How to Build a Fireside Bookcase

Assembling the Face Frame Step 1

Pocket-hole joinery is used to assemble the face-frame parts. To mark where the shelf rails (J) meet the side stiles (H), put the side stiles in place on the bookcase. Also mark where the center stile will meet the bottom rail and shelf rail.

Step 2

Drill pocket holes in the backs of the parts -- two holes into the top of the side stiles, two into the ends of the bottom rail, and one hole into each end of each shelf rail and the center stile.

Step 3

After drilling all the holes, apply glue to mating pieces, butt them together, and drive screws into pocket holes. Wipe off the glue squeeze-out before it dries.

Step 4

Apply glue to the front edges of the bookcase, and put the face frame in place. Drill three pocket holes in the bottom of each shelf and drill the bottom of the top piece into the face frame. Drive one screw in the middle and one near each end. Screw the face frame in place.

What If... You Don't Have a Pocket-Hole Jig?

Pocket-hole joinery is handy because you don't need clamps, but there are other ways to attach the face frame. The easiest is to attach all the pieces directly to the bookcase with glue and 4d nails. This method is particularly effective if you will paint because when filled, nail holes will disappear. Even with a clear finish, filled nail holes look good if you use matching filler.

If you don't want to see nail holes, you can glue and clamp the face frame to the bookcase. If your clamp supply is limited, glue and clamp one piece at a time, giving the glue 30 minutes to set.

If you have a biscuit joiner or doweling jig, you can assemble the face frame as a unit and then glue and nail or clamp it in place.

Plugging Pocket Holes

The pocket holes in the bottom of the shelves will be mostly hidden by the face frame, but if you really want to make them undetectable, buy oak plugs designed to fill the pocket holes. Just glue them in place and sand flush.

Continued on page 6:  Installing the Doors and Back


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