All of this is self-imposed

I’m learning a lot with the construction of this commissioned office suite. One of the things I am learning is to over-budget slightly for materials and to make sure I have just a little more than I need, because invariably that will be exactly what I need.

I’m also learning about managing another precious resource: time, or at least my perception of it.

It has been nearly three weeks since I glued up the desk top for the office suite and although I haven’t stopped working on it it feels like it has taken forever to move from raw lumber to panels and boards that are ready to become furniture. I don’t do this for a living, and I’m generally not in a rush about things like this so I’m not sure why I suddenly feel this way. If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s because this is the first major thing I have built for someone else. The client is not in a rush, so that’s not the issue. I just sometimes feel the desire to be finished so I can show them the fullness of the vision in my head. I want them to see what I see and affirm that all of the choices along the way have lead to an acceptable outcome. All of this is self-imposed. I know that.

Perhaps I just need to put a date on the calendar far enough in the future that I can get it off my mind.

In any event, this is a big week because I will have all of the materials ready to begin cutting the joinery on the book case, and once the joinery is cut I expect that to come together quickly. I found a good source for walnut boards to make the back of the case and will be able to do the whole back in three beautiful 12.5″wide boards.

I know this is the back, and I could have used lesser boards, but when you look at a bookcase (that is not chock full like all of the ones in my house), the back is a major point of visual interest. I wanted it to be nice.

I also encountered an issue with one of the panels that I glued up having too much bow in it to flatten out at 3/4″ so I bought two more boards to make shelves. At 14″ wide it’s almost a shame to cut them back, but the other shelf I have is only 11.5″ and I don’t really want to make that a 3 piece panel. That’s still a sufficient depth in my experience, especially as the client doesn’t tend to collect large over-sized volumes.

Oh yeah, and the side panels are beautiful. Just sayin’


One change I do intend to make to the design is in regard to the kick and back rail. Rather than use a stopped dado for the back rail and rely on nails and one long grain glue joint for the kick I’m going to let both of them in with sliding tapered dovetails. The bookcase will follow the rest of the design notes from the example in ‘The Anarchist’s Design Book’ but I like the idea that the sliding dovetails will provide resistive force against the sides coming off (other than just glue and nails) and that it will also provide something of a frame to tighten everything up without going to the extreme of cutting sliding dovetails for the shelves (an idea I also toyed with).

The client wants the nails in the shelves. This is a happy compromise for me.


I got far enough to mock up the bottom shelf and kick this morning before work. It felt very good.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Looks good.

    Where did you get those nails?


    1. I ordered them from Dictum in Germany.


      1. Thanks. I’ve never seen a head like that. I recall the LAP posts about those but I guess I forgot about the detail on the heads. Does Tremont make anything like that?


      2. They make headed nails, but nothing with the 4 facet “blacksmith” look that these Roman nails have. The shipping is a little steep, but you can ship 600 for the same price as 100 so you can take advantage of that.


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