After investing a number of weekends building a nice table or chest, how are you going to finish it? Finishes beautify and protect the piece you’ve worked so hard to build so don’t cop out and do the “rub it with oil” thing. There are so many beautiful finishes that become second nature to work with. I use shellac 99% of the time. Once you get the feel down, it’s really quick to apply, very forgiving, easily repairable, and you never have to clean a brush (because it re-softens in alcohol)! There are other varnishes that provide good protection for outdoor use as well. I recommend picking up a good starter book, like Jeff Jewitt’s Hand Applied Finishes. It is simple and straightforward, without getting too far into minutiae.
Next, grab a role of tape to make your rounded corners for the arms and back supports. Do a rounded corner for the two outside armrests, and for both outside pieces of the table top. Create rounded corners for the top of the backrest supports as well(Part H). Cut with a jigsaw and use an orbital sander to smooth the edges. Check out photos in later parts of the project to see the rounded edges.
Now, I know this list only contains traditional hand tools, but my circumstances led me to this choice to complete the job. After all, he is my brother and he’s helped me once or twice. Not all woodworkers will want to take the time and effort to go strictly with hand tools. That’s fine; different circumstances and preferences will lead the way. Most people wouldn’t drive a scooter full of tools to assist their siblings either. Sounds crazy, but I enjoyed the trip through the mountains. Once I was there, I still needed a way to rip through lumber. I also needed a can of finish. As needed, a few jigs and templates were constructed from the purchased lumber.
Substitute “woodworking” for “judgement” and the principle still holds. Classes, videos, books and private instruction are the result of someone, once upon a time, making a mistake and then passing on the knowledge of how to avoid the same mistake to others, then that knowledge can continue to be passed down the line. That can be very valuable for avoiding common errors and really helps many people in their quest for better results.
Start with the horizontal base rail at the bottom of the bookcase. Hold the rail against the bottom shelf and mark onto the rail the center of each slot cut into the shelf. Then use the biscuit joiner to cut corresponding slots into the back of the base rail. Apply carpenter's glue to the front edge of the bottom shelf, and the rear of the base rail. Insert No. 20 biscuits into the shelf slots, then press the rail into place [ 7 ]. Use a rubber mallet to tap the rail tight. Wipe away any excess glue with a cloth. Attach the valance that runs across the top of the bookcase the same way. (Note: Its bottom edge aligns flush with the case top.)
Too many people have perpetuated the myth that working wood by hand is really hard work, simply because they were using a dull tool. It is an axiom among woodworkers that in order for things to go smoothly, you have to “let the tool do the work.” If your saw requires a good amount of push to cut or if you find you need a running start to make shavings with your hand plane, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Sharpening your tools is a basic and foundational skill because it is something that needs to happen regularly. Not only is it inefficient to work with dull tools, it’s dangerous. If you feel like you need to push your chisel with body weight to complete the cut, when it does pop free, you will lose control and your tool will stab into whatever is in its path. Learn how to sharpen your tools and you will find woodworking to be enjoyable, safe, and efficient.

Thank you for that info. Is there any recommended size for crosscutting? Lets say I purchase a 4×8 sheet of plywood or MDF at my local home center. I have them cut it down to strips of 18×8 (for example). When I get home, if I need to crosscut the 18×8 piece, is that possible on a cabinet saw with a crosscut sled or better with a track saw? Reason I ask, that will most likely be my scenario when I purchase lumber. I would rarely bring home a full 4×8 sheet from the store because it’s easier to transport it in smaller widths. I’m at the point to make some tool purchases, and seeing if I should go solely with a track saw for my scenario or get both? I do have a 12 inch compound miter saw but cutting to size on that with 18 inch depth panels is hard in one pass.

If you enjoy these free bookcase plans be sure to check out these other free woodworking plans for shelves, coffee tables, entertainment centers, desks, Little Free Library, wine racks, jewelry boxes, home bars, kitchen islands, bathroom vanities, playhouses, picnic tables, dog houses, decks, workbenches, tree houses, pergolas, sheds, Adirondack chairs, bunk beds, and even chicken coops.
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You can create a beautiful coffee table by simple stacking logs together. Line the logs end up and create a circle whatever size you need. Then just tie them all together with rope or twine to keep your coffee table secure. You do need to make sure that the logs are the same height and you may want to sand the tops down just a bit to make them smooth.
I generally use biscuits for this (three per joint), and I have never had a joint fail (and a bookcase spending five years in an elementary school is a pretty fair test), but dadoes work great here as well. To assist with accuracy and consistency when using biscuits, mark your biscuit locations on a piece of scrap, and then use the scrap as a guide as you mill biscuit slots in each carcass member. The carcass top is attached so that it is flush with the top of the carcass sides. The carcass bottom is attached so that the top of the panel is 2-1/2″ above the floor (or the bottom of the side panel).
Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
I use chisels perhaps more than any other tool in my workshop, so it’s a good idea to not cheap out here. A high quality set of bevel edge bench chisels (new or vintage) will last you many years (likely  your entire life) and will be used on nearly every project. I’ve used some descent affordable plastic handle bench chisels, but highly prefer lighter wooden handle chisels with excellent steel.
This bookcase lets you have plenty of storage for your books, without you having to show it openly. With a locking system, light mechanisms and a lot of built in shelves, this design form maybe the most high tech of all the others we have discussed. Many interesting features such as a folding door, leading to another area of the house, which a guest may never know- completely steal the show!
My whole life, I’ve loved to be creative and make things. Once I got older though, creativity and anything art related really got pushed aside for a more serious career path. After graduating from college, I decided to go to grad school, get my MS in accounting, and then I became a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and started working in accounting for several years.
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