It’s done. Said with some relief; like a great task has been finally put to bed. The window seat bookcase will soon take up residence in my daughter’s apartment and for the first time in about a year and a half, I can begin to think about what to build next.
This bookcase is not the most difficult project I’ve ever built, but it almost is. And this is not because my daughter asked for a complex design. She would have been happy with something nicely designed and made of plywood; with a painted finish. It was me who designed this bookcase and it includes some design features which were challenging pull off. From the outset, I wanted to accomplish something new. I wanted to test myself. Mission accomplished.
This was my first full-blown furniture project since I began to acquire hand tools. This was very much a hand plane learning project. During construction, I took two plane blade sharpening classes. I bought additional sharpening accessories. I still have a way to go before I get truly sharp chisels and plane blades, but I am getting there.
For this bookcase, almost all of the joinery is wood to wood. I did not want to cut corners with the joinery. I did use screws and nails to attach some non-structural pieces, but dowels were used everywhere else. Funny, dowels used to be frowned upon, but I have seen some high level work completed where dowels were the primary joinery method.
This is my first project using cherry. There is some spectacular grain…
The overall look of the bookcase is rustic. I bought the cherry as needed through my local Woodcraft store (not purchased all at one time). This means that some of the wood is already over a year old and some of it is much newer. Cherry turns darker as it ages which has caused some color variation and a much less formal look to the piece. I am perfectly fine with that.
Also, while putting on the final coats of finish, I noticed a few dents and scratches. This new bookcase is already developing a worn look. It has lived in my workshop for many months now and moving it here and there; bumping into various things in my small work area has led to an even more rustic look.
The final count: 157 parts which needed fabrication in some way. All of the cherry was fed through my planer. All the panels and the lower shelf had to be re-sawn. Some parts are 3/8″ thick, some are 3/4″ and some are 1 1/2″ thick. Even the dowels had to be cut to a special length.
All the cherry was pre-finished with at least three coats of wipe-on satin polyurethane. Many of the parts had to be finished on both sides.
I plan to post some glamour shots of the bookcase at some point in the future, but for now, I am calling this project finished.
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