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Sliding Door Bookcase

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Sliding Door Bookcase

Dust-Free display and no hinges to mount!

By Seth Keller

Glass doors make a bookcase, but doors that swing on hinges are a pain to install. Ditto for doors that lift open and slide back—on a Barrister’s bookcase, for example. Regular sliding doors are much easier to install. In addition, they’re ideal for a bookcase designed to fit in a space where swinging doors might get in the way. 

This bookcase features super-smooth sliding door hardware that installs in minutes. The shelves are generously deep and widely spaced. Following the lead of Arts and Crafts era builders, my design incorporates elements inspired by traditional Asian furniture.

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Glue the cabinet together in stages, starting with the sides and the top, middle and bottom panels. Measure diagonally to be sure the cabinet is square. Glue in the shelves and drawer dividers later. This two-stage method doesn’t require as many long clamps. 

Click any image to view a larger version.


Assemble the doors in two steps. First glue and clamp the two middle rails to the stiles and check for squareness. Then add the top and bottom rails and recheck to make sure the assembly is square.


The protruding drawer bottoms act as  stops by bumping the back of the cabinet. Install each drawer and measure how far it protrudes beyond the face frame. Trim that much from the drawer bottom’s back edge to make the drawer flush. 


Rout a rabbet on the top of the base. The rabbet creates a shadow line that hides slight dimensional differences between the cabinet and the base.  Clamp on a support block to make the router ride smoothly and a 1/8-in. spacer to compensate for the apron’s setback. 


Install the inside door first, then the outside door. Installing both doors takes less than a minute. 


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker September 2007, issue #130.

September 2007, issue #130

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