First Bookshelf

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Project by ten4cmor posted 05-02-2013 05:54 PM 1484 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My most recent project completed in April 2013. Mother-in-law wanted to buy an Ikea style bookshelf and I told her “no way, let me build you one that will last”! So she paid for the wood and I built my first bookshelf. It is made from red oak 3/4” ply (probably should have just used the Sandeply) and poplar (face frame) from Home Depot and 1/4” ply for the back. Bought a shelf pin jig and a v groove router bit to trim and hide the line between the face frame and the shelf carcass (I love this bit). Dadoes were routed with a 3/4” dado bit (I also have a plywood router bit set but the plywood was actually 3/4” thick) in the side walls to receive the top and bottom shelves with glue and finish nails. I would have loved to have used red oak for the face frame and front edge the shelves to add stain but mother-in-law wanted it painted blackt so I kept it simple and painted with some Behr interior house paint I had from a painting project in our home. You can still see the wood grain on the sides of the cabinet and shelves which looks pretty cool.

Lessons Learned- any tips would be helpful!
Need More Clamps!!!
Eliminate tear out from shelf pin holes?
Use another wood for face frame- poplar did not sand smooth (180 grit final sanding).
Make sure the edge guide on my router is secured to router base. Base adjusted while routing and one of the dadoes was not straight (plus it would help if I used 3 screws and not just two to secure the base).
Use a different blade or zero clearance to limit tear out when making cross cuts

-- "Truth is not based on belief but rather belief is the intended response to Truth"

7 comments so far

View Amoc's profile


53 posts in 2527 days

#1 posted 05-02-2013 07:15 PM

Good Job!

As far as your list for tips:
I make a point of going to my local harbor freight once a month whether I need something or not (yea right!) and pick up a 2 clamps.
There tear out for the holes I use a sacrafice board and clamp it to the out side and drill that row of holes.
I cannot stress enough the need for a good cross cut blade. I use a old one if I am going to do a lot of ripping or rough cutting larger sheets of plywood. Then for the exact cuts I use the good combo.

-- Ken from Ft Hood, TX

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2932 days

#2 posted 05-02-2013 07:51 PM

I’ve had good luck in drilling shelf pin holes by making a template out of another piece of scrap, and clamping it to the case. Then you just drill through all the holes in the template. Having the template clamped to your workpiece eliminates tearout, and ensures that they’re all spaced evenly.

F-style bar clamps from HF are the way to go! Really cheap, and they work great.

Edit : Looks like Ken beat me to it! If only I had skipped that work telecon and focused on submitting my post.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View MNBsr's profile


89 posts in 2428 days

#3 posted 05-02-2013 08:10 PM

Great Job!

-- Malcolm, Mobile Alabama

View ten4cmor's profile


33 posts in 2414 days

#4 posted 05-02-2013 08:11 PM

Thanks for the tips guys. I’ll try the sacraficial board next time or try clamping my shelf pin jig to the workpiece, I was just holding it with my hand. I have not considered the harbor freight f style clamps, Ill have to go check them out, I am all about saving some dough.

Ed: Those Telecons will get you everytime.

-- "Truth is not based on belief but rather belief is the intended response to Truth"

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2710 days

#5 posted 05-03-2013 02:29 AM

Looks nice. I bet the MIL loved it.

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 3630 days

#6 posted 05-03-2013 11:41 AM

Very nice, looks great!!

-- Jack, Albuquerque

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2738 days

#7 posted 05-06-2013 01:29 PM

Neat and sleek! Like the black color. Great job for making a well made book case.

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