Cherry and Fir Bookcase
Subtle details add elegance to a simple frame-and-panel design
Synopsis: The project plans and step-by-step instructions in this article will lead you through the process of building an attractive and functional bookcase of cherry and fir. Peter Zuerner designed this spare and elegant piece that he now regularly stocks in his furniture shop. He minimized the number of parts with frame-and-panel construction that integrates the four legs. He also explains how to cut cove molding with a router bit and a dado set on the tablesaw. Even when filled with books, this piece of furniture appears light and graceful.
Several years ago, my sister Cicely was looking for a bookcase that would be attractive, functional and reasonably easy to move. The piece I designed and built for her is now one of the stock pieces in my furniture shop. I call it, appropriately, Cicely’s Bookshelf.
I wanted the bookcase to have a spare and elegant look, so I kept the frame parts to a minimum and elevated the piece off the floor by extending the corner posts to create four short legs. All four edges of the top, along with the front edge of each shelf, were given a generously sized cove to create the illusion of thinner stock. As a result, even when the piece is filled with books, it appears light and graceful.
Choose the wood with care
For me, the first and most important step in any furniture project is the process of selecting the wood. Consistent color and grain are important, and I’m always on the lookout for something interesting. I especially like to incorporate special grain or a natural defect. Not only does an odd grain or a small defect make each piece a bit more unique, it also provides a strong visual connection to the tree from which it evolved. For instance,…
Get the Full-Size Plan
CAD-drawn plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.