Jefferson Bookcases #12: Interlude and medium bookcases

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 09-20-2020 05:01 PM 405 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 11: Back boards Part 12 of Jefferson Bookcases series Part 13: First medium case done »

Having finished the three extra-large cases, plus the twelve large cases, it was time for a break. If nothing else, the two block planes and smoothing plane I use to clean up the boxes all needed a sharpening. The smoother has almost a half-dozen divots in the edge of the blade, and was leaving tracks. The last few cases I ended up finishing off with a card scraper.

With the sharpening behind me, and having knocked out another picture frame, plus some other shop maintenance (I need to get a cleat on the north wall of the shop, plus I’ve been sketching a design for a set of drawers to hold hardware I need in the shop), it was time for the next size of cases. These are the medium cases for hardcovers.

According to my notes, these need to hold books 9½ x 6½ inches in size. And there are a few that are ever-so-slightly oversized, so I decided to build the boxes roughly 10×7. They’ll actually be about a quarter inch larger than that, as my 1×8s are 7¼ wide. And I’ll figure out the exact size of the back once I get the first box built, so here’s the preliminary cut list.

Rather than make 12 of these, I’m going to start with eight. And I only have four 1×12s left, so I’ll need to either go buy more or piece them together out of a pair of 1×6s. I’ll figure it out when I get there. It still takes me about a day per box to knock these out (minus interruptions that happen, like taking a day off to plant flowers), so I don’t need to make a decision for a couple more days.

After putting together the first box, I now know I need to cut a ½ inch strip off the edge of a 1×12 to make a properly sized back-board, so the final cut-list is:

2 – 1×8x30¼
2 – 1×8x11½
1 – 1×12 (minus a half) x29⅝

I’m probably going to need to build a total of 12 or 16 of these, but I’ll get the first four built and a few more books unpacked and then decide if I need to make a trip to the lumber yard for more lumber.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

8 comments so far

View duckmilk's profile


4362 posts in 2211 days

#1 posted 09-20-2020 11:37 PM

Trust me Dave, you’ll have to make another lumber run ;-) Good work.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Oldtool's profile


3062 posts in 3077 days

#2 posted 09-21-2020 12:22 AM

Nice looking set of book shelves Dave, great work. They fit that wall space well, almost as if they were designed for that space.
Regarding your taking time off building to sharpen your tools, I’ll pass on to you what I believe to be the best advice I have taken from woodworking sources (can’t remember where though), that being to make a dedicated sharpening station. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or take up a lot of room, just a place where sharpening can be achieved without the need to drag out all the sharpening accessories, and set them up to be used.
I’ve done this and it proved to be as beneficial as claimed in the magazine article or blog, or where ever I saw it. When I’m planing now, it only takes 5 minutes to take the iron out, touch it up to sharp again, and be on my merry way. It has proven to make my work easier & less frustrating due to always having a sharp iron, and I’ve found myself doing this more and more often. Its reduced my efforts, and improved my planed surfaces, made using hand tools more pleasurable, as well as eliminating chip out.
Well, I’ve spouted too long, so happy we woodworking, I’ll be looking for your next installment in this project.

-- "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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6022 posts in 1469 days

#3 posted 09-21-2020 01:53 AM

Yeah, I expect I will, Duck. If nothing else, I’ll be short of backs for the upper hanging cases, and I think I’ll be short on 1×4s for cleats to hang them on. But that’s phase 3.

Thanks, Tom! I plan to set up a dedicated sharpening station, but that’s behind my hardware cabinet and a couple other shop projects. And taking a week and change off to put away stuff from repairing my dining room chairs, giving the shop a good cleaning, and building a picture frame and framing my map was a nice break from building cases. When I started working on this set, I felt ready to go again, so I’ll probably take another break once I get all the medium ones done.

It was also an excuse to throw out the old chip brush I used with the shellac, get a magnetic stirrer for mixing up new jars of shellac, wash off the splatters from the mirror I use when cutting dovetails, and a bunch of smaller shop maintenance tasks.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View EarlS's profile


4015 posts in 3235 days

#4 posted 09-21-2020 11:15 AM

You are a bookcase making machine!!! Looks like you are busier now than when you worked full time.

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

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6022 posts in 1469 days

#5 posted 09-21-2020 11:59 AM

Thanks, Earl. We almost never have a day when we don’t know what to do with ourselves, so we picked good hobbies for retirement, apparently. I had planned to be spending more time reading and making cool little things, but I imagine that’ll come once we get past the initial “whipping the house and yard into shape” push.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View robscastle's profile


7446 posts in 3091 days

#6 posted 09-21-2020 09:17 PM

Very nice job Dave,
Saved by the modest scraper!

At first glance I thought you had a Issy Swan book on the shelf, but its Iggy Pop, another music legend!

But more importantly …....Hey a lava lamp! I haven’t seen one for years
Can you turn it on and take some Action shots please!

I use to waste many hours watching one in operation!

-- Regards Rob

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6022 posts in 1469 days

#7 posted 09-21-2020 09:26 PM

Thanks, Rob! I’ll try to make a note to fire up the lava lamp and get a picture or two. I’ve had it since 1978, and somehow managed not to break it over the years.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6022 posts in 1469 days

#8 posted 09-24-2020 02:02 AM

Can you turn it on and take some Action shots please!

Here you go, Rob:

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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