Free standing open back book shelf

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Project by Lloyd Davies posted 05-09-2009 08:30 AM 4909 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Design was copied from a David Marks episode on TV. He used cherry for the top but when I went down my lumber store (Southern Lumber in San Jose CA) I decided I did not want to afford it in my first comlicated project. I no longer shop there; too expensive. I cannot remember what wood I ended up using but it came out much better than I expected; it kind of shimmers. The shelves have a purpleheart strip on the front and back.

Base is ebonized maple.

Finish is a wipe on oil/varnish mix.

I used my Festool domino jointer and the Festool dominos to hang the sheves on; it worked quite well and avoided having metal shelf hangers.

-- Northern California

7 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3698 days

#1 posted 05-09-2009 03:41 PM

Looks like Birch. A very under appreciated wood in my opinion. I pay almost as much for birch as cherry near me, but it seems easier to get the cool figure like you have and I don’t pay extra for it. I’m looking forward to making some shelves myself. How many hrs did you have in this?

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3658 days

#2 posted 05-09-2009 04:56 PM

Yes , it is Birch . We call it Flame Birch around here and it is roughly the same price as Cherry . It is so beautiful to say the least ! Is that Purpleheart edge banding ? That’s what it looks like on my monitor. Great shelving unit , but I wonder how much weight the dominoes would support if it was actually used as a book shelf.

This is one of my projects using the Flame Birch.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3547 days

#3 posted 05-09-2009 05:14 PM

Nice book shelf, beautiful figure ,well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Lloyd Davies's profile

Lloyd Davies

116 posts in 3296 days

#4 posted 05-09-2009 06:31 PM

Thank you for your kind coments. To answer your questions:
- Yes it is purpleheart banding; that was not in the original design but I thought it added a nice touch
- I don’t know how long it took me but it was a long time. Probably 80% or more of the time was spent on the base. The shelving unit was relatively quick as it is really just a box and I did the dovetails with a jig (still managed to mess it up a few times so it’s shorter than planned).
- The dominoes will carry a lot of weight; at least 3/4 times the weight of any books I could put on a shelf. I did a hall bench which I have not posted as a project here yet and used dominoes in the same fashion to support the seat. It’s very hard to apply enough pressure to break a very short piece of pretty hard wood which is all a domino is.

-- Northern California

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3658 days

#5 posted 05-09-2009 06:44 PM

Thank you for the feedback on the dominoes and the PurpleHeart : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View newTim's profile


607 posts in 3577 days

#6 posted 05-09-2009 08:25 PM

Beautiful. That is a classic design. I used the same legs for my jewelry armoire.

-- tim hill

View blackcherry's profile


3337 posts in 3793 days

#7 posted 05-10-2009 06:50 AM

Nice piece of furniture , the wood speaks volume on it own and the design and craftsmanship is first rate…thanks for sharing Blkcherry

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