I can do that bookcase

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Project by brianl posted 02-12-2011 12:31 AM 2016 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was looking around for an easy all-hand-tool project that would allow me to get my feet back in the water. After searching, I found a simple bookcase I thought would be easy enough to do. I ran by Boulter Plywood over in Somerville and got a decent price on some beautifully figured walnut to start.

The design is from Glen Huey’s article I can do that - simplified Stickley bookcase. For those of you who haven’t tried any of the “I Can Do That” series, they’re great learning projects that require a minimum of tools. In my case, I have the handtools, just not the knowledge (coming from a powertools background).

All of the joinery is pocket-screws. The cutouts and rounded corners were all done with a coping saw. All of the ripping and cross-cutting was done with handsaws. An assortment of handplanes (6,4, and 2) handled the jointing and smoothing of pieces. Finally, three 1LB cut coats of garnet shellac was rubbed on and finished with dark brown Briwax applied with 0000 steel wool. I used 1LB cut after I tried a 2LB cut and repeatedly got lap marks. I learned that I should always shellac a piece before assembly when it’s all flat. Shellac-ing around corners and in tight spaces is a pain!

I think this was a great experience for me to practice my newly-acquired hand tool skills and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

8 comments so far

View steliart's profile


2595 posts in 2683 days

#1 posted 02-12-2011 12:34 AM

not an ordinary bookcase… cool

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3026 days

#2 posted 02-12-2011 12:54 AM

Great job!

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3459 days

#3 posted 02-12-2011 01:03 AM

nice work! yes, that I can Do that series is great – another bookshelf of theirs was my first woodworking project and while it took me weeks to accomplish, I know now that I could bang it out in a couple days.

View bvdon's profile


482 posts in 3010 days

#4 posted 02-12-2011 04:59 AM

Really nice and clean job putting that together, and a very nice selection of wood too!

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 2857 days

#5 posted 02-12-2011 09:04 AM

Great Job, and I appreciate the links!

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3459 days

#6 posted 02-12-2011 04:51 PM

Nice work. I’m starting to use more handtools and the shop experience is quite enjoyable. I’ve never heard of the I Can Do It series. I think I’ll give them a look. Thanks for the resource.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3668 days

#7 posted 02-12-2011 04:53 PM

Nice looking bookcase!

View bch's profile


296 posts in 2684 days

#8 posted 02-14-2011 02:22 AM

Its great. I love the walnut. I’ll show this to the boss and see how she feels about it… I may have another project planned.

-- --bch

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