One of my good friends is setting up her nursery and had a very specific bookshelf she was wanting. She needed it to go into the corner but wanted side compartments to be square so that she wouldn’t need bookends. This creates an area in the front that can either display a book or something else like a stuff animal. If you would like to build on yourself I have an 8 page set of plans available for purchase here!
I started with cutting down a sheet of 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood. I used a temporary fence to cut the two sides as well as the four pieces that will make up the top, bottom, and two shelves.I grabbed the sides and started making dados and rabbets. I decided to use them instead of pocket holes because 1) the compartments were going to be small and difficult to work in for pocket holes and 2) I am going to be staining the unit and don’t like the pocket hole plugs. In the below photo, I just set the top and bottom in place to get a visual. Next I marked off where I needed the dados on the top and bottom pieces then took them to the table saw to cut them in. On the top and bottom pieces, I only cut in the dados on one side. Then I took a straight edge and connected the left to the right and used my circular saw to cut off the front portion. I started putting the body together, by first taking one of the pieces and facing the dados up. I put glue on all along the joint then set the sides in place. Once everything was square and the dados alined then I set a few clamps and let it dry. While that dried I went to make the sides. These are identical to the top and bottom except the dados are slightly more shallow and are on both sides.
Once they were both made, I took one and glued it in it’s slot on the sides. Once it was in place, I used a few clamps to keep it in it’s place while I made the inside pieces then glued them in place as well.
After I would finish with one layer, I would set a few more clamps and let all the joints dry before repeating on the next layer up. I found that laying the unit on it’s side was helpful. I waited about an hour between each layer, then would continue. While letting the top layer dry, I grabbed some scraps and beveled both sides to create inserts for these front compartments. It isn’t necessary but it takes away some of the sharpness. I had to use a creative clamping method in order to apply pressure to these while they dried….. To hid the plywood edge on the top, I cut two lengths of board then put a simple curve on one with my jigsaw. Once I was happy with the shape, I traced it on the second piece then cut it to make it a copy. I went ahead and mitered the back ends of these two pieces then glued and clamped them in place. Note: I set full gallon paint cans on top of them while they dried. I purchased two rolls of edge banding and started going through and applying it to all the faces so that the edges would stain pretty. To apply the banding you first set it in place, then use an iron to iron melt adhesive that is on the back, then you just take something and firmly push it down while it quickly dries. Don’t forget that back edge. For a finish, I first put down a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner. Once I let it sit for 5 mins, I wiped off the extra then put on two coats of stain and three coats of poly. Be sure to check out my shop if you are interested in the plans!
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