Bookcase for Office

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Project by CharlieM1958 posted 03-31-2008 06:49 PM 1919 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently moved to a bigger office at work, and I had a spot for a small bookcase. Not wanting to strain the university budget (and always looking for an excuse to build something) I decided to make it myself.

There is nothing fancy about this. I built it in one afternoon without any plans or drawings. I post it to remind everyone what I was reminded of: I HATE STAINING. I needed it to somewhat match my other furniture, so I picked out a Minwax red mahogony oil stain that looked pretty close. The problem, of course, is that the bokcase is made of three different wood species. Birch plywood for the carcass, pine for the face frame and molding, and maple for the top. I knew they would all absorb the stain a bit differently, but I had forgotten how maple tends to absorb very little. So I had to go over the top several times, and by then I could see that the grain match was an issue in the glue-up of the top. It looked fine unfinished, but the stain really brought out the differences.

Anyway, not my best work, but good enough for the office. I hope someone will learn from this 1) Don’t stain if you can help it <g> and 2) If you have to stain, use one type of wood and grain match carefully.

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

18 comments so far

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 5054 days

#1 posted 03-31-2008 06:52 PM

Despite the aversion to stain, apparently a nice match to the desk.

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5156 days

#2 posted 03-31-2008 07:29 PM


You did a good job here. It can be challenging to match another piece or furniture because it has been “stained” by time and this is a tough one to color match with a new piece. But with regards to finishing a piece it should take at least as long as the construction. So while it takes a lot of effort, it is well worth it in the end.

You did well.

Thanks for the post.

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

View grovemadman's profile


963 posts in 5106 days

#3 posted 03-31-2008 07:58 PM

Anyway it is a nice bookcase and it does exactly what you made it for. Good Job!

I don’t see anything wrong with it. Progress not perfection… I couldn’t help but notice you have the Campus cutie on the corner of your desk, better not let your wife catch that or you’ll be in the doghouse!

-- "It is the job of the woodworker to hide his mistakes and keep a tight set of lips about them!"--Chuck

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5552 days

#4 posted 03-31-2008 08:03 PM

Ahem….. the campus cutie would be my daughter, who, by the way, chose to go to college in NEW YORK CITY instead of HERE for FREE!!! Now you got me started, Chuck. <g>

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

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5735 days

#5 posted 03-31-2008 08:10 PM

Charlie Great Job. Nice looking bookcase.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MrWoody's profile


343 posts in 5108 days

#6 posted 03-31-2008 08:18 PM

Nice bookcase and you can’t really tell that you hate staining. ;^)

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View sharad's profile


1119 posts in 5139 days

#7 posted 03-31-2008 08:24 PM

You have made a very matching bookcase for your office in a very short time. The reflection of the wall in the top of the bookcase shows the quality of the work.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5322 days

#8 posted 03-31-2008 09:32 PM

Good looking bookcase. I hate staining also. That’s why I don’t do it anymore. I always use water
based dye now.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5552 days

#9 posted 03-31-2008 09:37 PM

Gary, I’ve been saying I’m going to try that. I was looking at a selection of analine dyes in the Lee Valley catalog the other day, and I’ve made up my mind to include some on my next order.

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

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 5108 days

#10 posted 03-31-2008 10:08 PM

Hi Charlie

Your bookcase looks good to me. You did a nice job on it. There is a guy in my church group that has a restitution/finishing business. I am seriously thinking about having him doing some of my finishing on big jobs and painted cabinets.

I didn’t even see your daughters picture. I was busy looking at the trolley cars. We just sold a trade card on Ebay advertising a trolley car manufacture. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View SteveKorz's profile


2140 posts in 5048 days

#11 posted 03-31-2008 10:55 PM

Hey Charlie… This looks good to me! Pretty nice…

I refurbished the desk that I’m typing on now about nine and a half years ago, and I had the same problem. Once I got all the old finish off, I noticed that it was several different types of wood. Not having much money (or knowledge) at the time, I couldn’t afford (or didn’t know about) a lot of special alternatives. So, I bought a big can of Minwax Red Mahogany stain and more or less “painted” on the stain without wiping it off. I still got woodgrain, but it was all one color. (I’m sure your cringing, stay with me.) I found that without wiping the stain off, you couldn’t put poly on it or it would dissolve and run. SOOO… I used an areasol spray poly to seal it (without disturbing the “painted on” stain) and then I used multiple coats of wipe on poly after that. I thought FOR SURE that the fiinish was going to get destroyed and chipped because of the way that I did it (not wiping off the heavily applied stain), but it’s almost ten years old and the project still looks great. It has some minor scrapes and scuffs around the legs, but the finish has held up surprisingly well, AND, I got a really nice, consistant, even stain color over all the woods. Someday if I ever have to redo it again, I’ll do it correctly, but so far it’s worked out good.
(I hope I don’t get put in “Bad Technique Prison” for that).. lol..

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5552 days

#12 posted 03-31-2008 11:00 PM

Actually, Steve, that is kind of what I did on the top. I applied one coat of stain and wiped it off the traditional way. The next day I did another coat with a foam brush and just let it sit for 24 hours. When I came back with wipe-on poly, some stain came off on the rag, but the finish stayed pretty dark.

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

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 5120 days

#13 posted 03-31-2008 11:04 PM

Looks good to me.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 5248 days

#14 posted 03-31-2008 11:16 PM

I don’t know what your talking about it looks good to me. I am talking about the bookcase and not your daughter lol

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 5214 days

#15 posted 03-31-2008 11:19 PM

looks great charlie , and it serves its purpose . well done

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