Todd Hildebrand

Joinery ideas, if you please...

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Hi there - I'm new to this forum, but not at all new to woodworking. I've got a bookshelf on my "honey-do" list and I'm making some progress, but I'm wondering how all of you folks out there in cyber space think I should join the shelves to the "legs". I can't seem to attach a pic, so here's a link. Sorry about the quality - I really need to figure out how to use SketchUp, but for now, the graph paper, ruler and pencil/pen will have to do the trick.

Some clarification on the pic: It's a front view and a side view put right next to each other - in case you were wondering. I'm planning for the shelves, the faceframe, the sides of the bottom cabinet, the Xs on the sides, the back and the apron hanging down from the top to be set back from the "legs" about 1/4". I'm just wondering how I should join the shelves to the legs. I plan to use mortise and tenon wherever I can, but I don't think that will work for the shelves...

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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Any number of ways to get this done and every one of them will do a perfectly good job of holding up a set of books. If you've got a specialized jig such as the Kreg, then you're golden. If you want to spring for specialized hardware such as locking cams, rock on.

To do this with standard hardware and tooling, I'd use screws from the outside faces. Use dowels in the shelves to give some cross grain for the screws to bite into and then use the same dowels to plug the screw holes on the outside. Solid as a rock, perfectly pretty, and doable with a drill and plain drill bits.

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Any number of ways to get this done and every one of them will do a perfectly good job of holding up a set of books. If you've got a specialized jig such as the Kreg, then you're golden. If you want to spring for specialized hardware such as locking cams, rock on.

To do this with standard hardware and tooling, I'd use screws from the outside faces. Use dowels in the shelves to give some cross grain for the screws to bite into and then use the same dowels to plug the screw holes on the outside. Solid as a rock, perfectly pretty, and doable with a drill and plain drill bits.

Hey Rob - Thanks so much for that info! I should have specified. I'm trying to get this done with no metal hardware at all if I can - also trying to avoid any plugs. I really don't want to glue blocks to hold up the shelves, either. Looking for ideas on how to do a wood to wood glue-only joing at the shelf corners... I really like those pieces where I look at them and think to myself - "How the HECK did they join that??"

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You could go with dowels only, but the strength won't be there over the long term. I did a set of low shelves this way a few years back. They've held together OK, but there's a bit more side-to-side racking than I'd like.

IMG_0210.JPG

May I ask why the aversion to metal fasteners? Typically, I'd look to get stuff off the honey-do list as expeditiously as possible, rather than taking it as a chance to show off joinery wow-ness.

But, if it's wood-to-wood only and metal is out of the question, then the finger joint is going to be your weapon of choice. Matthias Wandel has a wildly complex router jig that can cut joints such as this:

multi_joint.jpg

Taken to it's logical end, this'll do a good job joining the end grain of a shelf to the long, face grain of the sides. Good luck.

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This bookshelf won't have "sides" as such. Instead, it's going to have 4 "legs" in the 4 corners - I'm planning on them being 2" by 2". I can only really join in the corners, so I'm not sure how to join a 1" board into a 2" x 2" only on the corners.

Rob - fair question about the aversion to metal fasteners. While this is on the honey-do list, I'm also using it as an excuse to sharpen up some recently unused parts of my brain. This piece is going to have a fairly prominent place in our home, so I'm going for it.

dwacker - I've never done the loose m&t thing, but that may be worth looking into. One of the pieces I'm pulling inspiration from is here: http://www.book-cases-shelves.com/Eiffel-Rack.htm I recently got a steal on a bunch of 4/4 walnut that's BEAUTIFUL, so I'm using that for this piece.

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dwacker - I've never done the loose m&t thing, but that may be worth looking into. One of the pieces I'm pulling inspiration from is here: http://www.book-case...Eiffel-Rack.htm I recently got a steal on a bunch of 4/4 walnut that's BEAUTIFUL, so I'm using that for this piece.

I'd use a shallow stopped sliding dovetail on the inside edge and a loose tenon on the edge between the two uprights.

Don

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Your side view show horizontal members between the legs. Are these rails, or the ends of the shelves? I'd make those rails, dadoed or dovetailed or mortised into the legs, and then attach the shelves into the rails with a dado or sliding dovetail.

If you don't have rails, then I think I'd notch the shelves to fit around the legs, and fit the shelves into dadoes on two sides on the legs. Making one of those dadoes a sliding dovetail would help lock things together.

Or maybe notch the shelves but leave a tenon, and use a drawbore (with a 1/4" dowel) to lock everything together.

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Wow! What a bunch of great advice! Thank you, fine sirs!

A follow up question - how much stronger is a sliding dovetail than a dado? The dado would of course be easier, but I don't really want to compromise, as I hope this piece will be around a LONG time.

Beechwood Chip, if you please, where would the drawbore be? I'm having a hard time picturing that. I love that idea - and if I wanted to get crazy, I could make the dowels out of a contrasting species.

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Well, you can drill through the mortise and tenon and then tap in a dowel to secure the join mechanically, but for extra coolness points, you can drill through the mortise without the tenon, put the tenon in place, mark the center of the hole, and then drill a hole in the tenon that is very slightly offset from the hole in the mortise. Then, you tap in a dowel with a rounded or chamfered end and it pulls ("draws") the tenon into the mortise.

You need to make sure that there's enough tenon and mortise stock around the hole that it doesn't fall apart. That's why, with shelves that are maybe 1" or 3/4" thick, I'd use a 1/4" or smaller dowel.

The end-grain of the dowel will absorb stain and finish differently, so it will look different even if you use the same wood. But go ahead and use a contrasting wood, to show off your mad joinery skillz!

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Hey Beechwood - I'm familiar with what a drawbore is - I'm just not sure where you would implement such a thing in my design. Are you thinking that I would put the drawbore in the rails that you would add between the legs (my original intention was to just run the shelf out there, but I'm thinking I like the rail idea. The rail would eliminate the endgrain sticking out - that would probably look better.

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I dont see an oportunity for a drawbore on the shelves. If you want quick and easy just notch the corner of the shelves. Use a rabbet bit to cut a tenon on each side of the shelf notch. Dado two sides of the leg and slide it together.

Don

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I recently made a sofa table where I wanted to have open shelves connected to the legs (sorry for the poor image quality, I took them quickly with my phone)

sofa-table-2.jpg

What I essentially did was put a breadboad on the end of each shelf and cut a tenon onto the ends of each breadboard, which fit into a mortise on the legs.

sofa-table-1.jpg

I also "half blind" pinned the shelves to the "breadboards" so I didn't have any dowel end grain on the show faces of the breadboards.

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Hey Matthew - We're practically neighbors! a variation of this is exactly what I think I may do. Can you expound upon the "half blind pinned" part of what you said? Do you have dowels going from the shelf into the "breadboard" and then also into the leg itself?

Thanks!

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(sorry for the poor image quality, I took them quickly with my phone)

Only a person with a (what is that, a 50D? 70D?) sitting on said table would be worried about the image quality. :) Two other questions for you, sir. Are the legs on this table around 2"? How far back are your "breadboards" set from the edge of the legs? Something like 1/4"?

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Haha didn't even noctice that you're a stone's throw away :)

I have dowels going through the breadboards into the shelves (and then slightly into the breadboard again but not enough to go all the way through). Here is a picture of the underside. You can see the ends of the dowels if you are lying on the floor.

sofa-table-3.jpg

The breadboards are set back 1/8" from the legs (which are ~1 7/8" square). The only joinery into the leg is the tenon on the end of the breadboard. Here's a picture of those:l_00c53fc0-4582-012f-787a-12313d06253b.jpg

You'll see each rail/breadboard has a goove with 3 deeper mortises (where the dowel will go through and pin the tenons on the shelf) and a tenon on each end.

Only a person with a (what is that, a 50D? 70D?) sitting on said table would be worried about the image quality. :)

The image quality of my iphone compared to my 7D is vast. Unfortunatly, the increased image quality is not enough to overcome my laziness :)

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Yeah, it sounded like you wanted to make this more challenging than it needed to be :)

Also, consider making the top, bottom, and maybe a middle shelf with really strong lock joints(maybe not as crazy as mine, but maybe dovetails). The rest could be simpler dadoes.

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