Bookshelf by Myself

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Project by Thuan posted 02-15-2008 07:34 AM 2429 views 3 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first project I built with my Biscuit joiner, this was five years ago. I had to wait until I moved to take the picture since books filled it. Funny thing is, the Freud joiner was the first dedicated power woodworking tool I bought (drill doesn’t count). I didn’t have a circular saw so I had the people at the big box store rip the plywoods down to 11-1/4” pieces so I can fit in the back of my hatchback. This is biggest size bookshelf I can make from a sheet of4×8’ -3/4” birch and a one 1/4” birch. I dug around enough to find a cool book match piece for the back panel. Stock inside corner molding and 1×2 made up the trims. Unfortunately I think it looks better without books covering up the panel.

-- Thuan

16 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4798 days

#1 posted 02-15-2008 07:40 AM

Looks great to me! Interesting story to go along with it also.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4633 days

#2 posted 02-15-2008 07:50 AM

Excellent work, Thuan, the color of the finish is soft allowing the grain to shine through. water based finish? and the trim accents the shelving nicely. I like the whole look of the shelving. And yes, it does look good without a lot of books.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4876 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 08:56 AM

Great looking book case – the book match look of the back panel really sets it off.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 4606 days

#4 posted 02-15-2008 12:58 PM

Nice job Thuan! Very nice bookshelf. Love that back piece you used!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4632 days

#5 posted 02-15-2008 12:59 PM

This is a really nice looking bookcase. To think that it was made without any power tools makes it all that more remarkable. I agree about the books. Let the inherent beauty of the wood show.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4692 days

#6 posted 02-15-2008 03:04 PM

Very nice piece of furniture! Well done. Good choice of woods, proportions, and finish.
I like it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View KDL's profile


36 posts in 4577 days

#7 posted 02-15-2008 04:49 PM

Nice case. I like the proportions, including the face frame on the center shelf while the rest are recessed. And I’ve always been fond of letting the natural color of the wood show, so I like the finish. I’ve had mixed luck with Big Box store plywood – mostly I can’t find a good sheet, let alone something to book match. Nicely done.

Did you biscuit the face frames, and if so, did you use face frame biscuits or 20’s that you trimmed? I assume the shelves biscuited to the case – did you screw them from the sides and plug, or clamp them?

The case looks like it’s held up to use. Would you use the same construction again?

View Dominic Vanacora's profile

Dominic Vanacora

508 posts in 4680 days

#8 posted 02-15-2008 05:23 PM

I like it. Most book shelfs look great without books but we alway wait until we have so many books the book shelf becomes an necessary piece of furniture.
I also like the size and that you used up all the plywood very little waste.
Keep up the great work.

-- Dominic, Trinity, Florida...Lets be safe out there.

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4628 days

#9 posted 02-15-2008 05:34 PM

Thanks everyone,
Bradford is right, three coats of waterborne poly. I finished it in the living room, so I needed something fast drying and none flamable.

Good eye KDL – Proportion is very important when resources are limited, I made sure the bottom portion is squared, then the top portion is close to the golden ratio, while not wasting wood nor cuts because cutting sheetgood by hand take lots of concentration. I think golden ration should not be an exact science -close enough is good enough. I biscuited the face frame together with # 20 and then trimmed it off. I wanted to use #10 but felt it was too weak. I needed a faceframe that would hold the 3/4” carcass square when I move it upstairs by my self.
The middle shelf is biscuited permanantly in place, the other shelves are adjustable. If I were to build it again, I would dowel the styles and rail, or do half laps joints with contrasting pegs, then biscuit the frame to the carcass.

-- Thuan

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5028 days

#10 posted 02-15-2008 05:35 PM

THis has a nice, clean, well-proportioned look to it. I really like it a lot.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4684 days

#11 posted 02-15-2008 09:04 PM

This is great. It really shows what amazing work you can do with so few tools and space. Great use of “found” book matched veneer on the plywood.

-- Happy woodworking!

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4690 days

#12 posted 02-16-2008 12:14 AM

you are truly an amazing guy thuan , great looking project ! well done

View arcarius's profile


16 posts in 4516 days

#13 posted 04-03-2008 04:54 AM

Looks very good!

-- Young Padiwan Woodworker

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4685 days

#14 posted 04-03-2008 11:05 AM

Very nice. You did a good job on this bookcase.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4483 days

#15 posted 11-14-2009 05:12 PM

Nice looking bookcase.

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