Trifecta - Ebonized Walnut Book Shelf

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Project by EarlS posted 12-02-2018 02:21 PM 1089 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Previously, I built an ebonized walnut desk and chair for my youngest daughter. She wanted a book shelf to complete the set. After looking at endless pictures we finally found a picture of a simple, modern shelf that would fit with the Charles Rennie Mackintosh style of the desk and chair.

The shelf base is 48” long, 10” wide, and 4” tall. The shelves are 6/4, 32” long and 10” wide (3/4” piece laminated together). Alternating shelves are offset by 8”. Vertical spacing is 12”.

The vertical supports are 8/4 (solid), 70” tall. The back set of vertical supports are 24” apart and the front one is centered on the base.

I used Lipton tea and iron acetate (vinegar and steel wool) to ebonize the walnut. It took several coats.

After a coat of sanding sealer, a couple coats of polyurethane were sprayed on. Everything was sanded with 800 grit paper between coats and 2000 grit light sanding after the final coat, then waxed and a light buff with 0000 steel wool followed by a final rub down.

Initially, I planned to use unglued loose tenons to attach the shelves to the vertical supports and knockdown bolts to hold the vertical supports to the base and top shelf. There was enough bow in the vertical supports that I had to revise my plans and glue the loose tenons into the vertical supports.

Rather than drag everything out to the shop I “borrowed” the office for the glue-up. I had to take the levelers off since they made the shelf very wobbly.

One thing I probably should have done was make a 4/4, 14” x 50” board to put under the base to provide better stability. The shelf is a bit tippy due to the high center of gravity and narrow footprint. The carpet doesn’t help either. I’ll keep an eye on it and see if it needs to be added.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

11 comments so far

View Lazyman's profile


7436 posts in 2549 days

#1 posted 12-02-2018 02:42 PM

Nicely done. That will nicely compliment to that beautiful desk.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8610 posts in 1874 days

#2 posted 12-02-2018 02:54 PM

beautiful shelf I like your assembly area and I see you had a helper in first pic GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View EarlS's profile


4627 posts in 3510 days

#3 posted 12-02-2018 02:57 PM

Tony – Charlie is the “Senior” shop helper. He was inspecting my work to make sure it met his specifications. Linus (the “junior” shop helper) was taking a nap. All the work I was doing wore him out.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7962 posts in 1744 days

#4 posted 12-02-2018 03:44 PM

Sharp-lookin’ shelf, Earl. You do nice work! No wonder your helper needed a nap!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View TungOil's profile


1384 posts in 1657 days

#5 posted 12-02-2018 04:31 PM

Look good Earl. If it’s tippy you could consider fastening it to the wall.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View oldrivers's profile


2639 posts in 2728 days

#6 posted 12-02-2018 07:38 PM

Very nice design and workmanship. I like the sequence you used in the finishing process. You should have a super finish as the result. Congratulations on a job so well done.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View jeffswildwood's profile


4927 posts in 3139 days

#7 posted 12-03-2018 01:01 PM

Earl you did a great job on this shelf. Very unique design!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View CampD's profile


1832 posts in 4648 days

#8 posted 12-03-2018 02:21 PM

Another Great Piece, well done!

-- Doug...

View duckmilk's profile


4638 posts in 2486 days

#9 posted 12-03-2018 11:44 PM

Really nice ebonizing results Earl. I hope it doesn’t tip on you or your daughter, it looks great as is.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View JimYoung's profile


416 posts in 2749 days

#10 posted 12-04-2018 01:36 AM

Very nice.

It looks like you have leveling feet in the base, why not take off the feet so the threaded bolt gets closer to the hard subfloor below the carpet. Like a carpet protector. This may make it more stable.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View mcoyfrog's profile


4757 posts in 4756 days

#11 posted 12-04-2018 03:05 PM

Great project and awesome design

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

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