Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Traveling bookcases in elm 1, start up of project.

I had the idea of making a set of traveling bookcases (from Campaign Furniture) for my daughter Laura, since she was going to attend a boarding type high school. I think that I originally had the plan to make them for the Christmas 2015, but I never got around to complete them.
Next chance was her birthday this year, but the building of the barn sort of got in the way - so I failed that too.. (I am kind of a shitty father in that respect).

But  with the upcoming DCBE (Danish Chair Building Extravaganza) I figured that I had to get the project in gear so I had something to show to the people coming up here.

I actually know pretty precise when the project halted to a stop. That was when I had to make the rabbets for the shelves, and I found out that it was quite a big job to do that with a backsaw.
I made the rabbets for one side of one bookcase, which meant that I had seven more sides to go.
By chance I invested in a hand held router of a decent quality, because I needed one for making the grooves in the floor boards for the barn. Suddenly it dawned upon me that theoretically I could cross over to the dark side and for once attempt to incorporate a router in one of my projects.
So that is what I did. Though it isn't handwork it sure was easy - and it got the project rolling again.

I already had the panels glued up and the dovetails cut (half blind) for the carcases, so once I had the dados routed out, the project took a great leap forward.

The glue up was remarkably easy, using liquid hide glue sure helps to give some extra time for clamping and making sure all is square.

After the glue up, I have made the recesses for the hinges on both sets and installed the half mortise chest lock on one of the bookcases. That bookcase has had the hinges temporarily installed to test how it looks, and also to help establish the positions for the strike plate for the lock.

My plan is to install the lock in the second bookcase next, and then I plan on moving on to the shelves and drawers etc.

Traveling bookcase in elm.

The two bookcases placed on the workbench.

Half blind dovetails for the carcases.





16 comments:

  1. Beautiful! It looks like you are practically done.

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    1. Thanks.
      I still think installing the hardware might take some time too..
      Cheers
      Jonas

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  2. Very nice work and that elm looks fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Greg.
      I am looking forward to finishing the elm with some dark shellac. I think that will make it look even better.
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  3. Beautiful, you just added these to my project list. Do you think your in-house professional photographer would be willing to shoot some more pictures for us?

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    1. Hi Jefski
      Thanks.
      I'll ask the in-house photographer if he will assist me again. I am embarrassed that it is so obvious that I took these pictures myself. But I id take the family camera though.
      To my defence it should be noted that I took the pictures about 11 pm, so I didn't want to bother Gustav at that time.
      But I am sure he will appreciate your request a lot :-)
      Brgds
      Jonas

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    2. Gustav just is a lot better than I am for taking pictures.. :-)

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  4. It's funny that you did this post about waiting so long because I'm making a wall cabinet with roughly the same construction and today I was wishing I'd let it sit a good time longer because the halves have warped and bowed a bit since the hinges and lock were installed.

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    1. Hi Paul
      For this project I have done something that I picked up at a class at Dictum in Germany some years ago: When I am not working on the piece, I clamp all the boards to the top of the workbench. Just all the flat boards on top of each other and then a couple of battens to prevent the clamps to mar the surface. That seems to help minimise twisting and warping if the project takes a long time.
      My biggest concern will be how it react once it comes inside. My shop is a lot more damp than the average house, so my wood movement problems can nearly all the time be seen as shrinkage problems. So this time I have tried to allow for that.
      Good luck with your wall cabinet.
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  5. Cool project Jonas,
    the Elm is looking great.
    I don't like to say it, but actually I understand you very well. I've got a lot of projects in the queue and I spend most of my time with prepping wood. This night I've dreamed about a thickness planer.
    Cheers,
    Stefan

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    1. Hi Stefan
      Thanks for your nice comment.
      The problem is that it is so easy to start a new project, but they always take a lot longer than you anticipate.
      I have an old thickness planer, and that really helps a lot in preparing wood for projects. The two machines I use the most are my table saw and the thickness planer.

      Cheers
      Jonas

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  6. Looks fantastic, never new yew could look so nice.
    Silly question but a travelling bookcase how is it to be transported, books are extremely heavy surely your daughter will not be carrying.Rebates/dados? Question why did you not "stop" them.
    Great project with brass accessories it will look stunning.
    regards, Frank

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    1. Hi Frank.
      Thanks for the nice comment.
      Elm has some really impressive grain figures as far as I am concerned. It is not the easiest wood to work, but I think the results are worth it.
      Maura will not travel or move the bookcases with books inside them - though it would be possible. The idea behind the traveling bookcases are from back when the British Empire was at its pinnacle and people needed to bring some civilised furniture to the most remote corners of the earth.
      I think that back when the design was made the usual means of transport would be horse back or a camel or perhaps some underpaid natives. These will just be able to travel with her whenever she moves on to a university and also later in her life.

      The dados are stopped in the back, where the floating panel is inserted. They are not stopped in the front because the idea is that the shelves can be moved. Technically the lowest dado could be stopped, as it will form a top for a set of drawers, but I think it would look odd if all the rest of the dados were through, and this one wasn't.

      I bought the brass back when I started the project. Actually the only drawback to campaign style furniture in my opinion is that the hardware is kind of expensive.
      Brgds
      Jonas

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  7. I too like working elm. I found that if you use a very fine sandpaper with linseed oil gives it a nice finish, Sprinkle some charcoal on as you are sanding and it will take a nice darker colour. The sanding is not to make it smooth but to create a "slurry" from what would be dust, if there was no oil, which fills the pores. It will have a very warm silky finish this way.

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    1. Hi Johann.

      Thanks for the great tip.
      I think I'll try it out, but on a piece of scrap wood at first.
      My plan was to use a dark shellac, followed by a homemade paste wax.
      I just have to try if I can use shellac on top of a coat of linseed oil (I am really new to this shellac business..)
      Brgds
      Jonas

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