Window Seat Bookcase
Comments 12

Window Seat Bookcase: The Back is Completed

Firstly: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

My planer has been a critical tool during the construction of the window seat bookcase. But this tool has been a source of constant sorrow, because it refuses to work correctly.

Most of the time, my cherry boards won’t feed through the planer as they should. The planer wants to stutter; feeding a board part of the way, then stopping; maybe starting back up. Sometimes I have to take a scrap piece of lumber and push the board through or move to the opposite side and pull it out.

Every component for this bookcase has to be dressed by my planer. To date I have made more than 100 parts. So, you can imagine my state of mind as planer time arrives. I hate to say it, but I sort of dread it.

In an effort to make peace with my planer, I took the time to research a solution for the problem. One potential fix involved waxing the feed surfaces of the planer and cleaning the rollers with mineral spirit. After implementing this recommendation, the planer worked flawlessly. Planer peace, have I found you? We will see.

WORK ON THE BACK CONTINUES
After making the back slats in my last update, I now need to make the center stile for each of the three back panels. Note the highlighted component in the illustrations below…

First step: create the back center stiles.

First step: create the back center stiles.

Each stile needs a tenon on each end and a slot down each side.

Each stile needs a tenon on each end and a slot down each side.

After dressing the rough cherry with my jointer and planer, I had to fabricate slots and tenons as shown above.

Nibbling away the center of the stile to create the slots.

Nibbling away the center of the stile to create the slots.

Forming a tenon.

Forming a tenon.

The skeleton of the back with the center stile completed.

The skeleton of the back with the center stile completed.

FORMING A NOTCH IN THE LEGS; FITTING PANELS
I knew making the back would be a big undertaking. In addition to the slots created in the stiles, I need to make a slot in the aprons and the rear legs to accept the back panels. Take a look at the illustration below…

Note the two slender slots which run down the inner edge of the leg.

Note the two slender slots which run down the inner edge of the leg.

The setup calls for my router and an edge guide along with a 1/4″ straight bit. This is precision work because I don’t want any gaps between the slot and the panels. Also, an error at this point may mean having to form a whole new leg.

I use an additional leg to support the router while cutting.

I use an additional leg to support the router while cutting.

The edge guide attachment for my router enables me to cut away tiny amounts of material at a time. I want these slots to be a little tight so I can fit the panels with my smoothing plane.

Fitting a panel with my hand plane.

Fitting a panel with my hand plane. Note the pile of parts in the background.

I think it is kind of funny that at this point, my workshop is littered with the various parts which make up this bookcase. Note my workbench above and the photo below. Again, this situation is another reason I need a dedicated assembly bench and a separate workbench to use for fabrication.

The right side bookcase disassembled on my router table and table saw.

The right side bookcase disassembled on my router table and table saw.

I begin on the left side and work to the right, putting the bookcase back together. I continue to fit the panels with my smoothing plane and sander as I go. As in past updates on this project – no glue yet.

Left side completed; working on the middle.

Left side completed; working on the middle.

Finally, I can call the back completed. In addition to my planer being vital for this step, my smoothing plane got a lot of good use. Here is what the bookcase looks like now…

The shelves had to be trimmed with the back in place.

The shelves had to be trimmed with the back in place.

This is the best looking back I have ever made.

This is the best looking back I have ever made.

Straight ahead view - note the subtle curve at the base.

Straight ahead view – note the subtle curve at the base.

I’m pretty pleased with it at this point. I should have moved that beer mug seen in the last photo. 🙂

MOVING ON TO THE TOP
Nothing says the end is in sight more than working on the top of a project, and this is true with the bookcase. But, just beyond building the top is adding the seat back which will be full of curves and will likely have me using a spoke shave for the first time. A lot of fun woodworking coming up.

* * * * *

Have a question or comment? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

This entry was posted in: Window Seat Bookcase
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During the week, I sell carpet and rugs for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.

12 Comments

  1. Things are looking good. And the curve on the bottom is subtle enough that when you notice it’s like finding the prize in the cereal box.

    • Craig – thanks for the tip. I looked at the link you provided. I am not sure the planer is fixed because I don’t understand how just cleaning the rollers makes them feed properly. Seems like the rollers were not turning and cleaning fixes that? I’ll keep the link handy. 🙂

    • Thanks Cal. I know, the back will be against a wall. 😦 Normally I would make the back out of plywood for that reason, but this project will be a great portfolio builder and I’ll have plenty of photos of the back.

  2. I love the piece!! I am just getting into building furniture and I love bloggers who show intermediate steps to help us novices!! Thanks!!

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