Process Improvement, Window Seat Bookcase
Comments 2

Window Seat Bookcase: Making the Back Slats

Mistakes happen with every project I build. During the more than 30 years I have been a woodworker, I have made a lot of things, which means I have made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes these errors are very minor and some are so bad that a board becomes useless. Errors are part of what makes successful woodworking challenging. I learn from mistakes which is good, but I hate making them. 🙂

Fortunately, I have had very few problems with the bookcase I am building, and the mistakes so far have been minor ones.

Then there was this past Wednesday night. After finding thirty minutes of shop time here and there at the beginning of the week, Wednesday night was my first big block of woodworking time in a while, and it was Wednesday night that the biggest mistake of this project came to be.

Resawing gone bad, note the saw marks in the middle of the board.

Resawing gone bad, note the saw marks in the middle of the board.

Resawing is the process for splitting one board into two or more boards. The photo above shows that I am not a pro at resawing my one inch thick cherry boards into two 3/8″ thick back slats.  See woodworking pro Michael Fortune doing it here.

But, I need to back up a bit here. I am now working on slats for the back of the bookcase. I will use a frame and panel setup and the panel will be composed of 3/8″ thick slats.

To make the slats, I closely followed the same process shown in this earlier blog post. After buying a cherry plank, I cut it to rough size. I then jointed one edge and one face flat. I split the smaller boards in two and then ran them through my thickness planer bringing them down to the required 3/8″ thickness.

The saw marks visible in the photo above mean I need a better setup for resawing. I sorted the good slats from the bad, then I had to come up with a plan which would make the most use of the bad slats.

The new design for the back.

The new design for the back.

The back is broken up into three sections. The previous design consisted of simple tongue and groove slats which would fit into slots in the legs and aprons. The new design shown above enables me to cut away some of the nasty saw marks on the bad boards and maximize what I have to work with. The smaller left and right sections get one stile to serve as a divider and the larger middle section will get two stiles and five slats.

I feel like this project is a bunch of frame and panel sub-assemblies, which it really is. Here is where I am leaving off today with the slats mostly completed…

Back slats sitting on top of the bookcase.

Back slats sitting on top of the bookcase.

The slats have not yet been sanded; still a little rough.

The slats have not yet been sanded; still a little rough.

So, the issues with resawing meant that from the original 10 slats, five had bad saw marks. The new design meant that I saved three of the bad slats, but I needed to make five more. Sounds a little complicated.

Next up: fabricating the center stiles; I’ll need four of them. Then I need to form slots in which the slats and stiles can fit into.

I have a lot of vacation time coming up in which to do woodworking, but since this is Christmas week, I am not sure how much woodworking I’ll be able to do. We have a big family and there will be a lot of Christmas festivities to attend.

I hope everyone reading this has an EXCELLENT HOLIDAY SEASON!!!


  1. Kevin Umphrey says

    I love this design and have been looking for sometime for something similar. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s