The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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The Sick Woodworker


For almost three weeks I’ve been battling a chest cold that knows how to throw a punch. After a week of decongestants, along with a week of coughing, my lower back decided to go on sick leave so I’ve been limping around like a pirate. To top off my good fortune, I’ve had no chance to do any woodworking since my last project was completed. The only bright spot in these dark times is that I’ve had a chance to do a lot of thinking about the design of my next project: an Arts and Crafts bookcase.
I’ve drawn up several sketches and did some measuring and came up with a case six feet tall, by thirty inches wide by just over a foot deep. I chose those dimensions mainly for the space allocated for the case, and because of the dimensions are somewhat pleasing, at least on grid paper. You can break out all of the Euclidean geometry and golden ratios you want, but if the case doesn’t fit where you want it to then it doesn’t mean squat. I don’t generally make ultra detailed sketches of my projects; I usually just use them as a rough idea of where I’m going with the project. My art skills are rudimentary, and I don’t like using Google Sketch Up because I think it looks terrible, but this one time I wish that I had some way to make a nice three-dimensional drawing of my project. The reason is that I’ve decided to make the face frame and side panels using different thickness boards to give it some contrast, and I would like to see how it looks before I spend the time and money building it.
The contrasting thickness idea is nothing new I’m sure; most Arts and Crafts furniture is built that way, including my last two projects. I’ve just never made a face frame that way. My idea is to have 1″ thick stiles and 3/4″ thick arches top and bottom, same for the side panels. Along with the thick top and corbels, it should give me the desired effect. It has been hard for me to visualize, and my sketches aren’t helping; I may be part Italian, but I didn’t inherit any of Leonardo DaVinci’s mechanical drawing skills. Still, I trust my instincts, and they usually don’t let me down. If I’m feeling up to it tomorrow I’m hoping to pick up the lumber for the case and then getting it prepped. I will probably have to do a little searching for the face frame lumber that I want. Another note: I’ve decided to build the face frame using pocket screws and glue. I know it is somehow a mortal sin but I am doing it anyway. The case itself will still be made with rabbet and dados and should be plenty strong. I don’t see the need to MnT a decorative face frame, call me lazy, or Norm, or whatever. I guarantee you that the case will outlast me. Now I just need to get healthier or I won’t out last the build.

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