Mission Bookcase in Red Oak

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Project by rcs47 posted 01-24-2011 01:52 AM 4392 views 11 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this bookcase for one of my Nieces. She wanted one that was 36” wide, 54” high, in the mission style, with a door and divided lights. I suggested two doors to reduce the space she would need to keep clear to be able to open the door. I designed the case with a fixed center shelf for stability, and she wanted three adjustable shelves.

This is my first project using ebony butterflies. I picked up some ebony pen blanks for the material. I used CA glue to attach short pieces of ebony to each end of longer pieces of oak. I could have just cut the pen blanks themselves, but I wanted insurance. By attaching blocks to the ends of pieces of oak, if something went wrong on a cut, I only lost those two blocks, not a half a pen blank. I cut the stock to 3/8” x 3/4”. I tilted the table saw blade to I think it was 16 degrees. Raised the blade so the inside tooth was up at 3/8” and 1/4” away from the fence (blade is tilting toward the fence). Four passes through the blade and I had the butterfly shape (a push stick is essential). I used the band saw to cut the material to just over 1/8” thick.

The oak between the ebony gave me butterflies for the tests. I started with the traditional double stick tape, scribing the outline with a marking knife, filling in the groove with a pencil to make it easier to see, route out the material being careful not to cross the line, and clean up with chisel. But I found that a sharp pencil worked just as well as the marking knife, and if I slipped past the piece when marking, it’s a lot easier to clean up the mark it left. I used the sharp pencil method on the doors.

I found a rocking motion with the chisel worked better than trying to push/drive straight down with the chisel along the line when cleaning up after the router. I start with the cross grain first. I press one corner of the chisel in along the line. Pushing down as I rocked the chisel up, following the line in a shearing motion toward the corner. Since I’m only working with a 1/8” deep mortise, it doesn’t take a lot of pressure with a sharp chisel. A card scraper levels out the butterfly.

The case itself is assembled using sliding dovetails. To carry through that look, I cut a similar joint for the rails I used at the top of the case.

5/4 red oak
Lowes Cabot Early American stain
General Finishes Arm-R-Seal satin finish

Thanks for looking.

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

16 comments so far

View Hallmark's profile


432 posts in 3345 days

#1 posted 01-24-2011 02:09 AM

Wonderful job, she must be thrilled!

-- Style is simple, but not my execution of it.

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3829 days

#2 posted 01-24-2011 03:05 AM

Really very nice looking Bookcase, great job!

I noticed you used white oak for most of you projects – what element that you like most?

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3961 days

#3 posted 01-24-2011 03:10 AM

I like the clean mission look. Nice choice of materials. Thanks for sharing.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View Firewalker's profile


2 posts in 2925 days

#4 posted 01-24-2011 03:41 AM

Very well done! Thanks for sharing. Any particular place you like to find your hinges and handles? I really like that style.

View CampD's profile


1742 posts in 3724 days

#5 posted 01-24-2011 04:01 AM

Verrrrry Nice!!!

-- Doug...

View CumberlandCowboy's profile


13 posts in 2919 days

#6 posted 01-24-2011 04:45 AM

Beautiful work…....I’m jealous and she must be thrilled

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3911 days

#7 posted 01-24-2011 04:55 AM

Beautiful bookcase.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4012 days

#8 posted 01-24-2011 05:06 AM

Beautiul piece. Very nicely done. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View sawdust55109's profile


64 posts in 3087 days

#9 posted 01-24-2011 05:30 AM

Nice piece.
I really like the inlays.
Thanks for sharing the technique…

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 3388 days

#10 posted 01-24-2011 05:56 AM

Very cool. Nice job.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View rcs47's profile


199 posts in 3368 days

#11 posted 01-24-2011 07:29 AM

Thanks for all the nice comments.

Hallmark – I hope she will. I waiting to see when we can get together to deliver it.

Woodworm – I really like ray fleck in QSWO and have been using it for home projects. The hardest part is finding enough material that has similar rays for a project.

Firewalker -

Hinges – Woodcraft mission line:

Handles – my other projects I picked up the Stickley handles from Rockler, but I didn’t like the door handles they offered for this project. I found these handles at Woodworkers Hardware:

-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3412 days

#12 posted 01-24-2011 07:39 AM

Love the look.
Love the joinery.
Love the details.
Knockout piece !

-- -- Neil

View dubsaloon's profile


621 posts in 3032 days

#13 posted 01-24-2011 12:25 PM

Well done! Nice details.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View Eddie Elizondo's profile

Eddie Elizondo

68 posts in 4076 days

#14 posted 02-05-2011 03:58 AM

This is a really great project. You did a great job on the design and finish.

-- Eddie -

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3178 days

#15 posted 10-22-2011 04:51 AM

very nice details.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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