Shaker Bookcase in Curly Maple and Cherry

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Blog entry by barringerfurniture posted 11-02-2013 04:45 PM 3480 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everybody. I wanted to share at least some aspects of this current project because there are several problems and techniques I’m dealing with here for the first time and was hoping for some input, other solutions and ideas, etc. A couple of the issues have to do with wood movement and I think I’m happy with how I’ve handled them but would welcome any input. Take a look.

Terrible picture but just to provide some reference, the bookcase is in cherry with a curly maple bracket base with dovetailed corners, curly maple top and top moulding that will have a cove and bead profile. The back will be 3/8” thick shiplapped cherry.

A couple of pics of the dovetailed top in progress and assembled. So here’s one question I would love some input on; the case is 12” deep which is enough to make wood movement an issue. The top moulding will wrap the front and two sides, flush with the top and mitered at corners. I was planning to glue only the front and first couple of inches of the side mouldings and use a sliding spline joint along the side pieces, not glued (except for the first couple of inches). Has anybody here done this or something similar? I thought about using a sliding dovetail keyed into the side of the case. Any opinions whether or not it’s necessary? Potential problems either way?

I’ve never built a dovetailed bracket base before. Here’s a pic of the pieces after bandsaw and routing the top edges with a beading bit.

The little back return piece, dovetails laid out.

So here’s another new one for me. I wanted to miter the top, beaded edge. Originally I was just going to build the dovetailed base and add moulding on top afterwards but I thought this would be cooler. I’ve seen different ways of handling this. I usually see people continue their miter down past the beaded (or otherwise shaped) top edge, leaving a kind of “blank space” before the dovetail layout begins. I personally liked this better. Any thoughts here?

I can’t upload the pics yet but wood movement is also an issue, at least in my mind in regard to attaching this base. My solution was to attach with cleats underneath, only gluing and screwing the front cleat and first couple of inches of the side cleats. The back end of the side cleats are attached with dowels into a slotted hole in the bottom of the case, like you do for a breadboard end. Basically, this whole thing is designed to expand and contract out the back, not causing any tension to the base or pulling apart the mitered top moulding. I’ll post pics as soon as I can so it’s more clear but was interested in how others have dealt with this.

Hope you all enjoy the blog. The entire build with much more pics is on my website blog if anyone is interested.

Thanks for reading!

Okay, back with a few more pics and some progress.

Got the shiplap back made and attached and some rough cleanup done. So, I thought I’d share these. Trying to get this thing finished by Friday (two more days!)

Dovetailed base all cleaned up.

The shiplap back is 5/16” thick with a 1/2” overlay and 1/16” spacing. Brass screws top and bottom with 16-gauge nails at each shelf – center of each board only and not glued. I’ll add more pics as soon as I can.

-- Scott Barringer, Sacramento, CA

3 comments so far

View MikeSpanky's profile


179 posts in 1748 days

#1 posted 08-10-2015 04:28 AM

Wow, can’t believe there’s no comments. Great work here.

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3252 days

#2 posted 08-10-2015 02:52 PM

Scott, what a beautiful piece and so nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View lew's profile


12762 posts in 4140 days

#3 posted 08-10-2015 03:06 PM


It is a shame to have to cover those beautiful carcass dovetails, after putting some much work into them. I think you are on the right track with the wood movement problem.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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