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designing and building with wood channels my creativity and challenges my mind.
This blog is a record of my life in my studio.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A bookshelf becomes a coffee table: Thanks to my Delta X Jointer

I have been on a roll recently: in spite of being a total newb when it comes to furniture-making, I have completed two (that's right TWO ;) bookshelves of acceptable functionality and workmanship.  Both of them look great from thirty yards.

When I decided to give bookshelves another go, I decided to get fancy.  I made a jig for my Delta 1 3/4 HP hybrid saw, and cut 3-degree angles in each side of the case, to give the shelf a back-sloping look.  To add to the sloping effect, I laid a stripe of curly maple between two wide planks of mahogany, and cut the bases 90-degrees to the 3-degree slope, so the white maple stripes would slope backward as well.   AWESOME!

But then, while having a conversation with a friend and cutting the dadoes to hang the shelves, I cut one set of grooves on the wrong side of my beautiful laminated, sloping sides!  Since they were sloping, I couldn't just flip the one side over.  My shelves were kaput.

But then I had an idea: What if I put the sloping edged head-to toe, then straightened the edges on my Delta?  Then I'd have a beautiful table top.

Bookshelf Number Two, Part Two: Completion

Confident after my "successful" completion of a bookshelf from plans, I decided to build a similar shelf, but with a few of my own modifications.  Chief among my mods: through-tenons joining the top and bottom shelves to the case.  I also chose to go in another direction aesthetically: instead of the reserved, all-mahogany design of the shelf from plans, my second shelf used three types of wood, and I went for an art-deco theme.

Here are the results:
I am pretty satisfied with the through-tenons.  Of course, if you look closely you'll see some mahogany wood filler around the joints.

The pitfalls of amateur design are obvious: after all, who needs such high shelves in a case so shallow?

But hey, not bad for my first through-tenons and first self-designed (and finished piece :)

Stay tuned for the tale of my third bookshelf, which had to become a coffee table after an unfortunate error with a dado blade...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bookshelf Number Two

After the success of my first bookshelf - which i made from plans, and which used dado grooves to hold the shelves - I decided to do the same shelf again - but this time using through-tenons and mortises to hold the top and bottom shelves, and using three (yes, three) different woods in the construction.  I was going for an art-deco look.  And I got it.  But in the end, it was too gaudy for my taste and I let it go to some friends who really liked it. 

Above: my first bookshelf.  Finished in satin poly/oil finish, and with the top back-piece finished in super-shiny, thick epoxy glaze.  On the right is a close-up of the glazed top backing.

Below: My second bookshelf.  Wood used is curly maple, mahogany, and purple heart.  The cross-shapes on the sides are created when the vertical strips of purple heart cross over the mahogany through-tenons of the top and bottom shelves.  NOTE: this pic is BEFORE I added the "art-deco" style crown of vertical pieces. 

Next stop on the cabinetry train: the ultimate stereo component rack :)