A beginner's first piece

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Project by morath posted 05-24-2016 03:30 AM 1898 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I would like to present my first piece—-a bookcase. My wife wanted the largest painted bookcase that would fit between the fireplace and nearby door, so this is what I came up with. 80 1/2 tall, 32 wide, and 12 1/2 deep. Home depot 1 sheet plus one additional shelf of 3/4 pine plywood, 1 sheet of 3/8 bead board, 1 2×4, 1 1×4, pocket screws, no. 6 1” dry wall screws, glue and 18ga 1 1/2 brad for a total cost of 60-65 bucks. Each shelf is 12 inches deep as well as 12 inches tall to hold large reference books on the bottom and “decorative” stuff on the top. The lady was adamant about the wide open shelves.

The shelves are attached to the sides with 4 pocket screws per end. The back of the sides has a 1/2 by 3/8 rabbet that the bead board back fits into and then is screwed down with the no. 6 1” dry wall screws. That rabbet helped greatly in squaring the case and makes the whole unit unbelievably solid—-definitely worth the effort. The edges of the plywood are covered with solid wood 3/4×1 1/2 ripped from a 2×4 and secured with glue and brads. 1×4 for the top and bottom arches. It’s the wife’s job to paint it.

I included a photo of my workshop and workbench. A concrete front porch and a 2×2x2 stand that I threw together from scraps years ago. A hammer and nail set would have worked, but a compressor and brad nailer sure are nice. The old hand me down table saw was used to cut the sides and shelves to depth as well as to produce the rabbet. The circular saw cut everything to length, cut the bead board to size, and was used to rip the plywood in half (to fit in my father’s suv) at home depot since the nearest store doesn’t do cuts. Drill, kreg jig, and clamps for the pocket screws. Jig saw for the arches.

This was a good learning experience and proof that you don’t need a full shop in order to produce decent work.

-- My mom says I'm handsome.

13 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3916 days

#1 posted 05-24-2016 03:55 AM

Lookin’ good….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Sharryn's profile


15 posts in 3207 days

#2 posted 05-24-2016 01:38 PM

You’re off to a great start! Very nice job you did there. Congratulations!

-- -Sharryn

View BurlyBob's profile


9322 posts in 3506 days

#3 posted 05-24-2016 01:41 PM

Way to go. That’s a fine looking cabinet. Now your wife needs to let you expand your tool collection and build on your skills.

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4818 days

#4 posted 05-24-2016 01:44 PM

Outstanding first build.


View ohwoodeye's profile


2687 posts in 4394 days

#5 posted 05-24-2016 02:07 PM

Very nice.
Not sure I agree with the arch at the bottom (open space). I foresee you fishing out a remote or other small items as they get kicked under there.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4107 days

#6 posted 05-24-2016 02:58 PM

This is a nice looking book case.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Richard's profile


1944 posts in 3931 days

#7 posted 05-24-2016 07:23 PM

Nice looking bookshelf .
Your Shop is just about the same as mine except mine is in the Carport Parking area of an Apt. bldg. where the tools have to be taken out to and then back into the Apt. when done. Some Day a Real Shop for both of us.

View morath's profile


34 posts in 3430 days

#8 posted 05-25-2016 01:25 AM

Thanks for all the encouragement guys. The next planned project is a set of kitchen cabinets. I’m seriously thinking of upgrading to one of the job site type table saws to make it easier to process the plywood.

-- My mom says I'm handsome.

View Luddite's profile


251 posts in 2479 days

#9 posted 05-25-2016 01:40 AM

Wow, very nice work indeed! Looking ahead to your future endeavors. Best of luck.

-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View oldrivers's profile


2725 posts in 2807 days

#10 posted 05-25-2016 02:00 AM

Super project and you have excellent marks for building a good bookcase congratulations,

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Dreggy's profile


98 posts in 2845 days

#11 posted 05-25-2016 02:53 AM

Of course you know wood is a very addictive & expensive habit. Starting out so well can only end well. :)

-- No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress, you're still way ahead of everyone who isn't trying.

View sfglass's profile


26 posts in 2045 days

#12 posted 05-26-2016 03:47 AM

That’s a well executed first step in the right direction.

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 2913 days

#13 posted 05-26-2016 06:32 PM

Nicely done! Way better than my first build piece!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

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