Craftsman Bookcase (AW)

Craftsman Bookcase

Knockdown joinery makes this
cabinet easy to build, easy to
assemble and easy to move.

By Randy Johnson

Everyone loves bookcases. This beauty, with its Arts and Crafts overtones,
offers abundant storage and style. We used rift-sawn white oak
and built-up plywood parts to give this case the look of solid wood. The
thick shelves will not sag even under a heavy load of books. Graceful arches,
decorative pegs and hammered-copper hardware enhance the hand-crafted
feel of this grand cabinet.

You may also like…

Sliding Door Bookcase

Dovetailed Bookcase

Stickley Bookcase

Two-Part Bookcase

Bow-Front Bookcase

Mission Bookstand

Cottage Bookcase

Grand Walnut Bookcase

Contemporary Bookcase

Glue filler strips to one side panel. Add a few brad
nails to keep the filler strips from sliding. Locate brad
nails near the inside edge of the fillers so they don’t interfere
when the panels are cut to final size later. The
second side panel goes on top of this assembly.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Beg, borrow or buy two dozen clamps.
Add some backer strips to protect the good side
of your plywood. Then, clamp the whole sandwich
to the plywood I-beams.

First cut. Use a guide board and a
top-bearing bit to make the
first trimming cut.

Second cut. Flip the panel over and trim
the remaining edge with
a bottom-bearing bit. The
bottom-bearing bit will run on
the previously routed surface.

Glue and clamp edge banding to each panel. The
edge banding overhangs the ends and sides a little, and
will be trimmed later. Make sure to use a backer board
to protect the edge banding from the clamps.

Saw and chisel a notch at the top end of
the edge banding on the side panels. A piece of trim will fit in this notch later.

Chisel 1/4-in.-deep mortises
for the decorative pegs.
Glue and hammer the pegs into
place. Trim the pegs flush using a
fine-tooth handsaw.

Drill pocket screw holes
in the cabinet’s bottom, top
and fixed shelf. Pay special
attention to which side you
drill the screw pockets into. A
mistake here is difficult to fix.

Cut the biscuit slots in the
side panel and the cabinet bottom.
By lining up the bottom
and side and clamping them
together, they act as a guide
for the biscuit cutter.

Trace arcs onto the toe and valance
boards. The arcs stop 1-1/2 in. from each end.

Glue and clamp the toe board to the cabinet
bottom. Set the toe board back the thickness
of the edge banding. Use backer strips to protect
your work.

It’s time to assemble. Just add the
biscuits and pocket screws. Do not glue.

Check the cabinet for square by measuring
from corner to corner. The diagonal measurements
should be the same. If you need to, bump the cabinet a
little to make it square, then screw the back in place.

Trace around the cabinet to
mark the location for the trim strips that get glued to the applied top.

Align trim strips with the pencil lines.
Then you can glue and clamp them to the underside of the applied top.

Drill shelf peg holes using a shopmade
drilling guide and a self-centering bit.

Hang the doors with Euro-style
hinges. They make door installation and adjustment a real snap.

Plane tapered fillers for the side cabinets using a
shop-made tapering sled.

Sand horizontal fillers to match the slight angle of the
tapered fillers. Add the outside panel, then glue and clamp.

Trimming the tapered
sides
requires a shimmed guide
board for the first cut. Use this
board on the tapered face of the
panels only. Trim the inside face
with a bottom-bearing bit, as
shown in.

Position the drawer fronts
and temporarily hold them in place
with double-faced tape. A couple
of nickels used as spacers provide
just the right amount of clearance
between the drawer fronts.

Staining and finishing is a breeze
because the knockdown design allows each part to be finished separately.

Attaching the cabinets is as simple
as a two-piece jigsaw puzzle. Line up the
side cabinet with the alignment blocks and
slide them together. The cabinets are then
secured with a couple of screws from inside
the side cabinet.

Attach the anti-tilt chain
between the top of each side cabinet
and a wall stud. For cabinets this tall,
this is essential for safety.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 2001, issue #91.

December 2001, issue #91

Purchase this back issue.