Bookcase #3: Setbacks and Progress

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Blog entry by BlueRidgeDog posted 12-21-2019 09:35 PM 860 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Only Joint I know Part 3 of Bookcase series Part 4: Bottom Moulding and Legs »

I was trying to get this done before company came for Christmas, but alas I am running out of time. The finish application will make the house, aka shop with bedrooms above, smell off for the gathering, so I have missed my window.

This is a large item and I used corner squares for the glue up:

The glue up was brutal, but that was my fault as something this size needs much more play in the joint than I gave it. I cheated though and seated one end and clamped it without glue, then glued the other end. Two hours later I removed the unglued end and glued it. It was also brutal as I missed the striking block with my mallet and flattened a finger driving the joint home.

I checked for lateral rigidity and even though the stiffeners are not in yet, I was not happy so I cut a rabbit in the back and put on a back. I hate backs.

With the back on, it is much more rigid.

I moved on to putting the stiffeners in and giving it the torsional rigidity that it needs:

4 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4677 days

#1 posted 12-22-2019 02:19 PM

It is almost impossible to make a large case like that remain rigid, especially if the shelves are adjustable. Maybe using at least one permanent shelf in the middle or perhaps two, one high and one low would keep the case rigid and allow you to eliminate the backing. Regardless I think you did a fine job on the case and very well done dovetails.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile


910 posts in 1122 days

#2 posted 12-23-2019 12:28 AM

I may have to make one fixed. Going to get the bottom stiffener on and evaluate. I can still fix one with dowels from the side.

View EarlS's profile


5037 posts in 3691 days

#3 posted 12-23-2019 03:40 PM

I agree with you – I hate backs on bookcases. The back takes something away from the design. Hopefully the back isn’t permanently attached so you can remove it if you find a better solution.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Jeremymcon's profile


420 posts in 2022 days

#4 posted 12-23-2019 05:59 PM

I personally prefer bookcases with backs. I always hate it when a book or other doodad falls being the case! Though I typically make the backs my bookcases from solid wood, usually shiplap. I will agree with the others that at least one fixed shelf wil help with rigidity, but with the back, the stiffeners you’re adding, and those dovetailed corners it ought to be fine.

It’s looking great!

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