Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's 42 degrees and I'm back in the wood shop! Bookcase for Jim/discussion and plans

Hi Everyone,

Well, Mother Nature has finally decided to give us a break by letting the weather warm up a bit. It was 42 degrees outside this afternoon, everything is melting, and so it's time to get back to work again. Thank heavens--I was developing wood working withdrawal.

Here's the first posting for this year: a bookcase for my husband. Here's the story behind this:

Jim teaches at a local community college and like all academic folks, he has tons of books, papers, files, assorted electronic stuff, and two orange cats who love to get into everything. I made a large desk last year for my mother in law, which Jim has inherited, that he had a lot of his stuff stacked on. That still left about 4 stacks of books in various spots on the floor. Since disorder makes Jim crazy (he's an engineer-that should tell you something) I volunteered to make him a large bookcase for all of this stuff.

I decided to use one of Ana White's plans from her website at The plans I used are the Kentwood Bookcase plans and you can download a free set of plans at The only change I made was to make mine a foot taller or 6 ft high.

Here are some photos and a lot of complaining:

I began the project yesterday and it was really cold here. That along with arthritic hands and having to wear a big heavy coat in the shop made working on the project really uncomfortable. I was really looking forward to making something in the shop after so many weeks of freezing weather. Ok, I've whined enough.

The project utilizes a Kreg Jig and I had one from several years ago. I made a small cabinet with it and put it away and promptly forgot about it and I was happy I could actually use it for something useful. This really speeds up the project. Here is the jig and I was about to drill a series of holes in one of the sides. I used regular ol' pine boards for this and I followed Ana's plans exactly:

Here is the trim on one end of one of the sides:

And here is a completed side. Unfortunately the plans call for 2x2s which are really crappy wood. The next time I make something that calls for 2x2s I'll just make my own:

Here are some 2x2s that I made myself. Much better quality:

Anyway, if you look at the plans you'll see the steps I took. Here is a photo of the completed bookcase in my living room. It was too cold to assemble it outside:

I planned to add a back to the bookcase out of tongue and groove pine but I went over budget a bit so I settled for some brackets at the corners to stiffen the piece. You can also see the cat inspection being done:

 Here's a better picture:

Here's a closeup:

And here it is full of junk:

As it's too cold for a finish to dry, the rest of the finishing process will have to wait until the temperature outside goes over 55 degrees and that will be just about at the end of the semester. I'll also remove the brackets and add a solid back to the piece at that time.

Ok that's it. If the weather holds for a couple of days, I'll go down and finish that bowl I was making out of red cedar late last year so stay tuned.

Happy New Years and here we go again!