Office Bookcase

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Project by lanwater posted 01-08-2014 06:11 AM 2773 views 7 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this bookcase over few weekends during September/October 2013.
This is probably the biggest project I built so far.

I pretty much followed the plans from Woodsmith for this one. The plan was for one bookcase; I doubled it to cover the entire wall.

The biggest problem I encountered was moving the various cabinet out of the garage and back in every weekend. I have not been able to convince my wife to park outside yet.
I did get a lot of help from both kids with moving and finishing:)

I used project grade 3/4” maple plywood from Lowes.
The molding and trims are cherry.

Lots of ash and oak shorts from the scrape bin where used to stiffen the cabinets.

I prefinished all the panel before cutting the grooves and trimmings to size.

I got some challenges with the finish. I got lots of dust settling on the panel during the drying process thus more sanding. Although I used the ceiling filter and I did apply the finish on weekends I did not cut anything .

Screws hidden behind the trims were used to minimize the use of clamps.

Drawers are cherry and maple half blind dovetail on porter cable jig.
I was my first time using the porter cable jig. Took some time to get some practice but still the results are not to my liking.

Sanding: I sanded all to 220 grit, applied Zinsser sanding sealer, sanded lightly with 320 grit.
I followed with 2 coats of brushed Miniwax pecan with light sanding between.

Screw ups: quite a bit on the finish. I got blotching on the cherry trims Despite using shellac sanding sealer. I run out of Miniwax so I finished some of the front trims and the drawer frame with water based poly. Very different beasts… Definitely not as warm as the Miniwax.

I was short in few places while fitting the moldings.

The brass shelf standards are from Rockler.

It was a fun build and it turned out to be really strong.

Side Note:

I am currently building a modular and detachable spraying booth from PVC pipes that I can pack and stow away.

I am also looking into an HVLP sprayer. I am inching towards the Fuji Q4 gold for it’s quieter than the rest; at least that’s what youtube says. Your thought on that will probably be very helpful since I have never sprayed. I got a 3M 7500 series mask with the needed cartridges.

Please don’t hesitate with any advise. Criticism is always welcome.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

27 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4099 days

#1 posted 01-08-2014 10:01 AM

Very nice looking unit that that has a great book capacity.
Finish looks excellent. I often look back and laugh at myself being ever
so critical of the finish when it was going to get filled with books.
I bought a cheapish Earlex HVLP system, have not looked back and
as far as noise goes, it sounds like a quiet shop vac and as It is instant
air it only runs while spraying. That said, I use a RAS over the chop saw
purely for the “nicer” noise. :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View MasterSergeant's profile


1441 posts in 3931 days

#2 posted 01-08-2014 11:13 AM

Congratulations on a great project, you did very well!

-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4047 days

#3 posted 01-08-2014 01:00 PM

Beautiful Build. Very awesome.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3535 days

#4 posted 01-08-2014 01:04 PM

Great looking bookcase! Like everyone, you see every imperfection as they occur, but the end product is a success and a couple of weeks from now you’ll have trouble finding them (if you even remember what they were). As for dovetail jigs, I’ve never found them as easy to use as the advertising leads you to believe—just hang in there and it gets better.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Dave Smith's profile

Dave Smith

22 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 01-08-2014 01:31 PM

That’s a gorgeous piece of furniture, one that you should be very happy with for a long time.

How did you attach it to the wall? French cletes?

-- Thanks! Dave ...

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5125 days

#6 posted 01-08-2014 01:47 PM

Wow, that is nice. Those big projects really take your brain away for a while too.
But now it is done. Enjoy.

I just had my first experience with water based poly. Like you say, not as warm. But boy howdy they are easier to apply and clean up. Dries faster too which keeps the dust at bay.

All in all, well done. Big project.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View plantek's profile


314 posts in 4042 days

#7 posted 01-08-2014 02:12 PM

Beautiful job Lanwater… You have to feel great having that finished.
My shop is like yours. There’s an asterisk attached to it… I have to share it with my wife’s car (non-negotiable)!!!

-- If you want it and it's within reason... It's on it's way!

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3375 days

#8 posted 01-08-2014 02:37 PM

Fabulous! Sized nicely, and you certainly have the books to store in that case.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4818 days

#9 posted 01-08-2014 03:21 PM

Beautiful job my friend.
A cherished addition to any library.
That will be something you are proud of for a long time to come.
Nice work.

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4177 days

#10 posted 01-08-2014 05:29 PM

Jamie: Thanks. I look at the Earlex too but some reviews have mentioned that One need a 3 or 4 stage to better push catalyzed lacquer and latex. The wife is talking about repainting the house interior. Once she start talking, I am sure the pressure will increase:)

MasterSergeant: Thanks!

Roger: Thank you!

HillbillyShooter: I agree. I had several spare pieces for setup /trial and when I thought I got it dialed correctly gaps still appreared on the final pieces. I think I need much more practice. Thanks!

Dave Smith: Thanks! I have 4 L bracket on the top attached to studs in the wall and 2 earthquakes (California) harness as well.

Steve: Thank you! Water based was very quick to dry. Oil based took forever. I am hoping to get a sprayer soon and learn to use it correctly. It’s my late Christmas gift. I requested a book for Christmas so I can take my time and look for the right turbine.

Plantek: Thank you! Mine is non negotiable too. I so wish I bought a ranch instead. They were several small ones in the area for sale at the time.

Handtooler: Thank you!

Woodwrecker: Thank you! I am happy I did it. Now onto a desk for the kids.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Diggerjacks's profile


2330 posts in 4381 days

#11 posted 01-08-2014 05:31 PM

Hello Lanwater


A very nice build Congratulations.

The choice of cherry is very good

Thanks for all the pictures

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4177 days

#12 posted 01-08-2014 06:20 PM

Thanks DiggerJack! I bought the cherry about a year ago. It was on sale and I could not pass out the deal. I thought I will use it one day and I did :)

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View scrollingmom's profile


1212 posts in 3707 days

#13 posted 01-08-2014 09:10 PM

Very nice. You did a wonderful job and should be very proud of yourself. I like that style of bookcases we are also looking at filling one wall in our office with bookshelves.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4177 days

#14 posted 01-08-2014 09:26 PM

Thanks Kelly!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4047 days

#15 posted 01-09-2014 12:20 AM

I’m sorry to say, but, I didn’t pay that much attention to your other pics you added. I do want you to know I really like your “drying” rack there. That’s very spiffy. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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