Bookcase Woodworking Plan

Bookcase Woodworking Plan

You can never have enough shelves, that’s for certain. And shelves are even more useful if they are adjustable. This bookcase is made from solid oak and oak pre-veneered MDF. The four little drawers are ideally suited for CDs or perfect for tidying away odds and ends.

Bookcase Woodworking Plan


• Table saw, planer, and thicknesser (or buy prepared wood)
• Sliding compound mitre saw
• Bandsaw
• Router, router table, and 5 mm (3/16 in) and 10 mm (3/8 in) straight cutters
• Crosshead screwdrivers
• Cordless driver, screwdriver bit, and twist bits to suit shelf pegs and fixings
• Orbital sander, sanding block and 80-grit, and 600-grit sandpaper
• Block plane
• Spokeshave
• Pencil, ruler, tape measure, try square
• Four sash clamps
• Wood: see drawing – oak, oak pre veneered MDF, MDF, oak-faced plywood, and oak iron-on veneer edging strip
• Iron
• Cam dowels fixings: 16
• Fluted dowels: 2
• Knobs of your choice
• Shelf pegs to suit your requirements
• Plugs and screws for fixing bookcase to the wall
• Expansion plates: 4
• PVA glue, water, and cloth
• Finishing oil and wax
• Oiling and polishing cloth



1. Preparing the wood

Cut and plane the legs to finished size. Prepare the rails, leaving them longer than needed; use the try square to check that the edges are square to the faces. Cut the sides and back from pre-veneered MDF, taking care not to damage the edges of the veneer. Mark the tapers on the bottoms of the legs, cut them with the bandsaw, and plane smooth.

2. Shaping the bottom rail

Mark out the curve on the bottom rail. The curve should look smooth and symmetrical: plan out one half on a piece of paper, then cut it out and use it as a template to draw around, flipping it over to mark out the other half of the curve on the bandsaw and use the spokeshave to smooth the edge.

3. Joining the MDF boards to the legs

The MDF boards are joined to the legs with cam-dowel joints, and the legs are joined to the rails with cam-dowels and wooden dowels. Mark the location of the holes for the cams and dowels, then drill them. Assemble the structure and check that it is square. Take it apart and sand the legs and rails smooth.


4. Edging the boards

The edges of the pre-veneered MDF boards require edging, We have used pre-glued veneer edging that is ironed on, but you could also use solid wood lipping of 5 mm (3/16 in) thickness or more. Center the veneer strip on the edge, press down hard with the hot iron, and follow immediately with a block of wood, rubbing the block back and forth to fix the veneer as the glue bond cools down.

5. Cutting the housing joints for the drawers

The drawers are held together with housing joints. Set up the router in the router table, fitted with the 5 mm (3/16 in) straight cutter. Cut right through the front and back of the drawers to produce a housing groove as shown above. Reset the router with the 10 mm (3/8 in) straight cutter for rebating the sides. Practice on a scrap of wood of the same thickness to achieve a tightly fitting joint.

6. Cutting the grooves in the drawer bottom

Reset the router table with the 5 mm (3/16 in) straight cutter and cut grooves right through the sides, front, and back of the drawers.


7. Gluing the drawers together

Cut bottoms for the drawers: measure the length and width based on the grooves you have cut. Make the bottoms fractionally smaller than these dimensions so that they do not prevent the drawer joints from closing up. Practice clamping before you apply the glue (use offcuts to prevent the clamps marking the wood). Check that the drawer is square and allow the glue to dry.

8. Finishing

Plane the top, sides, and base of the drawers (if uneven); sand with the orbital sander. Assemble the carcass. Fit the top on using expansion plates. Use the fluted dowels to reinforce the com-dowel joints between the bottom rail and the sides. Check that the drawers fit and make adjustments. Make the shelves, edged with iron-on veneer. They should fit loosely. Apply two coats of finishing oil followed by one coat of wax polish. Fit the drawer knobs.


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