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Barrister's Bookcase

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Project by HorizontalMike posted 892 days ago 3679 views 11 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my official first piece of scratch built furniture, if you do not count my woodworking workbench. I pretty much followed the article I found in Issue #21 Feb 1988 of WOOD Magazine pp.66-71, though I strayed online and looked at the 2003 version in issue 149. I based the top and base on that newer version but held to the older mission style joinery shown in issue #21 for the main bookcase carcase.

I built it using White Ash and I used a Minwax Golden Oak Stain for color. I sure learned much from undertaking this project, the first of which was that this thing has/had nearly 120 parts each of which needed to be precisely milled, cut and sized, each including one or several of the following features: dadoes, rabbits, dowels, mortise & tenons, panel inserts, pre-finishing and then re-finishing, etc. I sure gained much appreciation for the woodworking profession even though my efforts in this area are just another hobby.

When beginning my staining of the the bookcase, I started with the front window frames and immediately noticed some serious blotching that just shows up as if someone had taken solid paint and marked randomly over the wood. While I had purchased an oil-based pre-stain wood conditioner, I had forgotten to apply it before staining. Panic set in pretty quick, but thanks to fellow LumberJocks I was able to get some much needed professional finishing advice from Charles Neil and Rick Dennington. That advice was to strip/wash the frames with either mineral spirits or naphtha, however naphtha was the preferred method for fast drying and lack of oils. Lacking the naphtha, I looked around and found I still had most of a quart of acetone. A quick check on the Internet and I was in business (acetone is fastest drying and a very good solvent). After stripping the three window frames, I commenced sanding with 220grit on my 1/4 sheet palm sander. It took awhile, but I eventually started to see the blotchy areas disappear.
Below shows the blotchy areas before correction:

Had a hard time matching stains on ply vs cut wood as the image below shows the variations.

The End Panel inserts are book-matched and re-sawn from a single piece of of White Ash I selected just for its figure and detail.

I found a really neat application for Space Balls. When routing out the channels for the window sliders, I made the decision to use a 1/4” metal rod instead of 3/8” dowels that the plans called for. That meant that I had to recalculate just how far to route near the front edge. I found that I had routed a bit far, but one Space Ball would neatly fit the 1/4” channel and stay in place. This now served as a “bumper” for the closing windows and helped to dampen any rattles that would come from the glass panes. Works like a charm and I highly recommend it. You will also notice that all of my panel inserts had to be pre-finished prior to the glue up of the larger panels. This helps to eliminate having any missing “stain lines” from when the panels shrink/swell with the changing humidity.

I also discovered that my horizontal mortiser serves very well in doing long dadoes or rabbits of around 34in or so.

More images and information on my website

HERE.


-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."





34 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile (online now)

gfadvm

10567 posts in 1289 days


#1 posted 892 days ago

That looks like it took a LOT of work but it turned out very nice. I have always liked these but don’t think I have the patience to build one.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1282 posts in 1407 days


#2 posted 892 days ago

Looks good mike and that acatone will do wonders. Did you track your doors with steel pins or wood ?

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6915 posts in 1512 days


#3 posted 891 days ago

Did you track your doors with steel pins or wood ?

I went to the local HD and bought brass colored 1/4in steel door pins and cut them to length. A friend of mine had warned me about wooden dowels wearing quickly and the steel pins cost me less than $1.50 for a 4-pak. I used three of them when all was said and done. Also noticed how much easier the tracks worked after they were varnished/finished.

Also can’t say enough about using the Space Balls to take up slop (overly routed track) in the front. They make for a nice low pressure tension and the door buttons snap into their slots and everything is snug. No rattles. ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1282 posts in 1407 days


#4 posted 891 days ago

10-4

View dpow's profile

dpow

457 posts in 1442 days


#5 posted 891 days ago

Great looking bookcase. Thankjs for sharing.

-- Doug

View festeringsplinter's profile

festeringsplinter

10 posts in 962 days


#6 posted 891 days ago

OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

3560 posts in 2174 days


#7 posted 891 days ago

Looks mighty nice Mike!

-- Having fun...Eric

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

373 posts in 2622 days


#8 posted 891 days ago

Mike,

Great job. Love your idea abour the space balls. I see you used a dowel for the door to ride on is there also one at the bottom to keep the door from pushing in. Beautiful top design.

-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3272 posts in 1793 days


#9 posted 891 days ago

Stellar job on the barrister bookcase, Mike…..It really looks beautiful….The stain job turned out great, too.
When I mentioned using mineral spirits, I didn’t even think about acetone…I have used it a few times as a drying agent, but not on removing stain….Glad everything turned out the way you wanted it to…..again, it looks beautiful….great craftsmanship, and a very nice piece to be proud of…..the new horizontal mortiser paid off…..Now just fill it up with law books, and you’ll be in business…..:)

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View lanwater's profile

lanwater

3075 posts in 1533 days


#10 posted 891 days ago

Very nice. great job all around.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6915 posts in 1512 days


#11 posted 891 days ago

Rick,
I have ~12 cases of woodworking magazines and books that I have been given by a friend whose father had passed. This bookcase will fill up quickly to be sure. While my blotching issue was vastly improved, some re-showed during the re-staining process. I suspect that is probably due to my use of the oil-based stains and finishes as opposed to using the water-based conditioners and coloring agents. I am seriously considering switching over to the water-based products in future projects. Watching Charles Neil clean up with just soap and water and NOT a bunch of chemicals, sure looks appealing and the results he gets sure do look superior in all ways.

Ken,
No stop-dowel on the bottom…YET. But that will change shortly, as that was one of the first things I noticed upon completion. The first thing I got, was a complaint about the smell of finish in the house since I was in a rush to get’r done and displayed. Now that it has fully cured, “she” likes it much better (and I am out of the dog house). ;-)
At this point I think that I will just use a small stop-block and just pin&glue it in place. May have to take my chisel and scrape a small spot for glue adhesion but it’ll get done for sure. Or, maybe just take a small brass wood screw and secure the stop-block that way, hmm… Thanks for the reminder and kudos.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15404 posts in 1465 days


#12 posted 891 days ago

This is a wonderful piece, Mike. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Maveric777's profile

Maveric777

2687 posts in 1675 days


#13 posted 891 days ago

Job well done Mike! Not only we get to see the wonderful work but you brought us along on the build… Two thumbs up!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

6116 posts in 1399 days


#14 posted 891 days ago

I am a HUGE fan of Sloan books. I see you are too! Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? That's the best show since wood was invented! ”- The Eastern Northwest Southerner’s Journal

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at: http://www.stumpynubs.com

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1292 days


#15 posted 891 days ago

Totally exceptional in every way. Outstanding wood choice on the side panels. Really remarkable.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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