Cut the side panels of the bookcase to width and length, then set them inside-face up on a work surface. The commercial jig shown above enables you to bore two parallel rows of holes in the side panels at 1-inch intervals and ensures that corresponding holes will be perfectly aligned. Clamp the jig to the edges of one panel; the holes can be any distance from the panel edges, but about 2 inches in would be best for the secretary. Fit an electric drill with a bit the same diameter as the sleeves
and install a stop collar to mark the drilling depth equal to the sleeve length. Starting at either end of one of the jig’s rails, place the appropriate bushing in the first hole of the bushing carrier. (The bushing keeps the bit perfectly square to the workpiece.) Holding the drill and carrier, bore the hole. Drill a series of evenly spaced holes along both rails. Remove the jig and repeat for the other side panel, carefully positioning the jig so that the holes will be aligned with those in the first panel.
A shop-made shelf-drilling jig
The T-shaped jig shown here will enable you to drill a row of evenly spaced holes as accurately as with a commercial jig. Make the jig from 1-by-3 stock, being careful to screw the fence and arm together at a perfect 90° angle.
Mark a line down the middle of the arm and drill holes at 2-inch intervals along it with the same bit you would use for the sleeves. To use the jig, clamp it to the side panel with the fence butted against either end of the panel and the marked centerline 2 inches in from its edge. Fit your drill bit with a stop collar, bore the holes, and reposition the jig for each new row.
1 Gluing up the sides, bottom, and rails
Cut the remaining pieces of the bookcase carcase to size—the bottom, the rails, and the back panel. Next, saw a rabbet along the back edges of the sides and bottom for the back panel. Cut blind tenons at both ends of the back rail (page 59) and drill a matching mortise (page 58) on the inside face of each side panel. With a plate joiner, make slots for biscuits in the front and bottom rails, and mating ones in the sides. Use half-blind dovetails (page 109) to join the sides to the bottom of the bookcase, cutting the pins in the sides and the tails in the bottom. Then spread glue on the contacting surfaces of all the pieces, inserting wood biscuits where appropriate, and fit them together. Protecting the stock with wood pads, install two bar clamps across each side, positioning the clamp jaws on the front and back rails, then install two more clamps across the back and bottom rails. Tighten the clamps evenly (left) until a thin glue bead squeezes out of the joints. Finally, nail the back panel (page 115) in place.
Routing a groove for the top panel
To attach the top panel to the bookcase using wood buttons, as shown in this section, you will need to rout a groove for the buttons along the top of the carcase. Fit your router with a piloted three-wing slotting cutter and set the tool’s cutting depth to locate the groove about /г inch below the top edge of the carcase. Starting near one corner, guide the router along the top edge (right). Move the tool in a clockwise direction, keeping the base plate flat and the bit’s pilot bearing pressed against the stock.
You will need to place a wood button every 6 inches along the top edge of the carcase. Cut several 1-by-lM-inch buttons from a single board; make the thickness of the stock equal to the gap between the bottom of the groove and the top edge of the carcase, less Me inch. Cut a rabbet to fit the groove at each end of the board, then rip the board into 1-inch strips on your band saw and
cut off the buttons about 1% inches from the ends (inset). To make holes in the buttons for installation, use an L-shaped corner jig fashioned from a scrap of %-inch plywood and two pieces of wood. Clamp the jig to your drill press table and steady the buttons with a hold-down made from scrap wood. Drill through the centers on the unrabbeted portions of the buttons (above).
Attaching the top
Cut the bookcase top to size, then shape its ends and edges on a router table (page 118), using a decorative molding bit. Set the top outside-face down on a work surface and position the carcase on top. Fit the rabbeted end of a wood button into the groove in one of the side panels and insert another into the groove in the back rail about 6 inches away. Drill a pilot hole through the hole in the button and into the top, then screw the buttons in place (left), leaving a %- inch gap between the lipped ends of the buttons and the bottom of the groove. Install the remaining buttons, spacing them every 6 inches.
1 Making the molding and attaching the frame
Fixed to the underside of the bookcase top and flush against the carcase, the crown molding consists of three layers (inset). Cut the molding frame pieces to length, mitering both ends of the front piece and the front end of each side piece. Create the built-up molding on the router table as you did the base molding (page 129), using two different ogee bits for the narrow and wider pieces. Cut the molding to length, mitering the pieces as you did the frame. Start by installing the molding frame. For the side pieces, drill an elongated hole through each board near the straight end; to allow for wood movement, spread glue on only the first 2 inches of the top face at the mitered end. Now, set the bookcase top-down on a work surface and position one side piece on the underside of the top. Install a bar clamp to secure the mitered end and drive a wood screw through the elongated hole and into the top to fix the back end (left). Repeat for the other side, then install the front piece spreading glue along its entire length.
Applying the molding
The crown molding is fastened to the bookcase in two steps: The wider strips are attached first, followed by the narrower pieces on top. Spread a thin layer of glue on the bottom face of the wider strips, taking care not to get any glue on the edges since the molding should only be fixed to the molding frame, and not to the carcase. Set the strips on the molding frame, edges flush against the bookcase, making sure that the mitered ends butt together cleanly before clamping the molding in place. Once the adhesive has cured, remove the clamps and repeat the process for the narrower molding strips (right). Cutting wood pads with convex curves matching the concave profile of the molding will not only protect the stock, but also help distribute clamping pressure evenly.