Improver’s make a book case

Posted by on Jul 31, 1916 in Courses, Improver's Furniture Courses | No Comments

Due to my semi-retirement this course is no longer offered.

However, you may find the series of free to watch online instructional videos below helpful.

Although seemingly mundane this course introduced  some important woodworking skills such as:

  • Creating a workshop drawing and creating a cutting list from the drawing.
  • Jointing and matching quarted veneers.
  • Laying veneer.
  • Inlaying.
  • Lap dovetailing.
  • Shaping using router and template.
  • Edge jointing.

bookcase made on course


Course Description

This course is more than just about making a book case! It is a good introduction to some of the traditional carcase jointing techniques such as lap and sliding dovetails, you will also use some more contemporary methods such as biscuiting. It also emphasises the importance of sound method based on an accurate full size workshop drawing which you will draw out before starting construction.

The course is based around making a book case with adjustable shelves.  The carcase and shelves are made entirely in the solid, while the top is a book-matched burr veneer on an MDF substrate with a wide solid lipping.  The joint between burr and lip is highlighted by ebony stringing. The design of the bookcase, for example the dimensions or the choice of wood, can be changed by prior arrangement.

About the course.

Not only will you make a book case with an elegant burr veneered top you will also get instruction and practice in the following techniques.

  • Developing a project from the original drawing, creating rods, workshop drawings  and cutting lists.
  • Edge-jointing boards.
  • Principles of wood movement.
  • Carcase construction.
  • Dovetailing a carcase using lap dovetails.
  • Cutting and fitting a sliding dovetail using router and router table.
  • Biscuit jointing.
  • Fitting adjustable shelves.
  • How to flatten buckled veneer.
  • Book-matching veneers.
  • Laying out and jointing veneers using a shooting board.
  • How to lay veneer using cauls (ie clamping between boards) and using a vacuum press.
  • Cutting and fitting inlay.
  • Carcase assembly techniques.

Some people like to develop their hand skills whilst others prefer machine woodwork. The course can be adjusted to cater for this within limits. For instance edge jointing by hand or using the planer.

The course has a maximum of four students, this ensures you will get close attention throughout. You will each be on a possibly challenging journey in woodwork so usually a sound sense of esprit de corps forms in the group.

On the first day of the course we usually decide on the final dimensions of each student’s piece. The case can be varied in height and width and also be made in different timbers. We can then draw up working drawings on white board from which a cutting list is be created. The drawing will be used as a reference throughout the making process

One the second day, to prevent bottle necks at particular machines, the class is split so some students work on the top first while the others tackle the carcase, hopefully you will cross half way! Those working on the carcase will edge joint boards to get the required width for the sides and shelves and then dimension them on the circular saw bench. Then they will mark out and cut the joints. Hand cut dovetail laps for the top rails and router cut sliding dovetails for the bottom. A template is used for drilling the peg holes for the adjustable shelves.

The top first group will book match their burr veneers and then, on the shooting board, shoot a good edge for jointing. The veneer is then laid using either cauls or a vacuum press. When the top panel comes out of pressing it is trimmed to size on the circular saw and the edging mitred round and glued. Lastly the chosen inlay is grooved into the join between edging and burr using a router.

This course is not for beginners. You should have some woodworking experience including accurate measuring and marking and being able to tell when a tool is blunt and how to sharpen it.

If you would like to discuss this please feel free to contact me on 01943 6092836.

Sorry this course no longer runs however you may find some of these free to watch instructional videos helpful

online woodwork course video
Watch online video woodwork instruction. Click for full list of videos in this series.

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Thankyou, Chris.