Sunday, October 23, 2011

Simple T&G Bookshelf

Don't ask what possessed me to suddenly get organized, but I got it in my head one day that I wanted all my woodworking books and magazines in the shop and grouped into categories.

Sometimes even right-brained people like a little orderliness.

If you're like me, you have books and magazines all over your house tucked away in various nooks and crannies.  So, when I gathered them all together I realized I needed another bookshelf.

Because I had moved some machinery that I rarely use into the basement—full-size lathe, router table, hollow chisel mortiser, and belt/disc sanding center—I was able to move a utility bench away from a crowded corner to use as a work surface and to house some books.

In the spirit of simple boarded furniture, I decided to use nails for fasteners, rabbets and dados for the carcase, and tongue & groove joinery for the back boards.

This meant that I had the opportunity to use the new Lie-Nielsen tongue & groove plane* that I bought at a recent hand tool event.  What a fun handplane!  It's an ingenious design and works perfectly.

The bookshelf fits beneath the utility bench. It isn't fancy, but it is functional and practical, and was able to be built in a weekend due to the simple joinery.

*I do not work for Lie-Nielsen nor do I benefit in any way from the sale of their tools. 


Marilyn in Seattle said...

Ewww!! I've been lusting over the T&G plane. How do you like it? From your post I would guess its a keeper? You bought the #48 (3/4")? I was thinking the 1/2" for backs might do well also.

I have some bathroom wainscot I want to make as well and was thinking 1/2". Hmmm ..

Kari Hultman said...

Marilyn, I love the plane and know I'll get a lot of use out of it. I debated for a long time over which one to get—the 3/4" or 1/2"—and decided on the 3/4".

upriver said...

I was going to ask the same question, bummer that its not a simpler fence adjustment or iron change. 3/4 seems the more powerful option, but 1/2" would sure be nice for those little shelf bottoms etc. sigh.

Badger Woodworks said...

I picked up a vintage Stanley tongue and groove plane a while back, and it is quite handy to have.

Nice work on the book shelf, looks great in your shop.

Ross said...

Kari - can you tell us more (and show more pictures) of the incredibly cool tool cabinet in the upper left above the bench?

Kari Hultman said...

Upriver, I figured I could always plane the 3/4" boards down a bit after I created the tongue and groove joint. However, you couldn't plane them all the way down to 1/2" because the walls of the groove would be too thin. It was definitely a tough choice.

Badger, I've never been able to find a nice set of antique T&G planes, but it would be great to find ones for 1/2" boards.

Ross, that is a reproduction of a cupboard at the Ephrata Cloister, If you do a search on my blog for "Ephrata Cloister Cupboard" the first three hits have to do with it. Also, search "wooden hinges" and I show how I made them. The other search is a post called "Almost Done." I think that's all of them.

Sean Wisniewski said...

I have that LN plane and love it. Cheated on a frame and panel carcass and even used it to remove what I could from the stopped grooves in the legs.

tom buhl said...

About once a year I think of a central storage unit (or two) for woodworking mags and books. But the rate of expansion of this collection makes my brain burst and I move on.

Isn't it nice to have fresh space?!
No basement or secondary storage for me, but I have strong urge to purge.

Shannon said...

I was just enjoying the fun and curious twin shavings while using this plane last night. To those commenting above wondering whether to buy the 3/4 or 1/2 version I cannot make the decision easier. I bought the 3/4 version several years ago when I was fed up with my vintage Stanley that had seen better days. I love it so much that I bought the 1/2" model a few months ago specifically to use on thinner backer boards and such.

Sigh. I also do not work for Lie Nielsen but I do benefit from the purchase of their tools. ;)

PS: Kari, nice work on the book storage. I just did the same thing this weekend for our laundry room. Detergent not books.

mdhills said...

The T&G plane has always struck me as one of the near-perfect, specialty tools that does one thing and does it really, really well.

I was wondering about the sizing too. How often do you need to put tongue & grooves on 3/4" stock? (seemed like 1/2" would be more common for furniture backs)

And on storing your book collections in the shop -- they look nice, but aren't these going to get buried in dust? Did you consider a barrister-style door for the bookcases??


Bob said...

In the big Poker game of disorganisation, I'll "see" your "all over your house tucked away", and "raise" you a "in two different countries".
I don't know if I'll ever be able to get my copies of FWW reorganised again. :(
I'm just hoping I can put them all back in order. They used to be so nicely sorted too...

PABLO said...


I purchaseg a pair of 3/4" match planes from hyperkitten. They worked right out of the box, but I could not resist disambly to fettle with them. While apart I studied them with the intention of making 1/2" set, also with minor changes I could make Dado set.


DaveG said...

WOW that's a clean shop!

Theodore said...

and thank you for sharing!
Just for the sake of nitpicking I would say that those nails on the end grain don't hold well. That isn't much of a problem, if you glued the rabbets, or if you drove dowels vertically to where the nails are.

Best Regards from Belgium

Kari Hultman said...

Sean, way to think outside the box. :D

Tom, I was ruthless and went through all my books and magazines. I hauled a bunch down to the local library and am taking three boxes of magazines to my club meeting. From now on I'll be very selective about the books I buy.

Shannon, I bet I end up buying the 1/2" someday. It would really come in handy for drawer bottoms and thinner backer boards, as you pointed out. I'm going to make a bunch of storage boxes for the house, too.

Matt, I really struggled with the decision. I was all set to buy the 1/2" but then thought that I could use the 3/4" and plane the boards down (somewhat) if needed. Surpisingly, I don't get much sawdust at all on my books. I've had the other three shelves in my shop since 2004 and haven't had any trouble. I made the new one kind of shallow so it sits back underneath the workbench. Should be relatively dust-free, too.

Bob, you win! Thanks for the chuckle. :o)

Paul, that's a great idea to make your own. A rabbet plane with two nickers would also be very beneficial. Thanks for the idea.

Dave, it's usually fairly tidy unless I'm in the middle of a big project. It's cleaner than our house anyhow...

Theodore, I used glue along with the nails, so it should be fine. I don't think I'd trust just using nails for the reason you mentioned. There won't be any stress on the bookshelf so it should hold together for my lifetime.

Docwks said...

I love the shelf and Lie-Nielsen tools. Over the weekend I made a carving bench for the back porch and started on a carved wooden bowl. Love the cooler weather we are finally starting to have.

Chris Adkins said...

As many of you know a group of us Georgia woodworkers have gotten together a few times over the summer and had a great time. It is a great group of guys and I really enjoy us talking and learning from each other. So far we have met at different locations with no regularly scheduled dates. It is difficult to keep this going as I will tend to procrastinate until last minute which is what I did this last meeting. In the end there were only four of us but many other keep asking to be left...