Spend Father’s Day in the workshop this year and pass on your DIY woodworking skills to the next generation. Here’s a simple project that gives your child the chance to spend the day with Dad and get hands-on DIY experience.
The parts for this bookcase are cut from standard-sized pine, costing about $120 in total. It has five shelves, including the top and base, four legs and a back made of four boards. The laminated decorative top panel is made by joining two boards with biscuits.
For extra strength, the shelves and legs are also secured with biscuit joints, using a biscuit joiner to cut the slots.
Cut the timber parts to length and bevel the legs with a mitresaw, and use a router to chamfer the decorative top.
TIP You can also use a circular saw or handsaw and leave the top edge square.
Cutting the biscuit slots
Clamp the fence to the work surface and butt each side against it. Centre the biscuit joiner on the marks, then cut the slots at the ends.
Mark the shelf positions on the sides, then clamp the fence and align the biscuit joiner with the slot centre marks to cut the slots.
Cut the edge slots on the top, the sides, and on the ends of the shelves, pressing the biscuit joiner base plate firmly to the workbench.
Use a pencil and measuring tape to mark the parts, drawing lines across the boards with a try square. Clamp each board securely to a mitresaw base plate and cut to length.
Position the sides edge to edge with the inside faces up. Mark the base lines for the shelves 224mm apart across both sides using a builder’s square and a pencil.
On the sides, mark biscuit slot centres 50 and 325mm from each end. Position each side between two legs with their tops flush, then transfer the centre marks to the legs.
Secure two pieces of scrap timber to a plywood square at right angles to make a jig, then clamp it to a mitresaw fence, cutting a 10° bevel to extend 75mm up from the base of each leg.
Use a temporary fence to align the biscuit joiner to cut the slots. Apply PVA adhesive in the slots of one side and onto the biscuits using a small flat brush, then insert the biscuits.
Apply adhesive to the shelf ends and tap into position on the side. Add the other side, measure the diagonals to check for square, then secure with sash clamps until the adhesive dries.
Use a router and 45º chamfering bit to bevel the front and sides of the edge-laminated top. Drill 4mm clearance holes through the top shelf to secure with screws from underneath.
Spread PVA adhesive in the slots and along the front edge of the sides, then insert the biscuits. Position the legs with the bevel on the inside, then tap into position, clamping until dry.
Position one back board at a time, flush with the top and base shelves, drill 2mm pilot holes and secure with screws. Sand the bookcase with 180 grit abrasive paper, then apply a finish.