Arts and Crafts Backless Bookcase

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Blog entry by MTBrian posted 02-10-2011 07:54 AM 3310 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The wife asked me the other day for a bookcase. Normally, she would ask for something quick and simple, but i was really hoping to make it in an arts and crafts style.

I recently bought a ShopFox benchtop mortiser and havent had a reason to use it, and am waiting on a veritas dovetail saw and a set of Narex chisels. This project could really all of these tools, and since i havent done any work before with mortise or tenons, i could work on some new skills. She showed me a picture on her computer of a bookshelf that was Greene and Greene, so i knew i could go a little fancier than pine and paint.

I drew up this model on sketchup, and it met her needs and approval.
So i went and bought some oak. Cut the sides to length and cut the curves on the bottom. I then planed the shelves down to 1/2”.
motise layout in oak large I setup the mortiser and did some test cuts. I had a lot of tear out, probably do to the quality of the chisels that come with the mortiser.

So i decided that the best way to setup these mortises was going to be to lay them out on both sides and score with a chisel to prevent blowout.
Mortise layout in oak I would then cut the mortises from both sides. I don’t think i have ever given this much attention to layout before, but i think my first mortises came out well.
cut mortises in oak
Completed mortises
Next i will cut the mortises in the other side and then the tenons.

4 comments so far

View CaptainSkully's profile


1607 posts in 3828 days

#1 posted 02-10-2011 05:29 PM

Very nice! It’s easy to be critical of your mortises. I’ve found that once it’s assembled and stained nice and dark, the mortises look much better and only you will notice the small flaws. Then after time, you’ll even forget those and just look at the piece as a whole. Thanks for posting.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4014 days

#2 posted 02-10-2011 07:04 PM

Coming along nicely. These are the kind of projects that you learn the hand tool trade. Just a suggestion. Get yourself a regular chisel mallet, either wood or brass. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes, over that rubber mallet. Look forward to the finished product.

View MTBrian's profile


27 posts in 3696 days

#3 posted 02-10-2011 07:07 PM

That is a good suggestion, what oz weight is best? Does it make a difference?

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4014 days

#4 posted 02-10-2011 07:10 PM

Your own preference. Mine is a home made wooden mallet, and I don’t have a clue what it weighs.

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