439 Maple Kid’s Bookcase Construction Pt 1

September 9, 2010

Long before the summer hiatus this year you might remember our last project build was a Maple Child’s Dresser for a client and family friend. It was one of four pieces I was asked to build for their daughter’s room. Today we’re getting started with the first of a four part series that covers the construction of the next two pieces, a pair of matching Maple Bookcases with adjustable shelves.

The construction is straight forward and the design is loosely based on a Shaker “style” bookcase. Clean lines, strong materials and soft edges were what I had in mind when I sat down to work up the final construction notes and drawings based on the pictures of similar bookcases they showed me.

In today’s episode we’ll construct the sides of the bookcase and route a pair of grooves in each side panel that will house the adjustable shelving hardware I chose to use. We’ll then follow up the construction portion of the video with a look at some of our shelving hardware options and even some jigs we can use to install the hardware. IN FACT…I’m digging up an old homemade jig plan that was submitted several years ago by Don Garner. To check out the plans for Don’s Jig “right click and save as…” on THIS LINK.

Huge thanks to Lee Valley Tools for loaning us a Veritas Cabinet 32 Cabinetmaking System and some hardware examples for today’s show.

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  1. Kerry Drake says:


    Really like the new format. Gives you a “style” of video all your own.

    Very nice.

    Best Wishes,


  2. dryhter says:

    Hey Matt,
    Always enjoy your videos.

    Just a couple of comments that may or may not have merit, not knowing the complete design. The panel / leg connection, seems a little weak, and I think I may have cut a dado on the leg, maybe 1/4X1/4 or 3/8X3/8, something like that, with a matching rabbet, essentially a full length tenon on the panel, biscuits or dowels at the least. This would take care of the registration/alignment issue, allow you to glue up both legs thus saving time and make a stronger joint.

    The dado for the shelf standards seem a little deep. The standards are about 5/8X 3/16 and only need a 1/8in. deep dado. The dado should be just deep enough to to meet the straight side of the support, other wise the dado will look way to big once the support is installed, and you will have to finish that little raw edge which can be a pia sometimes. Using the router to route the dado is slow, noisy, messy and has a good potential for screwing up. An easier way to cut the groove or dado for the support is with your table saw and a dado blade. Am I stating the obvious. It is easier to come back and fill in the dado as required with a small fillet of wood, faster and more accurate. The fillet is normally hidden by the top and bottom shelf and even if exposed it is inconspicuous .

    You touched on cutting the standards, but did not mention to be sure that all the little square holes line up with each other once cut. The factory cut ends are usually all the same so it is just a matter of cutting off the waste from the center of the standard. These standards are non- directional and it does not matter if the numbers are upside down. The only thing that matters is that all the little holes line up once assembled.

    Use 1/4in. tempered peg board for making your hole drilling guide. The holes are one inch on center. The material is durable, accurate and inexpensive, it can be made into full size jigs or a jig like you showed.

    Always enjoy your podcasts, keep up the good work.

    • Matt says:

      Hey Dave those are some great suggestions about alternative ways to do the same thing. I’m planning on doing some followup at the end of the build to discuss suggestions that have come in or that I see as I re-watch the videos.

      I had considered some of the methods you mentioned to create the sides. But since they were long-grain to long-grain, a simple butt joint seemed like the simplest method and should hold up to the abuse…but a spline of some sort isn’t a bad idea.

      Part of my reason for such a deep dado for the shelf supports was to make them as flush to the surface as possible. I wanted the shelves to have as small a gap as possible, and it in turn actually adds a little more stability since they snug right up to the sides (not tight, but definitely not gappy).

      And you’re right about cutting and realigning the supports. Lining them up exactly to each other is extremely important.

      Thanks for the ideas and I look forward to more as the project progresses.

  3. B33tl3 says:

    Matt I like the format.
    Showing the different shelf support and jigs is cool. I have never seen teh wire one.

    Do you have a drawing of your design?

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