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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2008, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Default First big project

Got my first big project finished. Needed to replace a bookshelf (particle board) that self-destructed when I moved my office from a leased space back to a spare room at the house.

Decided that I could build a better one than I could buy (true statement if you don't count tool purchases or labor). Found a basic plan I liked in an issue of Woodsmith (happens to be the free one you can look at online) and set to work to modify the dimentions a bit.

Red oak for the faceframe, moulding and shelf edges. Oak veneer (and definately not red oak) 3/4" plywood for the carcass and shelves. 1/4" oak veneer plywood for the back.

As an aside, the simple router table I show in another thread was built because of this project. And I've also built a nice, tall fence with zero-clearance slides to go with it. That going to be used for some cabinet work and raised panel stuff I'm playing with for the next big project. Whole project was as much about learning tablesaw skills as table router skills. Junior High wood shop was a long time ago.

Back to the bookcase, got it done. 73" tall, about 30" wide and about 12" deep. All shelves adjustable. The shelf edging is 1" tall and 3/4" thick with a 3/8" groove for the plywood to rest in. This gave me two glueing edges for attaching. The mouldings are all milled from a single wide board so while it isn't terribly obvious, they have a decent grain match and it not only wraps around but flows top to bottom too. More an experiment to see if I could do it than anything else.

The biggest hassle was finishing the veneer so it matched more closely the color of the solid red oak. Trick seems to be hitting everthing with two coats of BLO and letting that dry completely. Then knock down with 0000 steel wool and very lightly and with plenty of elbow grease apply stain to the veneer only. Got a pretty decent match and after several coats of wiping varnish and some wax it matches pretty well. Having that BLO on first seems to slow the stain absorption and made it easy for me to get a gradual build of color.

Digital camera I borrowed has lots of barrel distortion in its wide angle mode so the case really doesn't bulge and the shelves are straight!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2008, 02:16 AM
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Great job! More fun than buying one, isn't it? Now you can step back and proudly say "I built that".

Fort Worth, Texas
City where the west begins.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2008, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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FYI, on the stain application:

Sorry I've forgotten the official name for this kind of brush, but I think its called a Blanchard brush. This works great for controlled application of stain. My introduction to the Blanchard brush was through photography and its use in brush coating photographic emulsions onto paper. But it works great here too.

The brush is made with a thin strip of wood inside the folds or you can make it without the strip. The key is using cotton flannel material and several folds. I usually make it without the wood and just rely of the folds and my fingers to keep the edges neat.

To fold one, start with a square of material, say 4" to 6" on a side. Fold in half. Now fold in quarters such that the sides get folded to the center, then it folds in half. Furthermore, these quartering folds are at a right angle to the first fold. When you are done folding you will have a somewhat narrow strip of fabric, thick and without any fuzzy edge along the long sides. Now fold in half one more time along its length so that you have a round bulge at one end and the two loose ends as your handle. You can make the last fold around a narrow strip of wood or just hold it in your hand. Rubber band is optional for holding it together.

If your folds are reasonably crisp, the bulged end will have pretty decent corners and now works very well for controlling the application of stain, varnish, etc. And the multiple layers of flanel/cotton can take quite a charge of fluid so you can sweep a nice long line.

A variation on this is to put a bit of paste wax in the center and then fold around it. Then as you squeeze down on the "brush" the wax comes out and you can buff it into the work.
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