Sunday, November 13, 2016

Walnut Bookshelf with Ebony Accents

It's been awhile since my last post.  I have been making some furniture, I just need to take time to blog about it.

Our previous home had built-in bookcases around the fireplace. We didn't realize how much we would miss that shelf space when we moved.  We've got piles of books everywhere!

As my skills and means have been progressing,  I set out to make a bookshelf with strong joinery....and no plywood!  I really liked a Robert Lang Craftsman bookcase I saw in Popular Woodworking #170, so rolled with it.  Of course, I customized it to my tastes.

The sobering reality about solid wood furniture is that you'd better have some wide, clear lumber or you're gonna be edge gluing a lot.  I dug into my walnut stash to see what I could come up with. 

I had two walnut boards that seemed perfect, but for ONE little knot.  My solution:  a little ebony butterfly inlay.

Worked well.  Whenever someone looks at the lower right corner of this bookcase, they'll see a happy little butterfly. Bob Ross style.

I laid out and milled all the dados with a router and plywood jig I made. Not much excitement there.

For the mortises, I made the tenons first, so I could mark the mortises with the actual tenon.

Then the mortises were cut with the router (and jig) and cleaned up with hand tools.

You can see Lang's plans called for dados AND through tenons. Looks clean when you get it right....but it's fussy and time consuming.  Here I'm perfecting the dado with an edge plane.  Works fine if you don't have a dado plane.

Dry fit victory.

I went for some wedged tenons next.  Diagonal peaking upward made sense to my eye.  I'm cutting them by hand here....and watching the Husker game.

The wedges were cut from some ebony cutoffs I bought.  Each was test fit, cut to length, and numbered for glue up.  

The great part about these is that the wedges spread your tenon and fill any gaps or loose joinery you might have had.

The frame for the back.  My Domino XL made this gravy. 

The finished was my usual for walnut: dewaxed shellac (sealcoat), satin poly, rubbed out with Howard's feed'n'wax after cured. 

My little bookworm is pretty happy with it.  We still have stacks of books, so I'll be making a another bookcase this year.

Take care ya'll,

Dan Westfall

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