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jmc0319 02-14-2013 09:04 AM

Making a bookshelf
Greetings,I am a beginner wood worker and am embarking on my largest project yet, a bookshelf. I am thinking of using either a cabinet grade ply or a birch or oak veneer ply. I am also going to use select pine for the face frame. My questions are: should I use oak veneer or cabinet grade ply? Will either match the select line face frame when I stain it? Any other thoughts appreciated.


nealtw 02-14-2013 01:16 PM

Birch and pine will stain to a close colour match but difference in grain will show up.
Have you seen iron on tape. Build the whole thing out of plywood and finish with real wood iron on tape. You can tape for any of the hardwood plywoods.

elbo 02-14-2013 02:44 PM

I dont know how much area NealW is figuring on covering with the iron on veneer, but a 2 X 4 sheet of red oak iron on veneer costs $35 at lowes, while 3/4 inch veneer (red oak ) costs about $7 for 25 ft.
If you're going to use birch or pine be sure to use a wood conditioner before you stain it . If you dont, the finish will come out blotchy
If you choose to use plywood, know that the side of the plywood tat the saw blade exits will splinter unless you take some precautions. Some people score the cut line several times so that the veneer is cut and wont splinter. I prefer to make a shallow cut about 1/16 of an inch deep, then raise the saw blade to the height needed to cut all the way through, true, this mean making two cuts, but on a table saw, it's no big deal
Good luck, enjoy your new hobby

nealtw 02-14-2013 03:29 PM

CallMeVilla 02-14-2013 05:27 PM

I have never had good results with wood conditioner. For my standing bookshelf, I used oak ply throughout. The exposed edges got iron-on oak tape. Stain took evenly and the poly covered the seams to make it look like solid oak.

Also, using shelf clips eliminates a dado to hold the shelves in place -- plus you can adjust the heights for various books or "looks."

Get into the look ... don't settle for a plain wood box. Think about adding decorative molding to thop and bottom ... maybe small crown mold or rope mold or dentil molding for a classic look. I have bought simple bookcases and then refinished, added upgraded molding and the finished look was remarkable!


nealtw 02-14-2013 06:19 PM

wood conditioner is used to make the loose fibres stand up so they can be sanded off. Wiping the wood with a damp rag will do the same thing and it's been used for hundreds of years. (water)

jmc0319 02-14-2013 06:26 PM

Thanks to all for great insight and feedback. I will look into the options put forward. Look forward to it. This is very exciting and hopefully will be rewarding.

nealtw 02-14-2013 06:41 PM

As long as it is a plan in your head it is perfect, you only have to accept less than perfection when you say it's finished.

elbo 02-15-2013 11:54 AM

yes, water will make the fuzzies stand up so they can be sanded off, but wood conditioner fills the softer sections of the wood so that , when it is applies per the directions, it tames the wild grain and makes the hard and soft sections blend together better and makes for an evener finish. I use it on all oak plywood and am happy with the results Mind you, I'm talking about wood conditioner , not wood grain filler, which really sucks

Wuzzat? 02-15-2013 04:00 PM

For figuring bookshelf spans, deflections and materials there is the Sagulator.

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