Re-run Scott Bookcase
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Re-run Scott Bookcase: Building the Base, Part 2

I am running some old posts from a few years ago about a bookcase I made for a friend of mine (last name Scott). This post originally appeared on my blog on February 7, 2010. Here, I continue to work on the lower cabinet of the bookcase.

First, some snowy photos. Most winters we get a snow or two in Alabama. This is our second of the season and a good snow for us is usually just enough to cover most of the grass and snarl traffic. A photo from the end of our street (photos are clickable for a larger view).

From my office window. The trees look beautiful covered with light snow.

This is what a winter storm looks like in Alabama. Yesterday evening, the weather service posted a winter storm warning for central Alabama. The forecast called for as much as four inches of snow. I am not yet sure what the official accumulation was, but it was a nice little snow, (not hardly what I would call a winter storm).

Over the past couple of days, I have been contemplating exactly how I would glue the sides of the lower bookcase to the long lower shelf and what I am calling the sub-top. I remember Norm Abram gluing multiple pieces of a project together in fairly quick order and I often wondered just how two hands can do all that before the glue starts to set up. While that worked well for Norm, my process is sort of the opposite: slow and easy.

The shelf and sub-top measure 55 3/8” and as I said in my last post, this is the widest piece of furniture I have ever made. My massive bookcase project is just as wide, but it is really two smaller left and right sections joined together. My process is shown below – keep in mind where we left off last time: I had just completed the fabrication of the sides of the lower bookcase.

Here are the two cross pieces which are exactly the same size.

I have the good fortune of having a Woodcraft store within a 10 minute drive from my shop. I have seen Norm use what is called “3D Squares”. I went to Woodcraft to see if they offered these and they did, but their squares were rather small – six inches long. So I grabbed some scrap plywood and made some that are much longer and better suited for my big glue-up.

Here, I have glued the cross pieces to the side resting on my workbench, but the side closest to the ceiling is dry fitted. For me, long boards are more accurately glued by doing one side first and then doing the other side. I will let this dry over night and glue the other side in the morning.

Attaching the back. I cut the width of the MDF back a little wider than the box and then trim it flush with a router. The one-piece back will stiffen up this wide bookcase.

Time to dress it up. Here is the completed box of the lower bookcase. Next is the fun part: adding the moldings and elements that give it style.

The lower bookcase is just a box right now, not much to look at, but tomorrow I will begin applying the MDF pieces that will form the panels for the sides. Due to work related stuff, progress slowed down. I next began to build-up the side panels, add molding to them, and last night, I was able to begin fabrication of the adjustable shelf for the lower bookcase finishing it up this morning. See the photos…

The left panel. I use half inch MDF to make rails and stiles and then add typical stop molding around the inside. Note the molding at the bottom of the panel hasn’t been cut yet.

I use #10 biscuits and glue to add a poplar edge to the plywood shelf. I have found that even with several coats of paint, the various layers of plywood are visible. This solid wood strip will allow for a smooth paint finish. The biscuits help create a strong joint and also help align the two surfaces.

I use four pipe clamps to pull the components of the shelf together. I then use a damp cloth to wipe away the glue that squeezes out.

Next up – I actually worked on the face frame for about two hours this afternoon, but I did not get it finished, so I’ll write about that process in my next post. Then it will be on to the base moldings. To see the other posts in this series, click here.

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During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.

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