I finally bought a joinery saw, the new Lee-Valley (LV) extra fine dozuki they had on special a couple weeks ago, and boy does it leave a cleaner cut than my 210mm ryoba. The kerf is so thin, sometimes the blade sticks, I might look into waxing it a bit if it persists. Out of all the hand tool skills, I want to improve my sawing the most. By far it seems that a good cut saves the most time and leaves a better result than any later clean up work with my chisels.
Most of the joinery were all proud finger joints except for a few poorly fitting dovetails for the bottom beams. Other than liking non-flush joinery, I had this image in my mind of the proud finger points providing a book stop on the edges of the bookshelf. Cutting the joinery, I had several mishaps, but one thing that finally rung a bell with me was accounting for the size of the kerf in where you start cutting. I think having two saws and seeing the different kerfs helped with my minor revelation.
And here’s a dry fit.
I used some walnut dowels to sturdy up the joints. Here I’m using my LV japanese awls to start the pilot holes (if you can’t tell, I had a little bit of a new LV customer shopping spree).
I wanted a darker finish since the bookcase would be on top of a dark walnut side table, so I picked up some Zinsser amber shellac. I was going to thin it, but I read the instructions on the can and in capital letters it said “DO NOT THIN.” So I used as-is, but I was not very happy with the results. Too shiny, glossy, rubbery to the touch, and difficult to put on evenly before it dried. With my limited experience, I can’t quite tell which factors were the worst culprits: not-thinning the shellac, too heavy of coats, the quality of the wood, and of course my sloppy application. I’ll be thinking about the finishing process more for my next project.
The end result is still functional, and from a distance it might even look ok. The best feeling though is that I took some orphaned big box fence board destined for the trash and made them a part of our home. Now off to think about the next project! Thanks for reading.
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