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Project by Phlogis posted 02-06-2013 12:16 AM 1596 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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So, this was my very first woodworking project ever. And let me say I went in not knowing just how much I was getting into. It was definitely a good thing I had an experienced friend with me to guid me gentl along throughout my rather gutsy endeavor.

I started out absolutely disgusted with the many “Walmart” MDF crap bookcases they charge you a hundred dollars for and go together with dowels and fall apart within a year if you actually decide to use the bookcase to store books. So my research started with how to find the right strong lumber. It eventually led me to red oak and an actual hardwood store (apparently I’ve noticed VERY hard to find!). So I delve into the world of discovering the world of woodworking and how much I just did NOT know! It all started with 4/4. I had no idea that all this wood had different surfacing and sizing. So I learned of S2S, S4S, S2S1E and 3/4, 4/4, 5/4 and so on. Anyways this all eventually led me to the conclusion of using 5/4 red oak because I thought 4/4 just wasn’t going to cut it!! HA! You could tell I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

On this journey it led me to a woodworkers bread and butter… Joinery. Ohhhh, so I was tired of silly dowels and their inability to do ANYTHING. So I wanted to find the strongest joint out there. The internet can be a very good place…. And so I found the love of my life, the beautiful and attractive dovetail. Never did I know how she can spurn you so.

So being the OCD man that I am, I don’t want free plans online, I don’t want to buy a book of bookcase plans. I’ll just make it up in my head and jot it down. So that’s what I did. And damn we successfully output my dream. But it was one long road. The first issue was finding a table saw that was able to successfully cut though the damn thick wood. We eventually used one at a private university’s theater tech department that my brother goes to. Then it was making the THROUGH dovetail slots in the uprights. Then routing the four sides of the shelves for the tails, very difficult to get right considering we used dovetails that were the whole width. We ended up staining the outer surfaces first for ease and then putting glue in the non-stained dovetail area before sliding together. The back was 1/4 red oak plywood that was inset in the back where we routed grooves on the back side and made the shelves all 1/4” short. Putting the shelves into the uprights was damn difficult too.

We did get it eventually and it paid off! It is the heaviest, sturdiest, best bookcase I have and I LOVE it! OH, and the surprise? Didn’t use a single nail ;)

I’m off to do a desk now. This stuff is fun!

-- Newbie

6 comments so far

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2796 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 12:43 AM

nice bookcase,thats a great first project.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Retsof's profile


134 posts in 2841 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 05:35 AM

Nice bookcase. It looks like it will last a few hundred years.

-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 02:38 PM

Very nice, great job!! Welcome to LJ’s.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2781 days

#4 posted 02-06-2013 10:20 PM

Looks pretty good for a first project, beautiful wood combo, simple design but well made and useful.


View ugoboy's profile


120 posts in 3639 days

#5 posted 02-10-2013 01:18 PM

Nice job! You’ll remember this project for a very long time.

-- ~ Guy Woodward, Pflugerville Texas

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3472 days

#6 posted 02-10-2013 01:42 PM

Nice clean bookcase. Welcome to Lumberjocks.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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