A local lumberyard often has "specials"
stacked outside their main entrance. In this case it
was 1X8 (6ft) shiplapped knotty pine siding. I've
done similar projects, making one or two bookcases
like this; but I decided it'd be nice to try a whole
slew of them, so I picked over the boards and got
enough pieces for fifteen (2ft X 2ft) bookcases.
The basic design is that, for the sides, tops and
bottoms, one of the laps are planed off, leaving a
nice rabbet for attaching the back. (One minor
complications is that the original boards had
roughened backs, which gave a face-side
"orientation" to the boards.) The whole
thing is held together with 4d nails (cut nails, of
course). The center shelf is dadoed into the sides and
each end of the top is rabbetted so top joints could
be cross-nailed together. Finally, the back was of
1/8in luan plywood, nailed into the back-rabbets with
#16 wire nails. (It's amazing how much rigidity the
back adds to the case.)
I made one prototype to make sure I had all the parts
oriented, the right measurements, etc, and then I went
into "production" mode.
In short, I went through each step (sizing stock,
marking layout, cutting dados, final sizing, attaching
backs, etc.) for all
pieces at a sweep.
I find I really enjoy working like this. For one
thing, aside from usually being much more efficient to
do a "batch job", it's great from an
educational point of view. There's always a little
experimenting with each cut you make. Working through
a dozen such cuts give you that much more of a chance
to see what works for you and to learn from your
mistakes. And then there's that whole "muscle
Anyway, there's certainly nothing fancy about this
work, but it was a lot of fun. Just me down in
the basement with the planes, backsaws, chisels,
hammers and drill. The only electrons coming out of
VPR on the radio. Ah... this is what it's all about.