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How to Build a Bookcase

  1. Step 1 Cut Panels

    Cut Panels

    Determine the dimensions of your bookcase. Ours has 6 equally spaced openings of 13-5/16 inches. Using a table saw, rip the two 1 inch x 12 inch x 8 foot laminated pine panels to 11 inches wide for the sides. Cut a 3/8 inch x 3/8 inch rabbet on one long edge to accept cabinet back.

  2. Step 2 Cut Top, Bottom and Shelves


    Using a compound mitre saw, cut the top, bottom and shelves to length. The top and bottom are cut to 36 inches and the interior shelves are 35-1/4 inches to accommodate dados in the sides.

  3. Step 3 Cut Shelf Dados

    Cut Shelf Dados

    To cut the shelf dados, make a router jig from 3/4-inch MDF. Mark the sides at 5 equal spaces — or at positions of your choice. Rout 3/4-inch-wide x 3/8-inch-deep dados in the sides to accept the 5 interior shelves.

  4. Step 4 Shape Base

    Shape Base

    Using a jig saw, cut a scroll design detail in the front panel of the poplar base. We first created a template for the scroll from scrap MDF baseboard then transferred the pattern to the poplar base.

  5. Step 5 Cut Crown and Base

    Cut Crown and Base

    Using a compound mitre saw, cut/mitre the crown moulding to form the top and the baseboard to form the base. These will wrap the 36-inch top and bottom panels respectively.

  6. Step 6 Attach Crown and Base

    Attach Crown and Base

    Glue and pin the crown and base to the top and bottom panels with carpenter's glue and 1-1/4-inch 18-gauge brad nails.

  7. Step 7 Assemble Cabinet Body

    Assemble Cabinet Body

    Glue the 5 interior shelves into their corresponding dados in each side. Attach the top to the carcass with glue and 1-1/2-inch #8 screws. Square up and clamp the carcass to the work surface at this point, until the glue dries.

  8. Step 8 Attach Moulding

    Attach Moulding

    Attach moulding to the front sides and front edge of shelves with 3/4-inch 18-gauge brad nails.

  9. Step 9 Attach Base

    Attach Base

    Attach base to carcass using carpenter's glue and countersunk 1-1/2-inch #8 wood screws.

  10. Step 10 Add Support Blocks

    Add Support Blocks

    Cut support blocks from 1 x 4 pine. Glue and clamp the blocks into the corners of the base.

  11. Step 11 Finishing


    Stain and seal the cabinet before the back is installed. Stain the tongue and groove pine panelling for the back. Then complete the cabinet by attaching the panelling with carpenter's glue and 3/4-inch 18-gauge brad nails. You may have to rip the last strip of panelling to fit.


What You Need for This Project

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