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post #1 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Bookshelf - advice on assembly

Hello. I'm new to woodworking and wanted to start tackling a little more challenging projects. I came across a bookshelf that I'd like to make for my daughters room here: https://imgur.com/gallery/yTCt12K


I was wondering what the proper way of assembling this bookshelf is. I'll give a list of what I'm looking for specifically.


First, the shelves. The link that I sent was part of a forum I found on reddit. The original maker screwed the shelves in from the back. If I wanted to avoid screws how would I go about installing them? Would dados with glue work? Or should I use dowels and then sandwich the shelves together when I install the walls of the bookshelf?


Second, the creator used the full diagonal piece breaking up the shelves in the process. Is this correct or should the shelves be one piece and the diagonal piece be split into sections? Also, what is the best way to attach said diagonal piece? It seems very difficult to cut a diagonal groove in the back.


Lastly, a more simple question. How do I assemble the walls of the bookshelf to the back and base?


Sorry for all the questions, but I'm trying to learn proper ways of doing things so I can better my ability. Thank you for any help!
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 02:06 PM
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Welcome to the forum! Add your first name to your signature line so we'll know what to call you. Add your location to your profile so it shows in the side panel.

You'll get better results if you upload the photo here rather than posting a link. Very few will click on a link to view a photo and fewer still if the member is new here.

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post #3 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 02:34 PM
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The basics of wood shelves .......

Use dados and glue to secure the shelve in the sides.


Use a rabbet in the vertical sides and 1/4" less wide shelves to accept a 1/4" plywood back panel nailed in or glued. Square it up by using the back panel which should be cut square before assembly. Check for a small gap all around the panel and parallel to the sides. Mark your self locations on the edge of the sides so you will know where you can nail without missing the shelf edge.


You can dado the center, top and bottom shelves and make the others adjustable if you want...? Do not make all the shelves the same vertical spacing. If a book doesn't fit on one shelf, it won't fit on any of the others.


Here is a setup IF you do want identical vertical spacing:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...ing-ras-47095/



It is difficult to make accurate dados on a table saw because the blade cuts from underneath. A radial arm saw or a router and guide is easier to get them spaced accurately. Mark your shelf spacing across both boards at the same time to get them identical!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Use a rabbet in the vertical sides and 1/4" less wide shelves to accept a 1/4" plywood back panel nailed in or glued. Square it up by using the back panel which should be cut square before assembly. Check for a small gap all around the panel and parallel to the sides. Mark your self locations on the edge of the sides so you will know where you can nail without missing the shelf edge.



I think I understand - cut rabbets in the sides and base and fit the plywood into all 3 sides as you would a picture into a picture frame...yes? How would you attach the base to the sides?


More questions!


Attached is one of the images. How do you go about attaching the top pieces - in this case the mountain tops as seen in the image and circled?
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 09:36 PM
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For such a simple thing, fasten it together any way you like, and its OK to mix and match fastening methods. Its kid furniture don't overthink the problem.

Retired engineer-bureaucrat in Oakland, CA. Been working with wood since the 1960's.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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You're right, but I figured I'd use this as a learning opportunity and to practice different techniques

John
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 10:37 PM
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I would do the shelves with a stopped dado. Cut the dado from the back and stop it 1-2" before the front edge. If the dado is, say, 1/4" deep, notch the front of the shelf that deep . This way the sides are continuous and you don't see the dado. I would do the same at the bottom using a rabbet. I think it is a toss up whether you cut the shelves into the vertical or the verticals into the shelves. Doing them the same way, stopped dado's, is going to require angled cuts either way. Have fun. Remember, it is not just kids furniture. It is something she will probably keep forever because her dad made it for her.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-04-2020, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Coll View Post
I would do the shelves with a stopped dado. Cut the dado from the back and stop it 1-2" before the front edge. If the dado is, say, 1/4" deep, notch the front of the shelf that deep . This way the sides are continuous and you don't see the dado. I would do the same at the bottom using a rabbet. I think it is a toss up whether you cut the shelves into the vertical or the verticals into the shelves. Doing them the same way, stopped dado's, is going to require angled cuts either way. Have fun. Remember, it is not just kids furniture. It is something she will probably keep forever because her dad made it for her.

Few things. When you say "notch the front of the shelf that deep" when referring to the 1/4 dado - can you explain a bit further? If I cut dados from the back going forward and leaving that 1-2" lip on the side walls what part of the front would I be notching 1/4" deep so the sides are continuous?



Let's say I cut the shelves into the vertical. Obviously this results in the inner shelves needing to be cut at an angle. Is it possible to angle dado into the vertical or do I simple butt the shelf inner angle against the vertical?


Yes I love making things for her, though I do feel a bit cheap using someone else's design. I may switch it up...

John
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 01:01 AM
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Stopped dados?

For this project which will get painted, that's a whole lot more work unnecessarily. A stopped dado is best for hardwood when the edges will show, not for plywood which can be filled, sanded and painted. JMO.

As for the back on an irregular shape like this project, every piece needs a rabbet that which accept the irregular shaped back, 1/4" in from the inside edge. You can make the case with shelves that are 1/4" less wide than the outer side pieces. It would be best to rabbet a long piece of plywood then cut the various 'mountain peaks" from it with the needed angles and butt, glue and tack them together. Mitering the angles would be more work, and more complicated to bisect the angles accurately.

As far as the angled vertical, you could use a half lap joint. This will be complicated to get the angles correct. I would make some samples with the dado set over at an angle to get it correct. The other method would be to fit separate "spacers" between each shelf and glue them in..... my preferred method on this project.... less complicated and much easier to make.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
The other method would be to fit separate "spacers" between each shelf and glue them in..... my preferred method on this project.... less complicated and much easier to make.
Could you explain a bit further?

My plan so far is to simply make rabbets for all 3 shelves, rabbet the sides to fit in the back, and add the 3d mountain peaks with simple glue and then tack. As far as creating a dado for the vertical pieces - not sure how well I'd be able to do that. Would require me to run the dado down the back at an angle. Is that possible on a table saw? I'd imagine glue and dowels would keep the vertical pieces attached to the back wall yes?

John
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post #11 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 01:02 PM
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dados VS rabbets ..... defined

Your shelves would be dado'd into the sides. The back panel would fit in a rabbet all around the back. So, the sides get dados for the shelves and rabbets for the back. If you are using different terms than I am, then confusion will result. Hopefully now we are singing from the same page ......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Got it. The thing that is tripping me up is assembling the verticle piece. As I said before it seems difficult to cut a dado on an angle. The only thing I can think of would be using dowels to attach the vertical separator pieces to the back wall and call it a day.

John
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 04:39 PM
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You shouldn't need to attach any shelves to the back wall.

All of the shelves should be sturdy enough without it.

The back wall should be fastened around the perimeter to hold the structure square but not fastened to the shelves themselves. It can be something light and thin like hardboard or Luan.
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post #14 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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I do get that part. I was more referring to the vertical piece down the center

John
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 05:13 PM
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The diagonal is not "vertical" .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jchester404 View Post
Got it. The thing that is tripping me up is assembling the verticle piece. As I said before it seems difficult to cut a dado on an angle. The only thing I can think of would be using dowels to attach the vertical separator pieces to the back wall and call it a day.

Another case of the terms being used. A diagonal is simply a piece that runs at an angle other than vertical, unlike the sides. As I suggested above making angled dados is very tricky and would require some experimentation ... so, I recommended separate pieces in between the shelves. They would be easier to fit accurately and would still off some strength.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #16 of 16 Old 04-05-2020, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ah yes - I meant to say the diagonal pieces. Trying to cut angled dados may seem a little excessive and difficult. I can't see why a few dowels and some glue wouldn't work.

John
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