How to Build a Fireside Bookcase

Cutting the Face Frame Step 1

Crosscut an oak 1x6 to make the top rail (G) and an oak 1x2 to make the center stile. Then rip two 8-foot oak 1x4s to 3 inches wide and crosscut them to 90 inches to make the side stiles (H).

Step 2

Rip a piece of 1x4 oak to 2-1/4 inches wide for the bottom rail (I). Set up a stop at 24 inches on your mitersaw, tablesaw, or crosscutting jig. Use it to crosscut the bottom rail and then use it to cut three shelf rails (J) from oak 1x2s.

Step 3

To lay out the arched cutout in the top rail (G), start by drawing a line along its length 2-1/2 inches from the bottom as shown in the Top Rail Diagram. Set a compass to a 2-1/2-inch radius, set it on the pivot points shown, and draw the arcs.

Step 4

Clamp the top rail to a bench or sawhorses and use a jigsaw to cut out the arch in the top rail. Before cutting the curve, cut straight in from the edge to the curve layout at two or three points. These relief cuts allow waste to fall away and prevent the blade from bending too much as you cut the curve.

Top Rail Diagram
Options to Consider: Choosing Knobs or Pulls

The hardest part of installing knobs on your doors is deciding which ones to use. You may want to use pulls instead of knobs. To help you choose, take a look around the room where you'll install the bookcase. Are there knobs or pulls you would like to match? What's the style of the trim and furniture? You'll find knobs and pulls designed to complement Mission, Shaker, Colonial, and other styles.

Crosscutting with a Circular Saw

You can do an excellent job cutting the relatively narrow face-frame pieces simply by guiding a circular saw with an angle square. The secret to a clean cut is to put a 40-tooth finish blade on the saw. Don't force the cut -- fine blades take longer to cut the wood.

Continued on page 5:  Assembling the Face Frame


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