Boat bookcase for Nicky

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Project by AJ1104 posted 08-30-2017 12:56 AM 1503 views 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This spring my wife spotted a boat bookcase at a local store and thought it would make a great project to give to our grandson, Nicky. I was inspired from a fellow LJ rwingnut’s project in 2014.

I used 1/2” birch ply for the back and shelves. The bullnose for the shelves are poplar. I followed rwingnut’s idea for the sides and used 1/4 birch ply relief-cut every inch. Some of the cuts seemed visible so I added a single sheet of 1/8” to the outside before I dyed and finished in poly.

I began by laying out the overall size in sketchup. I cut the dados first and then cut the shape out of the plywood. Next glue in the shelves and brad nailed them from behind. Each of the shelves had to be bevel cut to match the curved shape of the hull. The shelves and the base formed the structure to glue and pin the first layer of ply on the sides. The outer layers of ply were veneer layered on top.

The gunwales are made of sapele that were glued 3/16” strips and formed to match the shape. I felt the sapele gave it a genuine nautical look.

I made a template from the hull on plywood and made a bending jig. (I learned that from inlay cutting boards) I had a problem with the gunwale angles. They ended up a bit shallow in width so I needed to add two layers after the inital glue-up to make them look the way I had envisioned it. The gunwales were screwed and plugged.

I did not dye the sapele, just several coats of wipe on poly.

I always want to thank all of LJ’s for the inspiration for so many of the projects I build. This is an amazing site filled with amazing artists and craftsman.

All and all it was a very rewarding project as you can see, my reward is the picture of him and his boat which is now filled with books to read! I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer! AJ

-- AJ

10 comments so far

View BurlyBob's profile


8831 posts in 3340 days

#1 posted 08-30-2017 03:40 AM

That’s really fantastic!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4650 days

#2 posted 08-30-2017 05:07 AM

Nice work brother.
That boat-bookcase came out great!

View cmmyakman's profile


342 posts in 3731 days

#3 posted 08-30-2017 01:08 PM

Very impressive build! You did an outstanding job!

-- You can't fail if you don't give up.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3941 days

#4 posted 08-30-2017 03:13 PM

I love these boat bookcases and this is a very nice one.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5172 days

#5 posted 08-30-2017 03:27 PM

Awesome work. A heirloom piece.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View AJ1104's profile


1298 posts in 2734 days

#6 posted 08-30-2017 03:28 PM

Thank you very much for the comments! It was a lot of fun to build. I saved the templates for another when the time comes.

-- AJ

View ralbuck's profile


6743 posts in 3341 days

#7 posted 08-30-2017 04:23 PM

Very well designed and executed too.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View gargey's profile


1013 posts in 1850 days

#8 posted 08-30-2017 06:33 PM

Nice job

View oldnovice's profile


7702 posts in 4442 days

#9 posted 08-30-2017 06:35 PM

Outstanding project with some one special in mind.
The results show that you didn’t take any shortcuts!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View magoo101's profile


9 posts in 2733 days

#10 posted 02-10-2020 02:52 AM

Very nice bookcase. Your clamp up reminds me of what I went through gluing up the sides of mine! Just when you think you have too many clamps and need to stop buying them a project like this comes along.

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