookcase…..good job

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View firecaster's profile

firecaster

557 posts in 2003 days


#3 posted 1968 days ago

I love the Kreg system for a lot of things…........but I’m not sure about this. There isn’t much screw into the uprights.

Let us know how it does, please.

I was wondering about that stain at Woodcraft just yesterday. It looks great on this.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View MJMeers's profile

MJMeers

29 posts in 1996 days


#4 posted 1968 days ago

firecaster,
I have the same concerns. I’ve read a ton of reviews by people that swear by pocket hole joinery and I’ve read a ton that warn against them. When the opportunity arose for the bookcase I figured it would be a great test for making my own judgment on them. The way I look at it if the joints fail then essentially all I lose is the cost of the sheet of plywood and the finish used, but I would gain the knowledge of the stress that the joints will take. I plan on monitoring it for an extended amount of time. I will gladly post my results here as time goes on.

I really like the General Finishes Water Based Stains. They brush on very easily and dry fairly quickly. Low odor and easy cleanup.

-- Matt, RI

View coolio's profile

coolio

7 posts in 1994 days


#5 posted 1968 days ago

Matt,
Did you leave the pocket holes exposed? I have to admit that this is a very different bookcase design. I’m also very interested in seeing how strong the joints are. Did you only use the pocket hole screws or did you also use glue?

-- You can call me "Big Wood"

View coolio's profile

coolio

7 posts in 1994 days


#6 posted 1968 days ago

One other quick question. You have two pictures of the unfinished bookcase in your shop (I’m assuming it is your shop). The picture that shows the clamp rack and the One Way sign in the background, there is something to the right on casters. What is that? I’m very curious.

-- You can call me "Big Wood"

View MJMeers's profile

MJMeers

29 posts in 1996 days


#7 posted 1968 days ago

TThomas, coolio, and firecaster,

Thank you very much for the kind words.

-- Matt, RI

View MJMeers's profile

MJMeers

29 posts in 1996 days


#8 posted 1968 days ago

coolio,
To answer all your questions…

I did not leave the pocket holes exposed. I picked up some pocket hole plugs at Woodcraft, glued them into the holes and used a flush trim saw to cut off the excess. The results were pretty good. They are flush and blend pretty well once stained, but you can tell they are there if you look for them.

I was originally going to build a standard bookcase, but my wife wanted me to try something different and she found this type of design in one of her catalogs, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I did use Titebond III wood glue along with the pocket hole screws.

Ahhhh yes… that is my drill press cart. It is actually one of the first projects I built. I got the plan from ShopNotes magazine (not sure which issue off the top of my head). I will post pictures if you want.

-- Matt, RI

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1389 posts in 2049 days


#9 posted 1968 days ago

i like it. the design looks like an enlarged (ie, widened) version of something i saw from crate and barrel. I wonder about the pocket holes as well – how/where and in what orientation did you place the screws on each shelf?

View ryno's profile

ryno

106 posts in 2248 days


#10 posted 1968 days ago

I like design. For your sake, I hope the shelves hold up. If they don’t, you’ll really have to plead your case to the wife to let you keep building things instead of getting the cheapy stuff from the stores. Good Luck

-- It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

View MJMeers's profile

MJMeers

29 posts in 1996 days


#11 posted 1968 days ago

AaronK,
Now that you mention it… I think that Crate and Barrel may have been the catalog that my wife showed me the original picture from.

There are 3 pocket hole screws on each shelf that connects to a side frame piece. So when you take both frame pieces (the left side and the right back) there are 6 pocket hole screws for each shelf. The only exception was the bottom shelf which was also screwed to the base.

With the exception of the very top of the bookcase, all the shelves had the pocket holes on the bottom. The top had them on the top.

In each shelf the pocket holes (group of 3) were spaced out so that the middle one would be dead center with the vertical frame piece it was connecting to and the remaining 2 screws would be a little over an inch from each side of the same vertical frame piece.

The pocket holes along with glue made a surprisingly sturdy joint. Obviously only time will tell how strong it will be though.

-- Matt, RI

View MJMeers's profile

MJMeers

29 posts in 1996 days


#12 posted 1968 days ago

ryno,
Very good point…

However, I did tell my daughter that if the pocket hole joints didn’t hold up that I would rebuild her another bookcase with different joinery. She’s got it crammed with books right now and it is still rock solid. We’ll see how it looks in a month though.

Too be continued…

-- Matt, RI

View coolio's profile

coolio

7 posts in 1994 days


#13 posted 1968 days ago

Matt,
I favorited this project. I’m really looking forward to seeing your joint results.

Definitely post your drill press cart. No reason not to.

-- You can call me "Big Wood"

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1389 posts in 2049 days


#14 posted 1968 days ago

yeah – they did some cool things by arranging two of them in different configurations.

thanks for the info on the pocket locations. i’m betting this’ll last unless someone puts some serious weight on the outside corner – which is unlikely given the design since it could easily fall off.

View happy_budah's profile

happy_budah

132 posts in 2383 days


#15 posted 1968 days ago

i just got a kreg pocket set for christmass and did the same thing for my daughter. it also took longer th finish that to build but its a closed in on both sides and i was wondering how sturdy is the open side of the shelf? did you brace it?

-- the journy of a thousand miles begins with a single step " Lou-Tzu"

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