bookshelf help

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Forum topic by Devereauxrf posted 12-27-2019 03:11 AM 420 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Devereauxrf's profile


28 posts in 979 days

12-27-2019 03:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joiner dados wood movement

I am looking to build a bookshelf for my son and found a design in an old Woodsmith magazine (No. 123). My question on it is. Will it be strong enough using biscuits to join the shelves to the sides or would a dado be better suited. Also if a dado is used would that pose problems with wood movement. The picture I attached is the rough sketch of the case construction.

Thanks in advance for any help.

3 replies so far

View Rich's profile


6609 posts in 1605 days

#1 posted 12-27-2019 04:51 AM

I have all of the Woodsmith magazines in PDFs, so I’m looking at the issue you’re referring to. To answer your question, yes the biscuits will be strong enough.

Since you have that issue of the magazine with excellent step-by-step instructions and detailed cutlists, go ahead and build that project. It’ll work. The biscuits will give you all the weight-bearing strength you need for the shelves, and the back will make it solid so it won’t rack. It’ll be a bookshelf that your son can pass on to his kids.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


7910 posts in 3424 days

#2 posted 12-27-2019 05:51 AM

I agree with Rich, biscuits will do well. You can add a decorative element and some strength by using a dowel all the way through the side into the shelf. No needed but would add some flair so to speak to the project.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Axis39's profile


438 posts in 612 days

#3 posted 12-27-2019 05:37 PM

Dados will always be stronger. And with grain going the same direction in the boards (I mean wide grain is going the same way as wide grain… But, I know the end grain meets face grain).

But, I would wager biscuits would hold… It’s not the first way I would choose. But, it will help align things nicely.

My first choice, for strength and appearance would be sliding dovetails. My first choice most of the time for general construction would be dados. My third choice might be biscuits for alignment with screws with dowels or plugs to cover. Although, depending on the final customer, pocket holes screws (and possibly plugs) might fall higher in the pecking order.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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