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Project Information

About 3+ years ago, I decided to build a bookcase for my daughter's 10th birthday. At that time, I didn't have a planer and didn't know any better, so after making a little sketch plan, I went to the store (either HD or Lowes) and bought some poplar. As I recall, I paid about $220 for it. Ouch.

So, I started cutting the shelves.

Then, because I didn't know how to do the things I needed to do to complete it, I stuffed the boards between some boxes where they sat for awhile.

After I finished putting the attic in my shop and moved all the boxes upstairs…

... and built an extension table with stop rail for my RAS, bought a bandsaw, a planer, a jointer etc.

...and built a lumber rack and etc.

Three years went by and I decided to make it for my daughter's 13th birthday.

First I had to make the uprights. After crosscutting 1/8" deep dados, 3/4" wide, I made this rough jig to drill holes centered on the dados in preparation for cutting slots.

Here you can see where the dato is centered on the jig so that the hole is centered on the other side.

And this is the result on the center uprights which have dados on both sides.

Then I finished cutting the slots with a handsaw.

Then cleaned up the slots with a rasp,

... and a chisel.

These were the resulting slots in the center uprights.

Then I had to shape the front edge of the center uprights on my tiny little router table. Since the boards are 8 feet long, I needed 16 feet to work in. I made these guides out of plastic food containers mounted on 7' long saw horses. Each guide is mounted on an 18 TPI bolt, which allows me to adjust the height of each guide by 1/36th of an inch. The guides are also flexible and slippery, so they work very well considering that they are made out of trash.

Wow! Look at the time! I'm going to have to post the rest of the build photos another day.



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88 Posts
You've come a long way pilgrim !!

Very innovative on the roller stand.

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3,039 Posts
Thanks 49er! Pilgrim is an apt description.

Maybe I should post the work supports/guides as a project. I have 4 roller stands, but they are hard to adjust to precise height. I wanted something flexible (squishy) so that the height adjustment would be less critical, and at the same time something with easy height adjustment. This is what I came up with. There are 2 sawhorses, 7 feet long, each with 4 supports or guides. I can unscrew the supports, put 'em in a box, and disassemble the sawhorses to get them out of the way until the next time I need them.


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259 Posts
Beautiful, tall and well made book case, like the rounded corners and lots of storage. Great job!

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3,039 Posts
Thanks Fininbo!

I have received very few comments on this project, so I haven't carried through to describe the rest of the build.

The goal was a very shallow bookcase which would maximise the storage capacity while consuming minimum floor space. It's tightly fitted between a window and the corner of the room. The shelves are 7.25" deep. The inner uprights are 5.5" deep and the outer uprights are 4.875" deep. The unit is screwed to the studs via pocket holes in the top side of the upper two shelves (which are above eye level, so the pocket holes are unseen).

From the beginning my conception of this piece had not only rounded corners but a kind of wave in the front edge of the shelves. I simplified the design to speed things up since I would have had to use the router with a template to cut the "wave" and have no prior experience with that procedure.

Here are the shelves prior to radiusing the corners.

Since I had 16 shelf corners to radius, I made this rough jig to round the corners on the bandsaw. The fixed part has a pin sticking up, made from a cut-off screw. The back side of it has a cleat which sits in the bandsaw table's slot. The moving part of the jig has a hole drilled to accept the pivot pin, a short cleat on the top side which registers with the slot already cut in the shelf, and stops on the edges to completely control the position of the shelf.

Then, I sanded by hand to blend the radius of the corner with the bullnose on the leading edge of the shelf.
The shelves on the right have been sanded. The ones on the left are as they were after the bandsaw.



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878 Posts
Love poplar, although I use it for a very different kind of projects. Very nice bookcase, I love how the wood got to, um, season for three years, sounds all too familiar xD