Reply by LesB

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Posted on looking for pointers on my bookshelf design

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2620 posts in 4325 days

#1 posted 01-18-2018 11:01 PM

This projects leaves lots of possibilities.
First question answered. Yes the pocket hole screws would be strong enough but don’t skimp on the number used and adding glue will only help

Mortise and tenons for the main frame would be good practice in developing your skills so I would go for that.
The cross supports can be a lap joint at the center and pocket screws to fasten the ends. Or you can do more M&Ts at an angle.

The top could be fastened with pocket screws; I would put 3 on the front and back frame rails. Also you could make the top out of the 3/4 oak plywood and cover the edge grain with solid pieces of Oak…there are several ways to add this cover and it could be from 1/16” thick to as wide as you want; maybe mitre the corners but butt joints are OK too. Using plywood here would eliminate any concerns about movement and be less expensive than solid wood.

A little further design evaluation: Your current design sort of looks like “warehouse” shelves. The cross braces only add to this image and are not entirely necessary. As mentioned earlier adding a face frame on the front and possibly 1/4” panels dadoed in the frame on the ends would help you change that. I would bevel the front edge of the front supports and the edge of the face frame so they fit together with no joint line (it would be hidden in the corner).
You did not give the height but if it is a book shelf I would assume it is about 36”. If it is taller you might want to design the middle shelf so it is adjustable.

Without knowing about our other pieces I don’t think you have enough Oak at 30 bd ft. Especially if you use solid wood for the tops.
That’s enough to think about for now.

-- Les B, Oregon

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