How to Build a Children's Bookrack

Cutting and Drilling the Sides Step 1

Lay out opposing shelf sides back-to-back. Using T-square and pencil, transfer marks from diagram onto both pieces of wood.

Step 2

Mark the center points for the dowel holes on one side. Clamp that side atop the other and drill through them together to make the 3/4-inch-diameter dowel holes.

Step 3

Use a saber saw to cut the shape on the front of each side piece. Don't try to cut them together -- saber saw blades tend to wander when making thick cuts. Use a palm sander or sandpaper on a block to smooth the cuts and slightly round the front edges.

Side Overview

The diagram shows how to lay out the sides, the positions of the shelves, and centers of the dowel holes.

Options to Consider: A Slightly Slicker Bookrack

For a more streamlined look, eliminate the top and bottom overlaps. Instead make the top and bottom pieces the same length as the shelves, and make the sides 1-1/2 inches longer. Install the top and bottom between the sides. You can also cover the screw and dowel holes with flush plugs instead of mushroom plugs.

Prevent Drill Bit Blow-Out

A drill bit, especially a large spade bit, can splinter the back surface of the wood as it exits the hole. If both sides of the hole will be visible in the finished project -- such as the dowel holes in the bookcase -- you can prevent this kind of damage by clamping a block of wood under the workpiece when you drill.

Round the Edges: Step 1

Before assembly, consider routing a complete roundover on the front and side edges of the bookcase. To make it on 3/4-inch-thick stock, put a 3/8-inch piloted roundover bit in your router and set the depth to 3/8 inch. Rout both sides of all front edges and the side edges of top and bottom pieces.

Round the Edges: Step 2

When routing the sides of the top and bottom pieces, you'll go across the grain, which may cause slight splintering at the front corner. So rout the sides first; the splintered corner will be removed when you rout the front edge.

Continued on page 4:  Assembling the Shelves


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