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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start that I am a humble hobbyist for only 4 years.

The project: 5 fixed shelved bookcase (36 inch wide, 72" tall)
wood type: mahogany

I want to build without any visible screw plugs, dowels..essentially anything that can be seen I want to eliminate . I also don't want to use pocket screws on bottom of shelving.

I will be putting a 3/4 piece of ply on back and screwing that into shelving.

I will also be putting a fold down piece on a secretary hinge (14") on the second shelf so it needs to have a lot of stability.

I plan to dado out the sides for shelving, but is glue enough to hold?

What is the best way to hide any signs of joinery for a bookcase? I have a lot of tools and will buy more if needed, just want the most professional look.

Thanks guys
 

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First, welcome to the board.

To build a bookcase like that you do not need any type screws, nails, etc. Just plain old wood glue (most on here use Titebond).

It is understandable that a newcomer to woodworking would not trust glue alone. I will assure you that a properly glued joint is sufficient in the vast majority of cases.

It is also not necessary to use 3/4" ply for the back. Most people will use 1/4".

I am not sure what you mean by hiding any signs of joinery. Do you want to cover the areas where the shelves are dadoed into the sides? You could do this by putting a face frame all the way around the cabinet. Then only the joints where the pieces of the frame join would show.

George
 

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I use dowels where screws would have go most of the time. But either way you can hide them with plugs. I use a plug cutter and cut the plugs from the same wood I am using.

For screws I drill a hole 1/4" - 3/16" deep with a 3/8" forstner bit. Then a pilot hole for the screw. Then I cut plugs with a 3/8"plug cutter and put them in to cover the screw head. Use a flush cutting saw or sand till it is flush.
 

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First, welcome to the board.

To build a bookcase like that you do not need any type screws, nails, etc. Just plain old wood glue (most on here use Titebond).

It is understandable that a newcomer to woodworking would not trust glue alone. I will assure you that a properly glued joint is sufficient in the vast majority of cases.

It is also not necessary to use 3/4" ply for the back. Most people will use 1/4".

I am not sure what you mean by hiding any signs of joinery. Do you want to cover the areas where the shelves are dadoed into the sides? You could do this by putting a face frame all the way around the cabinet. Then only the joints where the pieces of the frame join would show.

George
+1. :yes: I would dado the sides for the shelves, top and bottom. I would rabbet the back edge of the top, bottom and sides. Then cut the shelves in depth to fit the dadoes and stop where the back is rabbeted. For the back I would use ¼" ply. A well fitted back will help square the cabinet.

For the front leading edges, I would add a solid wood trim or face frame. Or use a veneer of the same species as the cabinet.







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C-man and George...+1 Especially on their recommendation for the 1/4" back, setting in rabbets.
I prefer 3/4" solid face frames.
Shouldn't need any metal anywhere.
 

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Just adding to the details, the ends can be one piece to the floor, and notched out for a toe kick if necessary. In that case, the vertical section that is set back can be mitered to accept the face of a mitered end toe kick.

Or, the ends can be cut to allow for a loose toe kick. In that case, the toe kick can have any recess desired, and can be held slightly short in width. Even if the width is only 1/8" narrower than the width of the cabinet, the top edge of it doesn't show, and will offer good stability. A loose toe kick also provides it to be removed for damage repair circumstances like water, kicking, or cleaning equipment.

Or, the ends could run to the floor, or left short, and an add on base could be configured with some profiling done to the face/top edge similar to a base board moulding.







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If you DON'T want to do face frames, I would imagine you could do a stopped dado in the front of your side pieces, so that the first inch or two in the front where the shelves join the sides you would not see the dado cut.

It is a little cleaner than using a dado all the way to the front of the shelves, but putting a face frame would make it look even more attractive.

But if you are going for a simple look, you might not want to do the face frames???
 

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If you plan on having a fold out desk, then be sure the top back has a way to be fastened to the wall behind. Good idea even with no extended desk. You might also cut a relief in the bottom back to clear baseboard. With the desk aspect, you may also want to have holes in the back edge of shelves and whatever else would be needed to manage wires.
 

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Dado size depends on wood used so set the dado width by the thickness of the wood. For the depth of dado. I usually go to half the thickness of the piece I'm putting the dado in.
For ¾" material I go ¼" deep on dadoes and rabbets. No need for any deeper IMO.







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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Big shot out to George, 4D, Grunkle, and C-man, Thanks everyone.

I'm going to trust Titebond and take a lot of the advice given, you were right, being new I don't trust using only glue. The reason I didn't want a face frame is because of the fold out desk, I think when it's down it won't look right, however, maybe a thin one would. Also I don't know how I'd attach the levers/chain that comes down (secretary desk style) with a face frame. I'm nervous about mortising two of those dinky fold-down hinges from Rockler etc., won't it sag?

Great point about cutting back piece short to go over baseboard, so I can attach the whole unit to the wall without a gap. brilliant.

I did plan to rabbet out back and I'll use 1/4 instead of 3/4, I just thought 3/4 would make it more rigid...I'll trust you guys.
 

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To build your confidence in the holding ability of glue, make a snug fitting ( push fit ) stopped dado test joint about 6 " long and glue it ( all surfaces coated ) with a liberal amount of Elmer's School glue. Yes, you read right, Elmer's School glue.

The next day try to take the joint apart and please show us the end result when you get it apart along with all the tools of destruction you used.:laughing: For joints that are considered good gluing joints, I think you'll be sold on glue only joints for the remainder of your life.

And sure we would like to see a pic of the finished project.:thumbsup:
 

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+1 to the suggestion for the rabbet in the back to let the plywood back sit flush.
When figuring for a rabbet to set in the back, allow it to be deep enough so the back doesn't sit flush to the ends, but there will be a gap between the back and the wall. That will allow for a crown in the wall which would not allow the ends to touch the wall.

If you allow a ½" gap, that will give you some scribe to trim to make the ends fit a wall that's not flat. IOW, for a ¼" back, the dado would be ¾" deep by ¼".







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