Book Cabinet Project Begins

Prototype
Prototype

A convergence of inspirations lead me to design a book cabinet. As many woodworkers know, Lost Art Press publishes a unique catalog to very high standards. Such books deserve an honorable and secure home. Bookcases and shelves in our home serve to attract and store dust, lots and lots of dust. so book cabinets are strongly preferred for books that matter to us.

Inspiration Number Two came from an 2015 FineWorking article by Hank Gilpin on his very cool leg design. I wanted to flatter his work by incorporating his ideas into a project.

Honduras Mahogany from the rivers of Belize
Honduras Mahogany from the rivers of Belize

Inspiration Number Three came from a shipment of sinker Honduras Mahogany from Greener Lumber. They salvage material from rivers in Belize (formerly British Honduras) that had been harvested perhaps 150-180 years ago and floated down the river to ships waiting to take the material to England. Many of those logs sank and have been waiting for us ever since. Check out Rich Petty’s web site for more details including videos. I love working with material with a story.

I began the process by making some legs in poplar to see how the process might go. After milling the leg blanks, I cut some mortises for the stretchers. The long rip cuts are marked on the leg ends. First cuts are 45 degrees, followed by perpendicular cuts to create the “fin.” The fin is tapered at the band saw using a sled to hold the correct orientation. I marked a curve on the outer edge and made the round over with a block plane. Rasps and chisels created a tapered, scalloped look on the inner leg bottom.

I made this mockup back in February and have worked intermittently on the next stages over the past five months. A number of smaller projects and activities also slowed the process. One disadvantage of working in this manner is that you lose continuity and confidence. I create a rough outline of a plan for overall dimensions and material planning, but do not flesh out the details on paper. After being away from a project for a bit it is challenging to remember all the grand ideas and intended sequencing floating around the memory banks.

I believe I am on track now, so I’ll be updating the blog with posts of the process. I like working slowly and savoring the process, but I prefer to work in a more regular fashion when possible. If you’d like to follow along, you can subscribe to the blog on the left of these pages. This should be a good ride. Thank you.

One thought on “Book Cabinet Project Begins”

  1. Oh, I love the Gilpinoid leg. I saw the same article and was thinking about it for the crib but it’ll have to wait for the next project. Looking forward to the build, Tom.

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