General Topics #7: Bookcase to Compliment my MCAD Project

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Blog entry by Jeff posted 04-21-2008 06:48 AM 7618 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I almost forgot to post this! I was working on the blog for the MCAD Continuing Studies class (the project driving the design for this bookcase). I will come back and edit the entry with the rationale behind the design.

Bookcase Front View

Doors Open
Doors Open 3/4 View

SketchUp Model File.

Commentary and additional images were added as a separate post below.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

7 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35277 posts in 5566 days

#1 posted 04-21-2008 06:51 AM

Great design. Good luck. I don’t know if it made it though. I’m not sure of the time one 4/20 that Martin was going to collect them.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5260 days

#2 posted 04-21-2008 06:54 AM

I guess that’ll be my own fault then. Geez, I sure should learn to read a clock…

Thanks for the compliment and good luck to you as well Karson.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5260 days

#3 posted 04-21-2008 08:40 AM

Well, like Karson says, I may have been close to the ‘cut off’. Regardless, this bookcase will hopefully see the light of day because it is a cool complimentary piece to the desk I designed and built in my continuing studies furniture class in February through March earlier this year.

This piece calls upon a major element in the desk design. The desk is a full cantilever and the main ‘leg’ of that design drove this bookcase concept. My design is more of a cabinet as the shelves are behind drop-down doors and there is an extra compartment on the left side that can be used for whatever I see fit. Oversized coffee table books, games (most likely), rolled up maps (maybe). The ‘base’ of my desk is relatively substantial and I wanted a case that would both look substantial as well as be stout enough to hold my library of hard-bound woodworking books as well as many magazines KT and I have.

Here are few shots from the SketchUp file for the desk. The first one is an end shot looking directly at the support for the top and the main inspiration for the atypical shape of the bookcase.
End shot of the MCAD desk

This image is Front View shot. Note the angle on the outside of the support (roughly 12 degrees) is the same as slope of the front of the bookcase.
Front view of desk

Here is a side shot of the bookcase.
Side view of bookcase

The SU model for the desk was literally the starting point for the bookcase. I imported the component into a new file and went to work. I wanted the case to have drop-front doors for the shelf portion because we have some Barrister style cases and I like those. However, I think glass fronts would dilute the simple shape and being able to see the books would clutter things. Thus, the drop-front door solution. I struggled quite a long time with that aspect of the design. I wanted an almost seamless front but that just isn’t possible (or it’s beyond my ability to grasp) without using clunky euro-style hinges. These hinges will be used on the vertical door but they are not what I wanted for the shelves. So, the drop-front doors will be hinged on the inside with a piano hinge or possibly 3 nice heavy gauge hinges for the sake of strength. If I’m going to have the drop-front in the design, I should be able to set a stack of books on them without their weight overly stressing the case. Function.

The darker tone you see on the front of the carcase is to add some visual interest since I can’t have an almost seamless front. The desk is Mahogany and this case will be as well. I designed the carcase with stopped rabbets to add some strength but the seams still need covered on the front and top. The face frame will be thin veneer that will be dyed several shades lighter than the rest of the piece and the feet will get the same treatment. The contrast in the SU file is actually greater than what I envision for the finished work.

As for the three compartments, the top and shallowest has an an adjustable shelf. We can put smaller books, paperbacks and other odd shaped items in there. The middle compartment is designed with an adjustable shelf as well but it won’t likely get used. The bottom is deep enough to hold those baskets or boxes that often get used like mini filing cabinets. Depending on how the books we choose to store in the case fit, I hope to use that bottom area like a filing cabinet. We shall see.

Here are some other shots I exported from the SU file.

Alternate Front View

Downward View with Transparency

Upward View with Transparency

Detail showing the tight tolerance of the compartment doors. The swing of the door does actually clear the top other door ever so slightly.
Detail of door clearance

I forgot to mention the absence of hardware is intentional. Small finger recesses will be put into the top edges of each of the doors and on the outside edge of the vertical door.

Thanks for taking a look and please offer and critique or feedback you like.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4965 days

#4 posted 04-21-2008 10:19 AM

it should be really cool. I look forward to seeing the finished one

-- making sawdust....

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4988 days

#5 posted 04-21-2008 12:34 PM

Hi Jeff,

This is an interesting design. And I like the absence of hardware.

This will be a nice project to build.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5465 days

#6 posted 04-21-2008 12:51 PM

Hi Jeff,

A very attractive looking design.

I admire your use of SketchUp.

I finally spent some time trying out SketchUp the last couple of days,

but I couldn’t quite finish a drawing in time for the contest.

Good Luck!!!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View FloridaNoCypress's profile


16 posts in 4862 days

#7 posted 04-21-2008 03:01 PM

I should have my wife come to look at some of the contest entries. Yours would be just about the first I would show her. She’s also one to strike some balance between form and function.

-- FloridaNoCypress

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