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Hi All,

I am new to this forum, but I am hoping you can give me some pointers on how to setup and make a bunch of various shaped mortises for a children's front-facing rack bookshelf I am working on.

I have attached a couple of sketches for reference. I am most concerned with how to get both sides to match so I can actually assemble it (particularly the ones that are on an angle).

I have already made a basic jig to cut a mortise for a single one of the rounded rails, but I don't have a good way to make sure the other side is at the same angle and positioning.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated since I haven't done anything like this before.

Thanks!
Justin
 

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Hi All,

I am new to this forum, but I am hoping you can give me some pointers on how to setup and make a bunch of various shaped mortises for a children's front-facing rack bookshelf I am working on.

I have attached a couple of sketches for reference. I am most concerned with how to get both sides to match so I can actually assemble it (particularly the ones that are on an angle).

I have already made a basic jig to cut a mortise for a single one of the rounded rails, but I don't have a good way to make sure the other side is at the same angle and positioning.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated since I haven't done anything like this before.

Thanks!
Justin
Hi Justin - Welcome to the forum:)
I hope you have more pictures than that to work with, there seems to be some significant measurements missing from what I could see.
The approach I would make would be to make templates That would reference the top and backs of the sides. One template could cover the two oval and the inverted "L", another could cover the things on the base. Maybe make a couple of story sticks to make sure they get to the same spot on both sides.
:)
 

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OK, I've never done a mortise and this is only my opinion.

The bookcase presented looks like just a few books or magazines would be in the shelves. Why not just doweling to connect the rails to the sides and glue?

If the structure was for climbing, then I would understand the need for mortises.

****
These are through mortises? If so, clamp the sides together and do each mortise all the way through both pieces at once.
 

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Hi Justin,

Welcome to the forum.

Based on the sketches, I would agree with John. A template will make for a more consistent measurements to both sides of the book case
 

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I would make a full-size template from MDF, and use it for both plunging the mortises (using a straight or spiral bit with a guide bushing), and shaping the curved fronts (using a flush-trim bit). To size the mortises on the template correctly, they need to be slightly larger than the straight bit that you'll plunge the mortises with (exactly the difference in diameter between the guide bushing and the straight bit). For example, if you are using a 1/2-inch straight bit and a 5/8-inch guide bushing, then the mortise in the MDF template needs to be 1/8-inch larger than the desired mortise in the workpiece. If you take care making the template, then you'll just flip it when you do the other side piece and you'll have a perfect mirror image.
 

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Justin, a full sized template is the easiest way to go. I would use 1/4" Masonite or Baltic birch plywood. You make your layout once and then fasten it to one side and make your cuts. Flip the template, fasten it to the other side and make those cuts. You will want the template to extend past the end of the wood by at least an inch. This is so you can easily get on and off the template leaving nice clean cuts on the wood. I have built many magazine racks in different styles for a couple magazine distribution companies. I suggest that you build at least 4 of these racks. It never fails when people see them they want one. Save and label your template with the guide bushing sizes and bits used. Odds are you will be building more.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of the advice and suggestions! I was going to take your advice and make a template and started shopping around for guide bushings, but was disappointed to find that the base plate on my Ryobi RE180PL does not accept bushings. I found that Leigh makes an adapter, but read in other threads here the base plate is often not centered and has no way to adjust it other than mounting a secondary base plate onto the factory one...

Instead of going through all of this trouble (+ time and $$$), I think I am going to try to make due with what I've got and use a combination of an angled piece of scrap wood, squares, and straight edges to try to make it as repeatable as possible. I've also thought about buying a mortising bit with a top bearing on it and try that with a template, but I don't know if I can find one locally and don't want to wait for shipping...

I will eventually take care of the base plate situation though, I'd like to be able to do precision routing!

And if you are wondering why I using mortises instead of dowels and/or screws, I have two reasons: 1) I wanted to learn something new on a project that is inexpensive and not too important; 2) It will probably become a ladder to children one day and I'd like for it not to break! ;)

Thanks guys!
Justin
 

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Justin, making your own sub base plate is easy.
Watch the video under the Member Vidoes tab at the top of our home page. There is a link to the sticky thread with discussion about this on the video page.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Mike. That seems fairly straightforward, I'll do that in the near future. What material due you recommend for the sub base?
 

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Hi Justin,

a 1/4" acrylic sheet would be great for a router base. You can pick them up from a number of Woodworking stores. Rockler in my area sells them.

Use your router base as a template for the screw holes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks George, unfortunately the only "woodworking" stores in my area are Home Depot and Lowes... but hopefully I can find that somewhere.
 

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Thanks George, unfortunately the only "woodworking" stores in my area are Home Depot and Lowes... but hopefully I can find that somewhere.
Ugh, apparently I am not allowed to post URLs because I am too new to the forum.

So, let's try it this way: Do a search for "Acrylic" on Rockler's website.

However, a better source would be USPlastic (website) as they have same 12" x 12" x 1/4" acrylic sheet listed at half the price. They also sell all kinds of other plastic products both in small cuts as well as large 4' x 8' sheets that can get pricey, but more cost effective if one tends to use them often.

I am not affiliated with either company other than being a happy customer with both :)
 

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Another thought for you. I'd have two piece sides. One piece for the mortices and one with no mortices. That way, you could use your template to make two morticed sides at a time, a left and right one, completely solving the matching problem. Hold them together with double sided tape while you do them, holding the template the same way. The same template using just the perimeter could then do two plain outer sides. Afterwards, laminate each inner and outer side and lip them to hide the join.

Cheers

Peter
 

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It will probably become a ladder to children one day and I'd like for it not to break! ;)
Justin
If You think that is possible,You better screw it to the wall.The shelves are angled the WRONG way and the base is 3X narrower than it should be,to climb.
Jim
 

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Thanks George, unfortunately the only "woodworking" stores in my area are Home Depot and Lowes... but hopefully I can find that somewhere.
I just picked up the Rigid guide bushing set from Home Depot yesterday. In addition to the bushings, it comes with a router base plate and a drill bit so you can use your existing base plate as a guide for drilling the holes in this base plate. My local HD had it on sale for $6 less than normal price.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Another thought for you. I'd have two piece sides. One piece for the mortices and one with no mortices. That way, you could use your template to make two morticed sides at a time, a left and right one, completely solving the matching problem. Hold them together with double sided tape while you do them, holding the template the same way. The same template using just the perimeter could then do two plain outer sides. Afterwards, laminate each inner and outer side and lip them to hide the join.

Cheers

Peter
That is a good idea. I have already started on this one but will definitely keep that in mind for future projects. Thanks!

Justin
 

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Justin, in looking at your PDF's, they appear to be sketchup looking. If in fact you did generate them using sketchup, you can make a full size printout (multiple pages) and tape them together to get a full size drawing. Glue this to some hardboard or MDF, then use a drill and some files to cut out the slots for the bushing to ride in. As stated above, you can get the mortises and the edge curves all from one template. Good luck.
 
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