Obligatory First Bookshelf

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Project by Torch02 posted 08-03-2010 03:19 AM 1772 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From the few things I’ve read, it almost seems like a right of passage to build a set of bookshelves as one of, if not the, first project as a woodworker. The cliche wasn’t enough to dissuade me. It didn’t hurt that we had boxes and piles of books strewn across the house, either. I was feeling creative, so I came up with this design – five shelves, angled side profile, and an interesting lattice work to keep books from falling out the back.

Being this was my first attempt at building, let alone designing, a piece of furniture – I ended up keeping things simple. The whole bookcase (four feet wide, about 6 feet tall) was constructed from two 4′ x 8′ sheets of 3/4″ oak plywood. The shelves rest in 3/8″ deep dados on each side. The back lattice work is joined with half-lap joints, assembled separately, and then added to shelf/side assembly.

Although this piece is not something I could sell to anyone, I’m proud of how things turned out and what I learned from it all. I’ve picked up tips on tear-out, on the true width of 3/4″ plywood, on how my collection of clamps is woefully insufficient, etc. My favorite lesson has become my motto in my garage – “It doesn’t help to measure twice, if you only think once.”

-- Torch02

6 comments so far

View GregP's profile


154 posts in 4157 days

#1 posted 08-03-2010 04:06 AM

Looks great, especially for a first project. Keep up the good work!

-- Greg P, Washington State,

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4856 days

#2 posted 08-03-2010 06:08 AM

OK, you got your feet wet, now dive in!
That book shelf came out nice !
The angled profile is cool too.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 4345 days

#3 posted 08-03-2010 01:46 PM

The design is cool. The back is a interesting way, to not use as much material. It will also allow the color of the wall show through. Great job.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

733 posts in 4899 days

#4 posted 08-03-2010 06:11 PM

Great selection for a project. I like the way you incorporated a number of different joints. What’s next?

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Vicki's profile


1184 posts in 4624 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 08:04 PM

Awesome job for a first or a thousanth project.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View WillInTheMill's profile


54 posts in 4457 days

#6 posted 08-04-2010 01:01 AM

Great work!


-- Will, Tampa, FL

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