Challenge04 entry...Shoji screen inspired Book Case...better get this in now!

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Blog entry by Ryan Shervill posted 04-17-2008 08:39 PM 7392 reads 5 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello all. Being as our second child is due on Sunday, and my wife is feeling that she may be early, I figured I’d better get this in ASAP :)

I am new to Sketchup, and far from a “SU guru”, but I hope I managed to do at least a passable job on this…forgive me for any errors.

This bookshelf is inspired by Japanese Shogi Screens. Built to be very open and “airy”, the design allows it to be used both in the center of the room as a divider (Like a Shoji Screen) or in a traditional location against a wall. Built in my preferred style, it looks complex to build, but in reality it is an intermediate project. The frame is a combination of 1” maple (legs) and 3/4” cherry, and the (optional) doors are simple 1/4” maple ply set in stopped dados in 3/4” cherry frames and inlayed with 1/8” cherry stock to form the “grass” (Although veneer would work just as well), and have decorative square maple pegs. The inlay in the plywood panels and walnut “tree” in the top are simple router-inlays and are scaled to use one of the 1/8” router inlay kits available at woodworking stores. I’ve also considered replacing the 1/4” ply in the panels with actual Japanese paper, as a real screen would be made of. If I went that route the only change would be that the rails only would recieve a dado, and the top and bottoms of the paper would be wrapped around 1/4” wooden cauls that would fit into the dados.

All four doors are “hinged” with pieces of brass rod sunk into the tops and bottoms of the outside portions of the “H”, and either/both sets of doors can opened, or even be eliminated all together if a more open look is desired.

The joinery is a little unique in that it uses the end of a half lap to form a tennon that passes through the leg mortises, but this step can be eliminated all together for those who want a simpler build. The M/T can be replaced by a biscuit joint, dowels, or (gasp!) screws with contrasting cherry tapered plugs.

The shelves add to the open feeling, and are just simple half-lapped maple grids sunk into 3/4” cherry stock. The center groove in the shelves are just accents cut with a 1/8” saw kerf, and the inlay strip in the front is just a 1/4X 3/8” maple strip set into a dado cut with the tablesaw.

Thanks for looking!

Ryan Shervill



-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

22 comments so far

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1142 posts in 5489 days

#1 posted 04-17-2008 09:20 PM

I like it :)

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View gbear's profile


545 posts in 5597 days

#2 posted 04-17-2008 10:46 PM

Nice job…I really gotta learn how to use SU, so far it’s way over my head.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5486 days

#3 posted 04-17-2008 11:04 PM

Very nice!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5319 days

#4 posted 04-18-2008 02:25 AM


As usual you have crafted an original and very unique piece. I really like the design and the details.

Thanks for the post and good luck in the contest.

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

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5460 days

#5 posted 04-18-2008 04:06 AM

WOW! That will make a very special cabinet. you might not think you know Sketch Up, but I can’t wait to see what you can do when you think you do understand it.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 5304 days

#6 posted 04-18-2008 05:11 AM


This is great. I want to build this!

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 5315 days

#7 posted 04-18-2008 05:22 AM

Visually stunning, lots of right angles going on there to make it look complex, and gentle curves of the reeds against the light background softens everything.

-- Thuan

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 5239 days

#8 posted 04-18-2008 05:48 AM

I vote you winner. Great piece!!

-- Tyler, Illinois

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5658 days

#9 posted 04-18-2008 02:27 PM

this is SWEET
absolutely GORGEOUS design.
And I really appreciate how you have described “easy” and “more difficult” ways of creating this book case. It sounds like it is easily adapted to one’s level of ability.

The inlay is stunning and the right “added touch” to this piece of art.
Well done, Ryan

And I hope the delivery of your precious gift is smooth and as easy as it can be :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 5310 days

#10 posted 04-18-2008 02:54 PM

LOL, I’m sure it will be smooth and easy…..for me anyway!
I’m a firm believer in “more than one way to skin a cat”, and there are multiple ways to perfrm the same function. I’d hate to think someone would avoid building this case because they don’t feel comfortable chopping mortises, so I tend to include alternative construction methods so people can work to their skill/comfort level. If screws and plugs work better for the builder? Great. And truth be told, when done it would look just as good as through-mortises.

Thanks everyone for the comments. Though I have to say….Every time I log in here I get a big head. :)

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5378 days

#11 posted 04-18-2008 03:10 PM

we can tell your head is getting big because its starting to come up thru your hair ! lol sorry ryan couldnt help my self ! lol only wish i had your excuse . great entry i love it ! im looking for a project for some really pretty curley maple i been saving and ive got a bunch of sapele to try with it , i also need a bookcase in my office ! hmm …..

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5658 days

#12 posted 04-18-2008 03:29 PM

smooth and easy for you. haha don’t tell that to your lady :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5898 days

#13 posted 04-19-2008 05:44 AM

Ryan. Looks great, and good luck on the new addition to the family.

-- 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 Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 5310 days

#14 posted 04-20-2008 03:13 AM

Hey all. It’s 21:12 here, still no baby…I could have put the entry off another day after all! :)

Some good looking stuff has been posted guys, keep it up!


-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View Jeff's profile


1010 posts in 5591 days

#15 posted 04-22-2008 01:44 AM

As usual, you have blown me away with this design. It’s very elegant yet involved; I love that.

Best of luck with the contest as well as the new arrival!

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

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