Arts & Crafts Bookshelf

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Project by RussJohnson posted 02-20-2016 10:11 PM 2186 views 4 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, I bit the bullet and got a domino. I was kicking myself for dropping that kind of money on a hobby, until I realized I cut all 54 mortises in this project in less than 45 minutes.

Tried to go with a Arts & Crafts/Mission theme with this to make it match my other projects. The wood is plain red oak and this finish is watco’s Red Mahogany Danish Oil. I tried to just do the danish oil this time and skip the spray liquor, thinking that this won’t be as high-use as a coffee table and doesn’t need to be as water resistant. I like the natural feel of non-liquored wood, but I can still smell the linseed oil in danish oil even though it’s been curing for over 2 weeks.

I also was a little disappointed with the color this time. It doesn’t show in the pitures, but the redness looks unnatural and pinkish. I may have gone a little overboard and put too many coats on – 4 instead of the 2 I normally do. My thinking was that I wanted to do more to help build up the protective finish in the danish oil because I wasn’t doing a clear finish over it.

Also, if I had to do it again, I would have altered my design to make the glue ups easier. Even doing the gluing in 3 stages, this was a frantic nightmare of swearing and hammering and pliering to remove dominoes in the wrong hole (I had trimmed some down for the shallower mortises in the shelving sides) once the glue was applied.

Comparing this system to the kreg jig I would say that pocket holes are still faster mush because the pocket screws act as clamps for the glue and let you keep working during assembly. The domino beats the kreg jig in that it looks much better (no holes), is much more accurate (when joining different thickness of boards they screws want to make the boards “drift” slightly due to the angle). As for strength i would say that for some thickness and width boards they are about equal, but for thinner boards or thicker boards the domino are much stronger, so the domino is more versatile. The one thing that pocket screws clearly beat dominoes on is attaching tabletops to aprons (though, for solid wood tabletops you don’t want to use either so the wood can expand).

5 comments so far

View Tooch's profile


2018 posts in 3337 days

#1 posted 02-21-2016 12:35 AM

Wow what a nice bookshelf. I also like the choice of literature… Tanks, Guns, and Algebra. 3 things every man should know.

Where did u get the Domino from? I’ve been considering purchasing one… But been on the fence for about 4 months.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View RussJohnson's profile


57 posts in 3283 days

#2 posted 02-21-2016 12:45 AM

Tooch, I got the domino from amazon. I searched craiglist looking for a used one, but couldn’t find one in the St Louis area. It’s great for panel glue ups and decent for replacing traditional hidden mortise and tenons, but I looked through some of your stuff and you look to be a thru-tenon master. I’d recommend it for lazy wood workers like me, but you’re already doing stuff beyond it’s capabilities.

View gsimon's profile


1338 posts in 3574 days

#3 posted 02-21-2016 02:28 PM

I think the bookcase looks awesome and thanks for the great tool review – can’t beat experience

-- Greg Simon

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4327 days

#4 posted 02-21-2016 07:58 PM

This is a very nice piece.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View RussJohnson's profile


57 posts in 3283 days

#5 posted 02-21-2016 08:58 PM

Greg Simon, thanks! I always try to think of what I wished I knew before I start a project and post it. I really like when others do that with their project wright-ups because, lets be honest, I’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes than my own.

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