Caseback Detail

first cut across the left side, beginning at the front corner and working toward the rear. Make the second cut across the front, beginning at the right corner, and then the third cut across the right side, working from the rear to the front. This progression of cuts helps eliminate tearout at the corners.

The narrow submolding applied just below the top should be shaped on a wider board. Then you can rip the thin molding from that board. I shaped the edge molding on the base and the top submolding with the same ogee bit (when applied, the sub-molding is turned upside down).

Plywood back fits in rabbets in the sides.

Ogee Curve Plywood

Rear bracket is tenoned into base.

Base hides fasteners.

Plywood back fits in rabbets in the sides.

Base hides fasteners.

Rear bracket is tenoned into base.

Mahogany bookcase with a period pedigree

With its elegant bracket feet and dovetail joinery, this mahogany bookcase is more challenging to build. But in the end, you'll have an heirloom piece that will last for generations.

Locking the carcase together with dovetail joints makes for a solid foundation onto which to attach the top, back, shelves, and ogee bracket feet. I used lapped dovetails to attach the top stretchers to the sides and to attach the rear bracket feet to the ogee bracket feet. The bottom shelf connects to the sides with sliding dovetails.

The face frame is of simple mortise-and-tenon construction. The top rail should be wider than the other pieces because a portion of it will be covered by the submolding below the top. A face frame gives the bookcase front a substantial appearance. The drawback is that books can get trapped behind the frame.

Begin by assembling the sides, stretchers, and bottom shelf, being sure to keep the case square. Next, apply the face frame to the front and filler frame at the bottom (the filler frame provides a mounting place for the bracket-feet frame). The filler pieces can be assembled with biscuits or mortise-and-tenon joints. Now assemble and attach the bracket-feet frame, which is a mitered assembly reinforced with splines.

The ogee bracket feet added to this case certainly elevate its design. The feet are made from one long blank. First, mark the shape on the end of the workpiece. Rough out the concave area. Raise the sawblade to the height of the concave curve and then position the blank diagonally until the blade fills the curve. Clamp a straightedge to the table, parallel to the piece, lower the blade, and take very light passes, biting off no more than Vie in. at a time. If the blade starts to sing wildly, the cut is too deep or the pass across the blade is too rapid.

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