Because they completely cover the edges of side panels, face frames are ideally suited for plywood bookcase construction. Made from a contrasting wood, they can also provide a decorative detail. Cutting and assembling a face frame demands precision; the joints must be tight and the frame square if it is to fit properly and provide strength. Use the assembled carcase as a reference to measure the rails and stiles. Face frames are either glued in place or attached with biscuit joints as shown below.
Installing the face frame
Apply glue to the slots in the carcase and face frame and along the mating surfaces. Insert the biscuits in the carcase slots, then set the face frame in place (above). Work quickly since the glue will cause the biscuits to expand almost immediately.
Edge treatments are strips of solid wood, veneer, or commercial banding applied to the visible edges of plywood shelves; they conceal the panels’ plies, creating the illusion that the shelving is made of solid wood. Commercial edge banding is available by the roll in a wide variety of wood types, colors, and widths. To install, simply cut off the length you need, set it in place, and heat it with a household iron to melt
the adhesive that bonds it to the edge of the shelf.
Although a little more painstaking to apply, shop-made wood strips offer several advantages over store-bought banding. They are often less costly, and you can finish your shelf edges with any available wood species, cut to whatever thickness you desire. A variety of solid wood edge treatments is shown below.
Fixed shelves bolster the structural integrity of a bookcase, but since they cannot be moved once they are installed, you need to give careful thought to their location. You can mount fixed shelves quite simply by screwing them to cleats that are fastened to the back and side panels. Your bookcase will be stronger and more attractive, however, if the shelves are attached to the side panels using one of the joinery methods shown below.
If you do not intend to add a face frame to your bookcase, remember that some of these joints will conceal the cut made in the side panel for the shelf.
Cutting through dadoes in the side panels is one of the quickest ways to join a fixed shelf to a bookcase... >
Although adjustable shelves do not contribute to the strength of a bookcase, they do give it greater flexibility, allowing you to adapt to changing needs and organize space most efficiently. It is unwise to make a bookcase without providing at least one fixed shelf for structural rigidity.
Adjustable shelves are commonly held in place with wood, plastic, or metal shelf supports (page 43) that fit in holes drilled in the carcase sides. The trick is to make certain that the rows of holes are perfectly aligned. Use a commercial shelf-drilling jig (below) or a shop-made jig (page 46) to bore the
holes. Other options include adjustable shelf standards, which are mounted in grooves in the side panels, or shop-made corner strips (page 48)... >
ooks are not the only items commonly stored in a bookcase. With the commercial accessories shown below, you can easily organize record albums, compact discs, audio tapes, and videocassettes. If you intend your bookcase to house a stereo system, television or
VCR, wire clips and cord-hole plugs can tame the tangle of wires and connectors that accompany them.
Specialty items like runners let you slide shelves in and out of the carcase, providing easy access to the contents, while swivel attachments can be installed
on a sliding shelf or the bookcase top for a television set.
You can even illuminate the inside of your bookcase with a cabinet light or hide and protect the contents behind tinted glass or acrylic doors held closed by magnetic latches.
Despite refinements such as crown and base molding, a face frame and turned feet, the bookcase at right is basically a carcase with shelves. The procedure for building a carcase can he found beginning on page 24. Most of the other details of the bookcase, from the shelves to the feet, are discussed in this chapter. The crown molding is similar to the type installed on the armoire on page 66.
Design a bookcase to suit the items it will store. Standard bookshelves, for example, are at least 8 inches deep and 9 inches apart; allow an additional 3 or 4 inches of depth and height for oversize books. Record albums need 13 inches in both depth and height. Televisions, video recorders, and stereo equipment may require up to 24 inches of depth.
After you have settled on dimensions, decide which ... >
Whether it is a simple plywood structure or a custom-made wall unit crafted from fine hardwood, a bookcase serves two functions at once: It is an efficient storage system, accommodating books and other items that accumulate in most homes, and a fine piece of furniture in its own right, as handsome as the freestanding unit at left.
The basic bookcase illustrated on page 42 can be adapted to store just about anything, from bound volumes to china, crystal, toys, records, compact discs, and videocassettes.
With the addition of some specialized hardware (page 44), a simple bookcase can be transformed into a home entertainment center to house a television and VCR, stereo components and computer gear... >
This section introduces some standard joinery techniques common to the building of virtually any style of cabinet or bookcase. If you are using solid lumber for your project, you will make up the wide panels for the carcase or the panel of a ffame-and-panel assembly by gluing boards together edge-to-edge, as shown below. This technique enables you to save money—wide boards are prohibitively expensive—without sacrificing strength; a glued-up panel is just as strong as a single piece of lumber. If you are working with plywood panels, hardwood banding will hide unsightly edges (page 25).
Of the dozens of joinery options, the through dovetail joint remains the benchmark of craftsmanship. The joint
The plate, or biscuit, joint offers a strong and simple method of connecting carcase ... >
Once you have designed a project and purchased the lumber, you must prepare the stock, jointing and planing it smooth and square, cutting it to the proper dimensions and sanding any surfaces that will be difficult to reach when the work is assembled.
The procedures you follow depend on how the wood was surfaced before you bought it. For rough, unsurfaced lumber, first smooth one face on the jointer, then one edge, producing two adjoining surfaces that are at 90° to each other. Next, plane the other face of the
board to make it parallel to the first. When the stock is square and smooth, you are ready to rip it to width and crosscut it to length.
For S2S lumber, which has already had both faces surfaced, you need only joint one edge across the jointer, then cut to width and length... >
umber defects may reduce a board’s strength or workability or mar its appearance. Or, in the hands of a creative woodworker, some defects may in fact become visual assets, transforming an ordinary piece into a work of art.
Most defects, however, are undiminished trouble. Although some may result from damage to the standing tree or the lumber cut from it, the greatest number of defects are produced by irregular drying of the wood.
The chart below illustrates some of the most common defects and details the way in which most can be corrected; with diligent use of the band saw, even the most seriously cupped boards can be salvaged (page 21).
Tight knots can be cut out or used, as appearance dictates; dead or loose knots must be re...