This is a tutorial for a basic beginner bookshelf. I'll walk you through all the steps to make your very first project.
2 - Bookshelf Sides @ 36" x 10.5"
2 - Top & Bottom Pieces @ 20" x 10.5"
2 - Book Shelves @ 18.5" x 10.25"
1 - Back Panel @ 35" x 20"
Welcome to simply easy DIY.com. In the last video we walked through the steps of making a basic beginners bookshelf. The joinery we used was very simple. Essentially we used what is otherwise known as butt joints. Just two surfaces that come together at a right angle.
Butt joints are easy, however they are not traditionally the strongest joints in woodworking. Often times it is best to use them where they are not solely responsible for the structural integrity of a project. That is, if that project will be subjected to a fair amount of stress.
In the case of our bookshelf we compensated for the structural shortcomings of our joinery by allowing gravity to do what it does best.
Push things down.
By placing the top of our bookshelf on top of the sides we increase the joints shear strength. However, that still doesn't help us with torsion strength which I touched on in the last video. In order to deal with that we added a back panel.
So we just took care of the two main forces that we should always be mindful of in all projects whether they are big, small, simple or complicated. However, with that said there are some things we can do to improve its aesthetic appeal.
So today we are going to take our bookshelf and step it up. All we need to do is add one tool to the list of things we need.
I'll talk about routers in more detail in another video. If you follow any of my video project builds on YouTube you will often see me use a joinery method called a dado and its sister, the rabet.
A dado is a grove cut into the face of a board so the edge of another board can be fit in that grove. A dado will have two side walls. A rabbet is also a grove but will only have one side wall. By using a router to cut rabbets into the bookshelf's side pieces we accomplish a few things.
1. We eliminate the need for pocket hole screws.
Screws can get expensive and the less we have to buy the better.
2. We increase the joints surface contact with its adjoining board.
So we maintain the shear strength of our original butt joint but we also increase our projects overall torsion strength, even before we add the back panel. Speaking of the back panel, lets go ahead and route another rabbet that is one quarter inch deep around the inner back edge of all four sides. Now we can go ahead and add some glue to this rabbet and lay our back panel inside. We just eliminated the need for the brad nails that we used in our original design.
We have just taken our simple and easy bookshelf, improved its strength and visual appeal without adding a lot of complexity. Now instead of having to paint it because we had to cover up the exposed edges of the plywood back panel; we are free to let the natural beauty of the wood grain shine through and we have removed the need for mechanical fasteners.
I hope you have enjoyed this two part series on a basic and now intermediate bookshelf. What improvements would you have made to the original design? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let your knowledge and experience enrich the lives of all of us.
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Until then, Happy DIY'ing.