Scott Bookcase FI

Reader Email: the Scott Bookcase in Oak

I get reader email from time to time. Most are questions concerning a woodworking plan, or the lack of a woodworking plan. For example, I have been asked more than once to make plans for either my router table or the miter saw stand I use.

But, the Scott Bookcase woodworking plan was the subject of the most recent email. Jeffrey T. asked this question…

I have been looking at many of the designs on your website. I have recently had a house built, and I would like to build the Scott bookcase for my office.

My office sits just off to the right of the entryway to the house. The entryway is an open 2-story foyer with oak steps and railing. The stairway borders the office, so the first 4-5 feet of my office wall is the staircase, so it is an open floor plan. We stained all of this ourselves with English Walnut stain (med. oak finish). I cannot find a bookcase that I like, so I want to build this one.

I would like the finish to be as close to the finish in my entryway as possible, but it would be really expensive to do the entire project out of oak. I would like to adjust the plans slightly to allow butting two of these bookcases together across my back wall. Are there areas of the project that I could use a different material to conserve cost and still match the oak in the house after staining?

The original Scott Bookcase was constructed using birch plywood, poplar, MDF and pine. Since the bookcase was painted white, I was able to mix materials which were best suited for the intended use. For example, I was able to use sheets of plywood for the backs. Plywood being solid creates lateral strength and is an easy way to keep the case from racking. Mixing materials also enabled me to control costs.

Jeffrey and I traded a couple of emails about ways to use oak as an accent wood. Transferring what I saw in my mind into an email can be difficult. Since I have the bookcase SketchUp model and a super good-looking red oak wood texture, I thought I would create images of what I envisioned.

Option 1
It was commonplace for early American cupboards to combine paint and natural wood finishes. Some would have a painted case with a natural back (see some killer examples here). I have always wanted to make a case piece this way, but never have…

Scott Bookcase Oak Back

Scott Bookcase Oak Back 34

This is a good look and a back made of oak still allows for mixed materials for the rest of the case work.

Option 2
This option uses oak as an accent for moldings…

Scott Bookcase BP 110613

Scott Bookcase BP 110613 sand

The second image shows a paint color which complements red oak and is but one color of several that works well with oak.

In my mind, option two is the better option from a construction perspective. Finding enough long, straight oak boards which are flat would be a challenge. A back made from slats would need to be created to allow for seasonal wood movement. This means rabbet joints along the long edges of the slats is needed, or splines could be used. Jeffrey wouldn’t have to bother with all of this if plywood is used for the back as in option two.

The only challenge with option two would be to find oak crown molding. I have seen it at a local lumber yard, so hopefully other lumber yards carry such molding as well.

To Jeffrey T., I hope this helps. Building two of these bookcases is quite an undertaking. I hope you will send me photos of the finished project.

* * *

You can view the Scott Bookcase woodworking plan by clicking here.

See how I built this bookcase by clicking here (all of these posts were imported from my old blog, and not all of them are formatted correctly).

 

Featured Image Page 9a

Another Update on my Woodworking Plan

I have made some really good progress on the window seat bookcase, but I am not yet to a point where I have a blog post ready. I have the slats for the bottom shelves cut to final thickness and width. This meant re-sawing and feeding the subsequent slats through my planer. The planer is a terribly loud machine which makes a ton of dust if it is not connected to a dust collector (mine isn’t). But it is a handy tool to have. Also, I bought a nifty measuring tool which I played around with yesterday causing a little delay in my work. I’ll have more on all of this soon.

At the same time, I am also making progress on my next woodworking plan titled You Can Make an Apartment Dining Table.

Since my last update on the new woodworking plan, I have a few more pages completed and at least minor changes to every page; some significant changes (click to enlarge)…

Page 6 used to look like this.
Page 6 used to look like this.
Page 6 now looks like this.
Page 6 now looks like this.

I did not like all the empty space on page six, so I took part of the image on page seven and moved it to page six. Also, note the change in border at the top and bottom of the page; I did not like the dashed line.

Page 7 used to look like this.
Page 7 used to look like this.
Page 7 now looks like this.
Page 7 now looks like this.

My daughter who is pretty experienced with Photoshop helped me with the gradient which was applied to the top and right edges of the image (see some of her delicious photography here). This fade to white look is nice.

Then, new pages look like this…

Page 8 - the image in the upper left is a first for me.
Page 8 – the image in the upper left is a first for me.
Page 9 - big color on this page. Using a workbench model as a prop.
Page 9 – big color on this page. Using a workbench model as a prop.
Page 10 - using saw horses as props.
Page 10 – using saw horses as props.

To get the image on page ten, I went through a variety of different looks before settling on what you see above. Here is the sequence of images I developed on the way to the final one…

I used Photoshop to blur the workbench in hopes of adding depth.
I used Photoshop to blur the workbench in hopes of adding depth. I was pretty pleased with how this looked.
With the base clamped up and again using a blur technique on the workbench.
With the base clamped up and again using a blur technique on the workbench. Also, two of the clamps should not be there.

These two images were originally planned to be on the same page in a step one, step two process. In the end, I felt this was too complex and one image would be better. I did use Photoshop to blur the workbench which I thought was a novel idea, but ultimately the blurred image wasn’t used. This lead to the images below…

A nice image; no blur, but the workbench serves no purpose in this image. Also, there are too many clamps.
A nice image; no blur, but the workbench serves no purpose in this image. Still too many clamps.
The correct number of clamps and no workbench.
The correct number of clamps and no workbench.
The image I used: here key components are highlighted in blue.
The image I used: here key components are highlighted in blue.

It took me five different images before I got one that worked best. I bring this up only to say that making a woodworking plan is a lot of work; at least it is for me, and this is just what I went through to develop page 10. Yikes!

Next up: documenting the construction of the table top which has pegged breadboard ends. I suspect another three pages will be all it will take to complete the plan. Stay tuned.

Pre-Work Woodworking

So after spending a lot of time with my two SketchUp projects, I am now getting burned out with SketchUp. Back to the workshop; here are a couple of photos to get re-oriented with my current woodworking project, because it has been a while…

Two cherry planks waiting to be cut up.
Two cherry planks waiting to be cut up.
Cherry slats for the bottom shelf.
Cherry slats for the bottom shelf.

Most weekdays I get up at 5:30. When my schedule allows it, I’ll try to get 30 minutes of shop time before work. I call this pre-work woodworking – such a great way to start the day. :)

My sister has the new iPhone and says the camera quality is great. I’m not happy with the photos from my iPhone 5S. Maybe time for an upgrade?

My last blog post on the project is here. My goal is to have the bottom shelf finished by this weekend and I’ll have a more detailed update then.

5a

Progress on the Apartment Dining Table Plan

I’m taking a little break from woodworking. But I am deep into the process of making my next woodworking plan. My goal with this plan is to expand the use of color and typography, but at the same time scrutinize the use of color in illustrations so I can better communicate the construction process.

There have been some minor changes to previously completed pages; namely I switched the body text to a san serif font. More and more I am favoring Georgia as a headline font and Franklin Gothic for text. Click the images to enlarge…

Page 1 - the back story about the project.
Page 1 – the back story about the project.
Page 2 - main dimensions.
Page 2 – main dimensions.
Page 3 - cut list and exploded view.
Page 3 – cut list and exploded view.
Page 4 - Creating the legs.
Page 4 – Creating the legs.
Page 5 - completing the legs by drilling holes.
Page 5 – completing the legs by drilling holes.
Page 6 - creating the table aprons.
Page 6 – creating the table aprons.
Page 7 - creating the front and back aprons.
Page 7 – creating the front and back aprons.

Seven pages is all I have so far. In addition to changing fonts, I keep making other subtle changes all in hopes of making a visually interesting woodworking plan which is easy to follow. An example is page three – this is the original image of the exploded view…

The original image on page 3.
The original image on page 3.
The updated image.
The updated image.

The wood color can actually make it harder to see all the components and their shapes especially since I love using shadows in my illustrations. To give you an idea of how much is involved in creating a single page, I have changed several pages as many as four times as I look for better ways to use SketchUp images and the available page space. Right now, as I look at page 6, I am not liking all the white space. Hummmm…

I envision this plan being as long as 10-12 pages. I’ll have more soon.

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