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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, so I am new to woodworking and I am dealing with the "wife factor"... I can't spend a bunch of money on tools I don't already own. Just not financially feasible right now.

I don't own a table saw or router, plainer or joiner. I do have pretty much every other hand tool and most common power tools available.

I am making a book shelf with adjustable shelves utilizing the shelving pins that are 1/4". I have already cut all my pieces to size, drilled all the holes and I am at a loss as what type of joining I should do next.

I don't want a bunch of visible nail holes/screw holes. I want it to look professional. I will be casing the front out with 1x2's more than likely to cover any nail holes/screws.

This is my first "done right" piece of furniture. Most of all the other stuff I have made gets painted and I can hide with wood filler.

I utilized 3/4" FIR plywood as oak was not available.

I know many frown on biscuit joints/dowel joints and pocket screwing... So with that in mind and with what tools I have, how would I accomplish a professional looking cabinet?

The bottom picture is more realistic of what the cabinet will look like when done. The top was just for giving me dimensions so I knew what to get for my cut sheet.

I was thinking of pocket screwing the top shelf to the sides from the top (will be hidden by countertop), pocket screwing and gluing from the bottom side of the 2 shelves into the side panels.... all joints would have glue.

I own a kreg jig and I am familiar utilizing it...

Again, I know I am going to get bashed for even suggesting pocket screws... So looking for alternatives and that's why I am here. :)

Anything I can learn would help.

I also know the other common method is a finish nailer and glue... I have those tools as well.
 

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Stopped dados on all your shelf joints would be good. You could rabbet the top and bottoms. Hide it all with hardwood trim all the way around. You could also make the three lower shelves adjustable height as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I already made the holes for the bottom three shelves to be adjustable. I could make the stop dado on the shelf board fairly easy using a saw... but how would I do it on the sides of the cabinet? Since I have already cut my boards for the cabinets to the dimensions, I assume the stop dado's wouldn't work at this point because I need more material than I have? I guess I could cut the top shorter in length in order to accomplish that?

Thanks for the info!
 

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Is your bookshelf going against a wall?
You should have a back on it.

Dowel pins would work if you don't want to use pocket screws on the case.

You can use pocket screws to assemble the face frame and glue/clamp it to the case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, I will add a back to it. Should I just use 1/4" plywood? It took me a few hours, but I finally got done sanding all the pieces using 120 grit. Should I use a finer sand paper to finish it up? It's pretty smooth right now... Sorry for all the questions, I have only done painted quality stuff before and 120 is all I used.

I have watched a few of sommerfelds videos and he uses pocket screws quite a bit... So they look like they ill get the job done if needed...

Here is a picture of the book case, kind of thrown in place just to make sure that I measured everything right and so the wife could get an idea how she would like it setup for her (since she is going to be the one using it). Along with a few pictures of before sanding and after.
 

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Old School
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At the stage you're in, it looks like the cabinet pieces are cut to be flush with the existing top. If you are going to add a face frame, you would have to cut them narrower.

You could skip the back. Screwing the top of the cabinet into the underside of the existing top would keep it from racking. For that matter, you could screw from the existing cabinet into the back edge of the new cabinet. Don't know if you want to put holes through that front though.

If you plan on a face frame, no need for stopped dadoes. If you have dadoes and rabbets, you could just use glue and clamps.






.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It does look flush, but that's because I was just placing it underneath for the wife to see. It actually is inset by 3/4" to account for the face trim. Thanks for all the helpful info. I will work on getting it put together today.
 

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Are you thinking of putting angled shelves in the outside corner?
 

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I agree that if you have a face frame going on it just do regular full through dadoes and rabbets glue and clamp all. The back and a properly built face frame attached well will both help to square and stabilize the unit.
 

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Alaska_Guy said:
Ok, I will add a back to it. Should I just use 1/4" plywood? It took me a few hours, but I finally got done sanding all the pieces using 120 grit. Should I use a finer sand paper to finish it up
You would need a back on it if it was free standing. As Cabinetman mentioned, you can prevent it from racking other ways.
How are you planning on finishing it? Dye or stain or natural? What type of top coat?
I would sand to 160.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Are you thinking of putting angled shelves in the outside corner?
I want to, the wife doesn't.

I agree that if you have a face frame going on it just do regular full through dadoes and rabbets glue and clamp all. The back and a properly built face frame attached well will both help to square and stabilize the unit.
I don't have a table saw so I cant dado the ends... I don't trust myself to do it with a circular saw as the plywood may splinter.

I agree, a back should be done. Again, the wife doesn't want one. She wants it to be fairly modular so she can move it with us if we decide. That's why she doesn't want the corner piece done either.

You would need a back on it if it was free standing. As Cabinetman mentioned, you can prevent it from racking other ways.
How are you planning on finishing it? Dye or stain or natural? What type of top coat?
I would sand to 160.
I haven't decided on the finish... I wan't to stain/dye it, she wants to paint it.

If I stain it she wants it dark like most mahogany furniture. I am pretty sure from my limited staining experience, FIR stains much like pine?

She wants it to look something like this? Basically no back piece. Which means I would have to band the fronts instead of doing like I was planning with framing out the front.
http://smarthomearchitecture.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Creative-Modular-Furniture-for-Dynamic-Interior-Design-.jpg

She figures she is going to have books and what not in it anyhow, so no reason to put a back on it.... I explained it's easier to put a back on it now. If I decide to do it later its going to look like any after thought.

Talked to a buddy and he is gonna bring me his router tomorrow. So I can try and see if I can make some rabbet joints on the front and back of the book case.

The wife went from built in to movable... Guess whatever makes the woman happy. Lol
 

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Alaska_Guy said:
I wan't to stain/dye it, she wants to paint it. If I stain it she wants it dark like most mahogany furniture. I am pretty sure from my limited staining experience, FIR stains much like pine?
Yes, some type of pre stain conditioner if using oil stain or spray/mist with aniline dye will help keep the color consistent. Would be easier to do before assembly.
 

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I'll recommend make a corner "module" that is separate from the rest of the unit to keep the wife happy but also have something "complete". That will keep it mobile but also make it look like a planned build rather than something thrown in the space. As it stands, that corner is useless and unsightly. That said, it's your place not mine.

As for the dados, they can be done with chisels, a router, hand saws, all kinds of things. It's certainly possible to do without a table saw. It's more work, but it's possible.

I think a back is necessary if you want to keep it modular and not put any external holes. It won't rack much against the wall like that but it will rack some and needs something to keep it completely stable. If your wife is worried about it just stain the back to match the existing cabinetry and you both win.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, got everything glued and screwed together today besides the back. Wanting to let the glue dry before I put the back on.

Will try and put the back on tomorrow if the day allows and then I need to work on trimming it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here is a picture of the progress with the back panel dry fitted in place. It's bowed in the center, so I need to lay it down for about a week or so and hopefully it straightens out some. I don't want to put that much stress on the wood by gluing and screwing it in place and have the wood try and pull out. I would rather wait and see if I can get it a little straighter first and then put it together.

I still need to trim the whole thing out, sand it all down with 180+ grit etc.

A long ways to go yet, but it feels rock solid with the back dry fitted in place.

The woman decided she wants to paint it, so I went with pocket screws in the up rights. I really wish I didn't but live and learn... Hopefully when I trim it out the trim should hide most of it if she decides to change her mind again and have me stain/dye it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, she wants it painted. I tried a couple different stains, but the wood just doesnt soak up the stain very well. I think I sanded it too much. I went down to 220 grit. It feels like glass though. :)

So im gonna finish trimming it out tonight and get it ready for paint.


Thanks for all the tips.

Next built in bookcase is going to be birch plywood and poplar for the face.

The wife needs more storage than I could have imagined.
 
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