Bookcase in a Day


The yellow pine planks in their original condition.


Yellow pine shelf ready for shaping.


Gluing end to end and sanding off old finish.


Gluing on nose molding.


Crosscutting uprights at angle.


Closeup of glued-up panel.


Routing edges.


Stack of shelves.


Finished shelves, left.

Below, closeup of finished shelves, right.


“Bookcase in a Day” was the Fine Woodworking article title. Here are some pictures. The uprights are cut from two inch oak lumber core cubicle dividers thrown out by the local junior high school. They were two feet by six feet, weigh about thirty pounds each, and I carried off four of the least water-damaged. That is oak core, oak crossband and 1/8″ oak surface veneer. The yellow pine flatsawn 3 x 14 planks came out of a building on campus (New York University, 5 Washington Place) which was built in 1883. Day after day there were piles of planks being thrown out. Finally, I picked up about a thousand pounds worth: they were three and four feet long. Some were nearly eighty pounds. One plank had over two hundred rings. I bought ten 10×24 ripsaw blades on ebay and ripped the planks quartersawn, scarfed them end-to-end and edgeglued with biscuits to make 1 x 10 planks six feet long. Shaped, moulded and notched the planks, ditto uprights. Stained the uprights and left the shelves natural, shellac finish over all. Here are the pictures. Bookcase in a Day took six months. (Well, I made two.) I found metal in the wood from beginning to end.

The Uprights are tapered in length, and the shelves are tapered in length. The uprights are scaled in width to keep the setback on the shelves the same, and the shelves are scaled in width bottom to top. There’s a left set and a right set of shelves. I didn’t have any lumber to spare, and managed not to make any mistakes, which probably accounted for one of the months.

You should click on the pictures until they are full size to see the grain correctly.

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