SawDustB

Daughter's bookshelf with drawers

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My next project is going to be a bookshelf for my oldest daughter's room. She has nowhere good for the large books she likes to read at bedtime, so this is going in the spot where she has a small toy bin. As part of that, there will be a couple of drawers in the bottom for storing some toys. We didn't want to make it too tall, so we've agreed on the dimensions in my drawing. The plan is to go with maple, I think, with a white painted back. The drawers will be plywood, with solid fronts.

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I'm probably headed to the lumber yard later to pick up the lumber for the carcass and shelves (and a hose for the new dust collector before I get into milling). Let me know if you have any suggestions. I didn't show joinery, but I'm considering trying to dovetail the case together on this one.

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Books are heavy!  Consider checking the sagulator to see if you need to add some reinforcement to those shelves.  Better to plan for it now than regret it later.

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I would go with fixed dadoes for the interior shelves. That will give it a lot of stiffness. I did something similar for a bookshelf for my son, and it has worked out quite well. 

 

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This is a general question about bookshelves.  What is the recommended maximum height to depth ratio without anchoring it? So in this case 52:12.  Or is it best practice to always anchor bookshelves?

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All good suggestions guys. The shelves will likely be fixed at my wife's request, and they're hardwood, not ply. The edge on the front is a good suggestion. I'll see how much I have to mill the stock down. I do plan to anchor with a single large screw at the top. 

So the plan has changed to birch. My daughter was very insistent, and honestly I'll be happy to work with something a little softer than maple. We went to the dealer and brought home 32 board feet to get started.

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1 minute ago, SawDustB said:

All good suggestions guys. The shelves will likely be fixed at my wife's request, and they're hardwood, not ply. The edge on the front is a good suggestion. I'll see how much I have to mill the stock down. I do plan to anchor with a single large screw at the top. 

So the plan has changed to birch. My daughter was very insistent, and honestly I'll be happy to work with something a little softer than maple. We went to the dealer and brought home 32 board feet to get started.

 

I just used some KD yellow birch recently and LOVED every second of it. It didn't seem like it had a grain direction and i could hand plane either direction tearout free. I'll be interested to see how this comes together.

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

I just used some KD yellow birch recently and LOVED every second of it. It didn't seem like it had a grain direction and i could hand plane either direction tearout free. I'll be interested to see how this comes together.

Yes, that's exactly what I've got. I've used it before and it worked easily with both hand and power tools. I may have to go find some with flame figure for the drawer fronts.

1 hour ago, wdwerker said:

If you French cleat hang the bookcase with a cleat the same thickness as your baseboards it keeps the case straight and no holes show. The top can extend back to the wall with the cleat underneath it.  

That's a great suggestion. I'll keep it in mind, thanks!

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This looks like a very cool project. She's going to love it but I bet as she gets older she's going to "treasure" it!

Thanks for sharing - I look forward to more pics of your progress.

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I did joint the rest of the boards for the sides and ran them through the planer. @Chestnut is right, this stuff planes beautifully (by hand and machine). The only trouble I had was that one board has a couple of knots, so the grain was pretty wild around then and I had some ugly tearout. I may see if I can get to gluing up the panels later if I can get them edge jointed.

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On 12/29/2017 at 8:51 AM, MattSC said:

This is a general question about bookshelves.  What is the recommended maximum height to depth ratio without anchoring it? So in this case 52:12.  Or is it best practice to always anchor bookshelves?

I'm in SoCal, we anchor everything ;-)  Even if you don't live where the ground does the Watusi, I anchor almost anything in a child's room that is taller than it is deep.

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I don't have kids and never thought about anchoring furniture to prevent tipping.  Then I recently saw a YouTube video of 2 toddlers trying to climb a dresser with the drawers open. Over it went, one kid got trapped underneath and the other kid managed to lift a corner and free his sibling.  

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I was able to get all the sides to equal thickness s2s. Next up is jointing am edge and gluing them up.

20180108_161851.thumb.jpg.7106e954fd068f1a4c385110e5a898d3.jpgWhile I was at it, I jointed all the 32" pieces and planed it all to 15/16". I'll bring them down the rest of the way after gluing them into panels. I only had two pieces that look like they'll cause me a bit of grief to mill, with some twist.

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Well, I realize it doesn't look a whole lot different, but I straight line ripped everything and cleaned up all edges last night. It's all now planed to 7/8", which is the finished dimension.

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On 1/7/2018 at 3:24 PM, wdwerker said:

I don't have kids and never thought about anchoring furniture to prevent tipping.  Then I recently saw a YouTube video of 2 toddlers trying to climb a dresser with the drawers open. Over it went, one kid got trapped underneath and the other kid managed to lift a corner and free his sibling.  

I saw that, and it was an Ikea dresser. They've been sued several times over that.

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3 hours ago, wdwerker said:

The devil is in the details !  So many people underestimate the effort and time needed to prep stock. But properly done it sure does make the rest of the project run smoother.

So true. Especially without a jointer. I'm planning to try some different joinery on this one, so I'm trying to be careful at this stage. I'm thinking through dovetails for the sides to the top, but I'm not sure on the shelves to the sides. Would dados be strong enough? I'd love to do a sliding dovetail from the back, but I'm not confident on getting it to fit well. I'm not up for any kind of through tenons of anything here, based on the aesthetics my wife wants.

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Even a 1/8 deep dado is quite strong with some glue and a few nails from the outside. Since you are painting the piece a few filled nail holes will never show. If it was stain grade or natural finish it might be a bit different but then plywood drawer fronts would be questionable....

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A spiral carbide upcut bit , a router and a straightedge/saw guide will joint one edge, the saw cut can be on the back edge. 

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