Jefferson Bookcases #4: Large case pin boards and backs

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 08-07-2020 07:24 PM 390 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Large case tail boards (sides) Part 4 of Jefferson Bookcases series Part 5: Winging it with Big Cases »

Today it was time to start making boxes.

First step is to cut the pin boards. I start by transferring the tails to them and marking everything out.

On the front, I should draw the baseline to the second to last line I transferred from the tails.

On the back, I only need to mark the outermost two lines, as those will be part of the mitered corner, and I’ll be sawing the top and back, but not the front.

After cutting the sides of the pins (the ones I marked on the front), I saw out the waste.


Then I saw down at a 45 degree angle, cutting where the side of the pin meets the miter. Do that on both sides, as these cases will have miters front and back.

After that, I turn the board so I can saw the miters.

Then I saw the miters on the tail board and test fit the corner. After I have two corners sawed on the pin board, I rabbet the back edge of the board.

Then I rabbet the two back boards, and cut rabbets so I can shiplap them together. I actually need about 14 inches, and the boards are 7-1/2 or so each, so I’ll trim one of them to fit at this point.

Once everything fits, it’s time to glue up the case and tack in the back boards with two finish nails. Only glue the top and bottom of the back boards so they can move with the changing seasons. The sides of them are just tacked with the nails, closer to the edge than the middle.

Then it’s time to let the glue set while I work on the next case.

Next up, finishing!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

3 comments so far

View Oldtool's profile


3031 posts in 3043 days

#1 posted 08-07-2020 09:30 PM

Coming along nicely Dave, looks pretty good.

If wood movement is something you want to plan for, this article is very good concerning wood moisture content in various parts of the country, and provides an estimate of winter and summer moisture percentages. Then there are several online free calculators that will yield your expected movement based on wood species. The link to the Forrest Service paper is:

The calculator I use is at:

See you next installment …...

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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Dave Polaschek

5871 posts in 1435 days

#2 posted 08-07-2020 09:53 PM

Thanks, Tom. It’s monsoon season here, theoretically. But we haven’t been getting much moisture. I’m just guesstimating wood will expand a little from here and maybe shrink a little for the driest times (i.e. it’s in the middle of its range). Actually looking at a calculator is probably a good idea, though.

But if the two back pieces shrink, no problem. The shiplap will accommodate that. If they expand, I think the worst case is that the back would pop out. I’ve cut a bigger rabbet for the shiplap on the next one, so that should be fine, but the next smaller size will use a single 1×12 for the back board (or rather, a piece of one), so I’ll have to ponder how I attach that. But that’ll be next week.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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Dave Polaschek

5871 posts in 1435 days

#3 posted 08-17-2020 01:19 AM

Got some more thinking on the back boards. I think that’ll be the next blog I do in this series. They were one of the slowest parts of the construction, and if the idea I partly tried today works out, they’ll be a lot quicker to make.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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