Build a Trapezodial Bookcase
This Arts and Crafts-styled piece combines through-tenon joinery and biscuit-anchored shelves. Excerpted from the Niall Barrett book Bookcases.
I don’t think I’ve ever built a perfect reproduction. Even when I really like an existing design, I need the piece to be slightly larger, I prefer some technique over one used in the original construction, or I don’t have the exact materials. In any case, I think that one of the more enjoyable aspects of woodworking is trying new ideas and combinations. So it is with this bookcase, and twice over.
I based the design of this bookcase on one made by David Fay, a furniture maker in Oakland, California, who based his design on a turn-of-the-century Roycroft magazine pedestal. David’s version strayed from the original somewhat, and my design strays from David’s. The results are three versions of the same bookcase, with an overall look in common.
As is the case with much Arts and Crafts furniture, the essential decorative elements of all versions of this piece are the construction details, including the canted sides for stability and the wedged, locking through-tenons. In his interpretation of the original, David left these elements intact, but he omitted the molded crown and used cherry (instead of fumed white oak) and contrasting panga panga wood wedges and shelf supports.
My bookcase is identical to David’s, but I used ash with zebrawood for the wedges. I also made mine knockdown for transporting.
Niall Barrett runs Avalon Studios, a custom woodworking shop in Narrowsburg, NY. He specializes in custom-made cabinetry for Manhattan apartments, though he has done some commercial work, including consoles for CBS studios. Barrett has written several popular articles for Fine Woodworking on glue and knock-down designs.
From Bookcases, pp. 81-93