Sliding Bookrack

Sliding Bookrack

Arts & Crafts details
add sophistication
to a simple project

By Seth Keller

I’ve always admired the work of
Greene & Greene, two architects
who designed Arts & Crafts
homes and furnishings in the early 20th century. Their
detailing is exquisite. I love the softened edges, pegged
joinery, square motifs and overall lightness of their work.
When I needed bookends to hold some special volumes, I turned to these gifted artists for inspiration.

This bookrack works on a very simple principle: friction.
The bookends are adjustable, sliding on two rails to hold
any set of books. But when you push the ends up to the
books, they tilt slightly and bind against the rails. They’re
locked in place. When you pull a book out, the ends are
released and free to slide again.

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Begin by sawing the sliding bookends and other curved
pieces. You can cut two at the same time. Hold the pieces
together with double-stick tape.

Click any image to see a larger version.

Rout a stepped profile on the bookends using a rabbeting
bit. To safely begin the cut, pivot the workpiece against a
starting pin. Once started, you can ride on the bit’s bearing.

Cut square holes through the rails using a mortising
machine. Some tear-out on the back is inevitable, even
with a sacrificial board under the rail, but you’ll remove it in
the next step.

Plane the rails to final thickness. Place the torn-out sides facing
up. They’ll come out perfectly smooth.

Glue walnut pegs into the square holes. The heads of the
pegs should be slightly proud of the surface. Round over
their sharp corners with sandpaper after the glue is dry.

Cut slots in the bookends. Their spacing is critical for the
bookends to slide smoothly on the rails. Assemble the
base first; then mark each slot’s position directly from the rails.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2006, Issue #124.

October 2006, Issue #124

Purchase this back issue.