Going Strong, Cheap & Interlocking :) Building a Bookcase
Sometimes it's nice to switch things up a bit, don't you think? While I love using nice hardwood or quality plywood (Have you seen the gorgeous cherry plywood I’m using on my built-in- library! 😍), every now and then it's fun to go basic. And that's what I did with this project.
I built a super sturdy, cheap bookcase using four 8 ft 2x6s, and interlocking joinery. It's really the perfect weekend project, or beginner project since you don't need a lot of tools, in fact - you can make this entire build with simply a jigsaw. Another thing that I really like about this project is the fact that it is so affordable - a 2x6 costs around $5, and for this project you needs four boards. Or perhaps you should buy five, that way if you mess up, you can simply start over, and it’s really not a big deal.
Lately I’ve been fascinated by the concept of oversized joinery, so I figured it would be fun to try out making joinery that looks like box joints, however on a grander scale. So that’s what I did - nothing fancy, nothing complicated, however the end result looks rather interesting I think!
Now, this is what I did:
For this entire build, I'm using kiln dried 2x6s, and it's a good idea to find the straightest ones you can. I went through 20 or so in the store and picked out the best ones. This project will be a lot more annoying if your boards are all twisted.
The first step is cutting the boards to size. You could use a jig saw, a miter saw, a handsaw for this step....
Four 2x6 boards measuring 47 inches
Four 2x6 boards measuring 36 inches.
Next, mark out all the cuts on ALL sides of the boards.
Next step is cutting out all the markings. A jig saw is the perfect tool for this, or you could use a handsaw and a chisel.
If you use a jig saw, it's important that the cuts are really precise. To accomplish this I recommend cutting on one side first, and then turning it over to complete the cut on the other side. Since the wood is so thick, the blade tends to bend slightly, and you solve this problem by turning the board over.
Don't make the fit too tight, I cut on the line, it's easier to assemble if nothing is too tight.
First of all, make sure that each cut isn't too tight, by doing a trial fit. If it's too tight a squeeze, use a chisel or the jig saw to carve out the notches slightly.
Once you have a good fit, glue the sections together, assembling one section at a time.
You can combine two clamps to make a super long clamp if you want to ensure that the wood goes together nicely. Don't over-clamp however, or you might twist the wood.
Next, using leftover scraps of the 2x6s, cut up four pieces that measure 1.5 x 6 inches.
Then place the two glued-up sections next to each other and glue in the connecting pieces. Use clamps if you have to. Start with one side, then flip the bookcase over and add the other two. If the wood seems a little out of alignment, simply use the clamps to force it in place. Remember, this is framing lumber, so some twists and weirdness is to be expected.
If you want, you can add a few pins with a nailer or screws to the side to secure the boards in place.
To round over the protruding sections, use a hand-held router with a round-over bit in all the corners. Next, use a sander and sand all over to get a smooth surface. Next up, finish the piece if you'd like - shellac, polyurethane, stain, paint, there are a ton of options!
Of course, make sure to watch the video for the complete build!