The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Luke, Help me take this mask off…


Planing the sides

Planing the sides


I’ve been calling my last three projects my Arts & Crafts trilogy. The latest, a bookcase, is nearly finished. In fact, I’m at the point relative to Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader is about to take his mask off and show Luke his “real” face. I remember that part pretty vividly because when it finally happened there was a collective “What the hell was that?!?” throughout the theater. I’m hoping that my bookcase doesn’t evoke the same reactions when others see it. I don’t think it will. So with little left to do I went into the garage this afternoon with the hope of getting the top finished and the sides trimmed down. I started with the sides.

First thing I did was lay the case on it’s side atop some bench cookies. Bench cookies work great for stuff like this because the case is too wide to work on the sides using a workbench or sawhorses, the only choice I had was to lay it on the ground, hence the cookies. This morning I had sharpened the Jack plane for todays task. The face frame was hanging over each side less than 1/16″ so it didn’t take long to plane them down to flush. Afterward I ran over each side with a random orbit sander. All in all the operation only took a few minutes. With that finished I turned to making the top.

For the top I used a 16″ wide board that I picked up yesterday. I wanted to use the full width so I simply cleaned up each edge with a smooth plane. I then cross cut it to length using the table saw and cross cut sled. The final dimension gave me a top that would overhang each side and the front 2 1/2″ and the back just 1/2″. I then turned to the router table to ease the top’s edges with a roundover bit. I don’t often use a router table, in fact, I basically have it set up specifically for this type of operation. I did the end grain first on each side and then the edges to help lessen any tearout; fortunately there was very little. Normally, I wouldn’t ease the edges as much as I did for an Arts & Crafts piece, to me the Arts & Crafts style has straight edges and clean lines. But, I felt that the top needed the heavier roundover for this particular project.

To attach the top I turned to my favorite method for attaching a non structural board, pocket hole screws. I feel that the pan head does a great job of holding the top to the carcase yet still allows for movement. I simply drilled some elongated pilot holes into the carcase and the self tapping pocket hole screws did the rest. I used a combination square set at 2 1/2″ to ensure that the top had the proper overhang on the front and sides. Had the top been structural and not decorative I would probably have dadoed in to the carcase, or even use dowels being that the case is taller than 6ft and you will most likely need to be in the NBA to see it when it’s finished. With that operation done I set the case in what is hopefully a safe spot. I did manage to find the boards I will use to make the case back and I would have picked them up had I had the money. Unfortunately it will have to wait until next weekend. I’m estimating that shiplapping the boards and attaching them to the case should take less than an hour. When that’s done I can apply the finish, watch the Death Star explode, and cruise on over to Endor to party with the Ewoks. It should be fun.

I have some action photos that my wife took but WORDPRESS is having some kind of issue with their server so I cannot at the moment post them. I will add them to the blog later. Thanks.


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December 2012
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