Sometimes a new piece of furniture conjures up images from a distant
time and place. This bookcase, I imagine, would fit right into an early
20th-century lawyer’s office, filled with leather-bound volumes and
smelling of cigars. Rich walnut and generous moldings give it a
luxurious feel, and hidden compartments are perfect for top-secret
documents. The glass doors are as practical today for keeping dust off
your books as they were 100 years ago. I’ve designed this bookcase for
a thoroughly modern cabinetmaker, however. Its plywood cases are built
with biscuits, the drawers use full-extension ball-bearing slides and
the lipped doors are hung with easy-to-install wrap-around hinges. To
make this large project more manageable, I built it in sections: a
drawer unit below, three separate bookcase units above and a crown
molding unit on top. The modular design also makes it easy to move it
around your shop and into your house.
A big project like this does require a bit of experience. You’ll
need to know how to use a biscuit joiner, be well-versed in using a
router and router table and know how to install drawer slides. The only
advanced technique you may need to know is how to make and install the
custom crown molding. If you make the bookcase in oak or birch, you
could buy commercial crown molding, but if you choose walnut or cherry,
you’ll probably want to make the molding yourself.
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