Dad's High School shop project

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 03-04-2012 02:13 PM 1461 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3101 days

03-04-2012 02:13 PM

We are moving my Mother into a retirement home. As a consequence of the move, she asked me if I wanted this book shelf. I had never seen it before. Mom told me that it was one of Dad’s high school shop projects.

This would have been made in the mid-1930s, probably with no power tools. Oh how I wish I had known about this before Dad died. I would love to know how he cut the dado. I’m even more interested in how he put that design on the end.

It looks like pine with a dark stain/finish. It looks like he might have punched a rough surface into the side and created a design while doing so, which he painted. It’s very interesting to me.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this and/or do you know how work like this was done?

As an FYI – This little bookshelf held Dad’s diaries. He started a daily diary at age 16 and kept it going until just prior to his death at age 89. I’m looking forward to some interesting reading.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

6 replies so far

View cloakie1's profile


204 posts in 2582 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 04:57 PM

i don’t know if it is relevant today but i recall at primary school when we did our manual training, we used to make small boxes and tooltidies etc. all had rebated joints and we would mark them out with a making knife and then cut on the inside of the line with a tennon saw and chisel out the waste…was time consuming and some of the boys would make a real meal of it while others were very good at it…i still have one or two of my school projects…..i’m guessing that your father did it a similiar way.

-- just get stuck in and have a go!!!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3335 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 05:45 PM

Wow, what a great memory jogger. Keep that piece forever...
I remember taking woodshop classes in 7th, 8th & 9th grade in school back in 1959, 1960 & 1961. My very first woodworking project in the 7th grade calss was a bookshelf with that exact same design…with the exception of the fancy design on the end like your dad made. Mine was made from cyprress and how well I remember using a chisel to clean out the dado that the ends sat in. It had the same 45 degree miters on the ends and the champhers around the base. The ends were glued into the dadoes and fastened with screws.
I wish i still had mine!

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3191 days

#3 posted 03-04-2012 07:13 PM

Fabulous find. Both the shelf and the diaries are rare items to have.

My father made a bookshelf in school as well. Oak in Arts and Crafts style with 3 or 4 shelves. It got destroyed when my brother’s cabin/house burned down….......

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4949 posts in 3987 days

#4 posted 03-04-2012 08:23 PM

There are carver and gunsmith tools that will create the “punched” look.
That’s a keeper for sure.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#5 posted 03-04-2012 11:23 PM

Interesting find for sure. Enjoy!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3780 days

#6 posted 03-04-2012 11:47 PM

Thanks for sharing. Great post!

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