Keeping it Simple, or Not – #1LinerWeds

We are busy doing some much-needed yard work this week. Dirt and sod have been delivered and, if things go according to plan, I will erase the perimeter ruts created by Maddie and her three predecessors. I had planned to start this project last week, but the dirt couldn’t be delivered until Monday. That gave me a chance to make some progress on the mission bookcase I am working on.

If you look in the gallery, you might wonder about the vertical members (let’s just call them legs) in the early pictures. On each set, one leg appears to be longer than the other. That’s because I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle the transition of the bookcase to the floor. If that sounds crazy, do a search on “mission style bookcase.” If you check the images, you’ll see four possible treatments for the bottom of these cases.

  • Straight sides all around resting flush on the floor.
  • Straight sides all around but lifted off the floor by “legs” at each corner.
  • Arched sides all around, lifted off the floor by those little legs.
  • Legs without much in the way of a side panel.

I left the vertical members at their rough length, knowing that I could cut them after the sides were assembled to give me whatever look I wanted. When it came time to cut those side panels, I still couldn’t decide. So, I invited The Editor into the shop with,

“Could I trouble you for a design opinion?”

Now, the Editor might suggest that I go overboard with complex details, but she chose the most complicated of the four designs – stubby legs supporting arched rails all around. I think it’s a good choice.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.


  1. The precision and detail of your woodworking, Dan, is amazing–I still can’t figure out how you cut that curve. You probably made a good choice to have the baby bunny as the final photo. It is so cute that if it had been first, we all might have ignored the rest of the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike. The nice thing about making furniture like this is that people figured out the design elements over 100 years ago. You’re right, though, that baby bunny is a show stealer.


    • Don’t sigh too loud, I have plenty of less than professional projects, I just don’t show them. I have two short bookcases in our family room downstairs that are literally a bunch of 2x8s nailed together in the heat of the moment. I’d get rid of them in a heartbeat, but I’d have to find a place for everything that’s on them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have the tools, talent and creativity to create any design you choose, Dan. I’ve seen your work over the years and I have all the confidence in the world in you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww, thanks GP. I enjoy this work so much. There have been some challenging aspects to this small case, and there are a couple remaining, but it’s fun and I am going to like having this bookcase.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, if the editor chose the most complicated pattern, Dan, that tells you she has every confidence in you that you can do it. Your eye for precision and perfect is amazing! The editor is a lucky woman! Please tell her that from me. And oh, that bunny too cute!! And of course Maddie. I dare not NOT say anything about Maddie …. I don’t want any hurt feelings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Amy. Still, I think I might be the lucky one. A lot of wives would do the math and see much less time and money involved with buying a bookcase from Target and having it in place and half-filled already. She knows how much I enjoy woodworking, and she never does the math.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s no limit to what can be accomplished when a person knows what he’s doing… and you know your woodcrafting and carpentry. The arches are the perfect touch. That’s the style I would have chosen too. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    That bunny is so darn cute, barely taller than the grass. I hope he gets to live a long life. Maddie is so at home on her deck. She looks like she’s watching the grass grow! Lol. Hmmmm, I know some people who seem to do that! 🙄

    Why is MuMu hugging her shelf? Perhaps to prevent anyone from putting their glasses on it!? 😂

    Hope the rest of this week is fun and creative for you. Keep staying safe.
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. Now that the arches are cut, I have to agree. I was thinking that the straight rails with the little stubby legs would be fine, but this is better.

      The baby bunny is hard to find in the grass when it lays down. It’s sooooo little. I do hope it survives. We have stray cats roaming around the neighborhood, and we keep chasing them out of here.

      I have to confess, I woke MuMu up. She was sleeping, and I gave her a scritch on the head. Not a happy cat.

      I hope you’re having a nice week.


    • It’s hard to see in these photos, John but there’s a 3/16″ groove cut along the sides and the inside edges of the panels. That will hold a sold (cabinet grade plywood) back. I think I will use biscuits to join the rails to the sides (although I’m tempted to use pocket screws, since the bottom and middle rail will never see the light of day.

      As for shopping for books, this bookcase will be accepting overflow from other existing cases.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL… she might have a strategy of keeping you out of trouble by choosing the most complex design. The bookcase is looking gorgeous, Dan. For many years I had some that looked similar, but they weren’t anywhere near as well made as this. I think you’ll smile fondly every time you look at this one. You know I enjoyed the photos. The one with caption that begins “Once clamped” is a great picture on its own. LOL, it made me dizzy. Too cool. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Teagan. I do enjoy making these, and I know from experience that they will last longer than the store-bought variety. Manufactured furniture is made with cost in mind. I have always focused more on quality and design. It is one of the reasons I had repeat customers when I had a cabinet shop, but really couldn’t make any money. Looking around on-line, I see bookcases similar in design and size selling from as low as $349 to as much as $629. Even at the higher price point, I would be making less than minimum wage if The Editor was paying for this ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

    • It may take a few weeks, Laurie, but I’ll be back with the finished bookcase (before I load it up with the pile of books that are waiting for a new home). It is fun to wake up on a rainy day, grab a coffee and head to the shop.


  6. Gosh, I wish I had even a fraction of your skills! I’m struggling now to finish a screen porch at our trailer that the guy we hired mis-measured and left incomplete, a job that you’d probably knock off in the time it takes me to screw up my courage to attempt.

    Yours is such beautiful work, as it always is. And that includes the photos as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Steve. I remember you hoping that guys was going to finish before the campground closed in October. I’m sorry. I wish I was closer, you know my sign – “will work for beer.”


  7. Ah, the Queen looks lovely, as always. MuMu…I see the paws are flexed, ready to show the claws, if needed. She is so cute. Two bunnies!!! You live a good life, Dan. I wish we had bunnies here. Well, with my outdoor buddies, maybe it’s better I just admire yours. That bookcase is looking beautiful. The Targets and WalMarts sell such sorry reproductions for the most outrageous prices. And it’s a bookcase–‘will hold 20 lbs’–that would never do it for me! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lois. 20 lbs? Oh no no no. We tend to stuff bookcases chock-a-block full. more like 20 lbs per shelf ;-)

      We’re chasing stray cats out of the yard. The baby bunny insists on munching in the front, where there is no fence. The fence in the back wouldn’t stop a cat, but Maddie will.

      MuMu is clutching her shelf because I woke her up. She was sleeping, but it was too tempting. I rubbed her fuzzy little head.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks John. I know there are a few people interested in the details (and, obviously, I love sharing them). I have two surprise design elements left on this project. One is a drawer where the center rail would be. The other, well, I’m hoping to keep it a surprise. I’ll translate that for you – I’m not sure I can do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Glorious but isn’t it just like a man to blame it on his wife?! :-) I saw a lot of rabbits this morning at the Preserve. They via for birds in sheer numbers, although ours have the big ears. Hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday. I can certainly see it’s been productive.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I left a comment yesterday, but apparently that didn’t stick. It looks taller than I had thought it was going to be, but it’s coming together really well. I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes out with the Editors bottom legs and all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Dan – glad to know you’re keeping yourself occupied – til that dirt arrives! I’m looking forward to seeing the bookshelf in situ and fully used … love that Maddie keeps an eye on you. All the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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