Book, Magazines, Newspaper clippings, photocopies of wood working projects and pictures. That pretty much describes my woodworking library. Now let me describe where I keep it, in the book case in living room or next to my favorite chair, some in the bedside table, a few others in the workshop, and of course at least a couple of magazines in that place where we all go for a bit of quite time every day.
When it comes time to try and find something that I have bookmarked or need reference to, just finding the magazine, book or photo copy can be a challenge, so I decided it was high time to build a small Library Cupboard for the workshop so I can find things, when I need them. The first thing I did was stack up all by library items in one place to see how much space they take up, then allow for a bit of extra room that will surely be needed in the future.
Since this cabinet is going to be holding a fair bit of weight, I decided that instead of the standard rabbets, I would make the corners of this cabinet as box joints. That way The carcass will be strong enough to hold the books and can still be wall mounted and have doors attached to keep the dust out.
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In making this project I found some pine shelving in a local building supply store, and picked through the pile to find a suitable piece. It happened that the board was 11.25 inches wide and 8 feet long and would work fine for what I need. I will not even need to trim the edges, they will be fine at 11 1/4"
In terms of lenght and height of the cabinet, that was really determined by the number of books I had and how much time I wanted to leave for future acquisitions.
I decided that the top and bottom pieces of the cabinet would be the leading edges, meaning that when I mounted the pieces in the box joint jig, the first showing pins would be top and bottom shelves. This way it is easier to align the rest of the pieces properly.
Using Lynn's jig setup to cut the box joints is such a pleasure, they all line up well are even and amazingly consistent. After the corners are cut the next thing is to cut the dado for the back of the cupboard. All this is really is for finishing as the box joints will keep the structure strong once all the sides are glued and clamped.
The next thing to work on is the back cleat, sometimes called a french cleat. This the part that has a 45 degree matching angle cut on the back of the cupboard and another on a seperate piece that will be attached to the wall that will allow the cupboard to be hang on the walll, and hold all the weight of the books.
The cleats are just made out of what ever 3/4 inch material you have that will fit the back of the cupboard. Cut them in half at 45 degrees and both pieces are read to be attached, one to the wall and one on the back of the cupboard.
Now because this cupboard is holding books, and it is in the workshop it is going to need doors otherwise the books will be covered with dust. Making doors is easy with a router table. Simple measure the height of the doors and that will be your styles, you will need 4 of them. Cutting the rails is a bit more complex. They will need to be a wide as the width of the cupboard, less 8 inches for all of the styles then add the depth of the cut - 8 times to account for the tongue that will going in the grove of the styles.
Cutting the doors is the same as cutting any tongue and grove piece, we always, always, always cut the tongues first. This way we can use the tongues to gauge exactly where the groves will need to b cut when it is time to cut them.
Before you assemble the doors, you will want to think about what you want for door panels, and there is a long list of options, clear glass or plastic, smoked glass or plastic, flat panel wood inserts of what ever you want, raised panel inserts, carved or inlaid panels ... the list goes on and on. In our case we used natural wood, which of course will expand and contract so we needed to make sure we left room for the wood to expand inside the frame. Since we are making rails and style doors, we needed to pre-finish the doors, especially the panels. If you finish after assembly it is impossible to get good coverage where the panel slides into the grooves of the door rails and styles. We decided to finish this project with Tung Oil. I goes on easily with a brush or rag, drys hard overnight and makes a nice finish.
Once all the components are completed, next comes the finishing of the carcass. In our case we decided to use an amber wood dye, water based. After the dye was dry we gave the carcass the first coat of Tung Oil. Of course the Pine wood lapped the Tung Oil up immedieately, but we expected that with the first coat. We went on to give the carcass 2 more coats and were very happy with the final finish.
In terms of getting the door ready, we used Euro hinges, or European Hinges so we needed to drill 35mm or 35 millimeter holes in the door panel to accept these hinges. In our case the holes needed to be drilled 1/4 inch from the outside edge of the door. This is a pretty standard measurement but if you don't have instructions with your hinges, it's always best to make a test hole in scrap wood to make sure the door alignment is correct. After the holes are drilled, the hinges are mounted to the doors, then to the carcass and that pretty much completes the project.
Make sure your wall mounted cleat is level and when you hang you Library cupboard up, it will be ready for your load of books and other woodworking items.
Copyright - Colin Knecht