Bookcase for my Daughter's Room

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Project by dmisita posted 07-28-2016 01:15 AM 1338 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My 7 year-old daughter has been badly in need of a bookcase for her bedroom. Books were literally (get it???) strewn all over her room.

I designed this bookcase as an homage to my friend and teacher Michael Pekovich, the art director of Fine Woodworking magazine. A few weeks back, I completed a class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking in which we built Mike’s design for the Essential Tool Chest. Like many of Mike’s designs it features proud dovetails and square through tenons. He says it is a nod to the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, acceptance of the impermanence of beauty. I will not attempt to parrot Mike’s explanation, but rather I recommend taking a class with him some time.

While building the tool chest carcase, I kept noting how much it reminded me of a bookcase. So, I chose to build a bookcase using the same design elements. Two fixed shelves held in place with through tenons, and proud through dovetails at the top.

The case is built from butternut that I had in my shop. I needed the piece to match her existing furniture, so I used two coats of Minwax Red Chestnut stain which is then coated with 4 coats of shellac. (I’ve attached a picture of what the unstained wood looked like.). The back boards are pine which I shiplapped and beaded by hand with a block plane.

The through tenons and tails were cut on the bandsaw freehand. The pins were cut by hand with a dovetail saw, and the mortises for the through tenons were first drilled out and then chopped out by hand.

I think my daughter liked her new bookcase based upon her note.

5 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 07-28-2016 05:45 AM

My daughter loves to read so bookshelves are a vital fixture in her room. Your bookcase will serve your daughter well.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View observer100's profile


421 posts in 1380 days

#2 posted 07-28-2016 07:57 AM

Nice work … and the note is priceless.

View GrumpyCub's profile


50 posts in 1060 days

#3 posted 07-28-2016 11:35 AM

Very nice. Now you both have something to cherish for years to come.

View BB1's profile


1287 posts in 1118 days

#4 posted 07-28-2016 11:22 PM

Very nice bookshelf…and also very sweet note. Thanks for sharing the project and the “how” of the construction

View pintodeluxe's profile


5860 posts in 3083 days

#5 posted 07-29-2016 07:29 PM

Very nice project. I really like the joinery details.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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