live edge bookcase with stopped sliding tapered dovetails

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Project by AaronK posted 08-10-2018 03:05 PM 2221 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed this to fit a specific spot in my house and look built-in, at least to the casual observer. I wanted the sides to have a nice faceted live edge, but the shelves to be perfectly straight and flat. I find live edge designs work best when the natural lines are contrasted with very straight and angular cut edges… when it’s all live edge, it looks wobbly to me, and just too messy.

It’s eastern white pine, with a fiberboard beadboard decorative back (no structural role), finished with shellac to seal the very sappy pine, followed by a thin poly wipe and buffed with steel wool and wax.

Joinery is stopped tapered sliding dovetails, all cut by hand. Took me about 40 minutes per joint. I used the Paul Sellers method to do this, and fit them by cutting shallow rabbets on the bottom side. Joint lines are not perfect, but I attribute this to the seasonal swelling of the wood – the summer got very humid after I’d cut the joints but before finishing. Anyway, the main thing is the joints create a very stable structure that isn’t going anywhere. The beadboard is held in by a rabbet in the sides, also cut by hand, then screwed.

This pine was a beast to plane smoothly, especially the cambium-y layer – i sharpened way more than usual and still got tons of tearout… I followed up by sanding from 150-320 grits – not what I normally do for hardwoods.

4 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6042 posts in 3987 days

#1 posted 08-10-2018 04:24 PM

Very nice. I have a few of these I want to build like this.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4048 days

#2 posted 08-10-2018 05:03 PM

Very Nice Project & Very Well Done AAron!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View therealSteveN's profile


7261 posts in 1590 days

#3 posted 08-10-2018 08:38 PM

Took a second to get past the front pic, but then I was able to see a massive bookshelf, made with wonderful joinery. Nice job.

Thanks for posting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View KimAccurso's profile


511 posts in 1156 days

#4 posted 08-10-2018 10:34 PM

You are very good with joinery, all your projects. This shelf looks great and I’m sure is sturdy as a rock – I like it a lot

-- Kim - imperfection is the pursuit of perfection

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