We’ve reached the end of the line here with the bookcase project. A short thread with all of 5 posts, not too detailed but hopefully enough information about how I made my way through what has been a quick li’l project. Previous installments are located in the blog archive to the right of the page. Lotsa pics today, but really just skimming through the final few days of the build.
With the carcase and shelves glued together and cleaned up, the remaining work involved the detachable back panel. The unit is a typical sort of frame and panel affair with two central stiles:
The stiles are left long for assembly to help protect the end of the stick from any potential fracturing for a tight fit. The ‘horns’ are trimmed off afterward. I assembled the entire back panel only with pegs and wedges, deciding to forgo the glue altogether. I’m interested to see how it does over the years.
Here’s a view of the front face of the completed back panel after some shellac was wiped on:
Now then, in a previous post I mentioned that the back of the panel would be joined to the carcase in an unconventional manner. most of the time what you see for back panels or plywood, or tongue and grooved boards. Usually these are fitted to the carcase at the time of assembly, which definitely adds some stress to that process. Typically the back panel is held captive in a dado and once it is in there, it’s in there for good.
A few years ago I came across picture of a Ming Dynasty demountable Chinese chest which had a different approach to construction – the back panel was a separate frame and panel unit held to the rest of the piece by clips. I really thought that was a good method, and I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to make use of the technique. And here we are!:
First off, notice that the central stiles have a portion of their tenons protruding right through the lower rail. These fit into corresponding blind mortises on the lower carcase board.The back panel it therefore tipped in bottom end first, the tenon/clips seated, and then the panel can be swung into place in the carcase rebate provided for it.
You will also notice the Canary wood clips. Here’s a closer view of one of them:
A while later, it’s time to fit the panel in with the clip, which requires a few hammer taps to drive through:
The end grain of those clips was then cleaned up and some finish put on. All in all, there were two clips on each side along with one on the top, fixing the back panel into place. Add to that the two built-in clips on the bottom, which gives a total of 7 clips altogether. Makes for a secure assembly, and if I need to repair it at some point, it will be easy to do. Even for cleaning the bookcase, it would be a simple matter to remove the panel to facilitate the process. I like this Chinese method and plan to employ it on future cabinet pieces. It’s a lot less of a stress to put the panel on afterwards, instead of during carcase assembly, which is absolutely an added bonus.
Here’s a few final shots of the bookcase now serving duty in my apartment:
That, my friends, is that. A 2-week bookcase build – I hope ya liked it. I’m okay with how the piece came out, though the finish is hardly what I would wish for under normal circumstances. I left my maker’s mark off it. I may drag the bookcase back to the shop at some future date and finish it a bit more thoroughly, but for the time being it’s nice to have a place to stick some books. We could use yet another bookcase actually, so at some point I’ll need to do another one. I guess if the right sort of leftovers pile up, I’ll do just that. This was a great way to use up the Canary Wood and curly Cherry, which I’ve been dragging around for more than 2 years, and a bit of bubinga left over from the Ming table job which had warped badly.
Thanks for coming by the Carpentry Way today.