SketchUp, Window Seat Bookcase
Comments 7

Window Seat Bookcase: Planning for the Top

This week has been all work. My day job is in the flooring industry and I spent this week in Atlanta at the 2015 flooring market. This event showcases new products and marketing initiatives from all the major flooring manufacturers.

A photo from the Atlanta flooring market.

A photo from the Atlanta flooring market.

I arrived on Sunday, 1/3/15 and returned home on Thursday. The time leading up to the market was devoted to preparation and the time since returning home has been devoted to more work and catching up on some sleep.

This is one of those situations where my day job totally interferers with woodworking. 🙂  But, there is a woodworking silver lining to the 2015 flooring market: I have been thinking a lot about how best to construct the bench top for the window seat bookcase.

The top will be in many ways much easier than previous steps in the construction process. Completing the top will mean fabricating ten parts which is not as many as other sub-assemblies for this bookcase. But there will be some precision joinery to pull off – a significant amount of care will be needed for a fully successful top. Some planning is in order.

An exploded view of the bench top.

An exploded view of the bench top.

Since I can pre-assemble the top in a 3D environment via SketchUp, I took the time to draw all the joinery for this step. SketchUp enables me to ensure that what I envision in my head will actually work. Here are some detailed views of how I see the bench top coming together…

Attaching the arm with a tenon and pegs.

Attaching the arm with a tenon and pegs.

I want to ensure a good connection between the bench arms and the top. The method I have chosen is basically the same as what would be used for the breadboard ends on a table top. The dowels which will peg the arms in place will be inserted from the bottom through a tenon on each end of the bench top.

The bench top to seat back joinery.

The bench top to seat back joinery.

Note the slender piece of wood underneath the bench top – there will be one at the front and back which will enable me to build the top up to about 1 1/8″ thickness. This is a design feature which will keep the top from looking skinny.

The bench top and seat back in place.

The bench top and seat back in place.

The bench top will be just a little over 12 inches wide, so I need to plan for seasonal wood movement. I want the bench top to be fixed at the front of the bookcase which means I need a way for the top to expand and contract at the rear. My plan is to create a slot in the little seat backs and also in two of the legs, effectively creating a cavity for expansion.

How I envision the bench top to appear when completed.

How I envision the bench top to appear when completed.

The little arms and the three small seat backs will form the perimeter for the bench cushion which will be added later.

Now, with all of this worked out, I can confidently purchase lumber and get to work. The bench top will greatly add to the final look of the bookcase and is an exciting step in construction.

* * * * *

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).



      • I don’t think so. With me about to build a DTC I was excited at first. But going all that way & hotels & such seems like a bit much to watch something being built. Maybe next year, I guess. How about you?

      • Not sure, I want to join the guild, but I believe the Schwarz event will cost considerable $$$ to attend.

      • Yeah, that’s the other part. The class is $175, then $300 or so hotel, and then food & gas. Then I have to come home & pay around $150 for my DTC build. This has turned into one expensive tool chest. If the class was hands-on then I wouldn’t hesistate.

        I thought I saw the guild is $50 a year. If so, that’s a steal.

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