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Thread: Keeping it square

  1. #1
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    Keeping it square

    How do I keep a bookcase square if it has a shiplapped back? I like the look of that style, but can't figure out how it keep it square without a one piece back. I do want it all solid wood and no ply in the piece at all. All the shelves will be fixed.

    Size will be pretty standard 3' x 6'

    I am thinking wide boards? Glue the leading edge of the two outside solid and about half of the distance?
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  2. #2
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    What are the top and bottoms of your ship lap fitting into? I sink them into the bottom railo at least and sometime the top rail goes on after the lap to capture the top. The top and bottom rails retain square if wide enough for the height. If I am lacking a wide bottom rail and a sort of wide top rail at the back, I would still need something to help with racking beyond my rail to side joint (M&T?). In this case I would be tempted to glue the outer lap boards to the sides (preferably in dados) and make them tight against some upper and lower surface. This is why I normally capture them above and below in a groove. That doesn't mean I'm right, of course .

    I don't know if these detail shots are helpful or too small to do any good but, I'll give it a try. One has the lap boards removed and the other shows them in place. Given this assembly, you could glue the vertical and part of the top and bottom of the outer boards to assist with racking. . . . oh yeah, like the description helped make it clearer

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by glenn bradley; 05-08-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Just put them on Steve hook them to the sides and the shelves. Once your all done it wont rack Oh you better make sure it is square when you put them on. Yup because you wont be able to rake it into square after.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  4. #4
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    I was thinking of just just a plain ol rabbit on the back. Now I am rethinking everything. Will try and do some more development work over the upcoming weekend
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  5. #5
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    Steve, will the shelves be fixed or adjustable? If they are adjustable can you make the middle one fixed. If so dado that into the back of the cabinet it, combined with the rabbet around the perimeter will lock it all together
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  6. #6
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    All of them are fixed, for now. Thinking about sliding dovetails to hold them in place. It should also help to pull the whole mess together.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

  7. #7
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    definitely. that will lock the whole unit into place
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  8. #8
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    Steve, I built this small Oak bookcase back in 2009 -- all solid wood. 3/8" shiplap boards on the back.

    - The sides have a rabbet, which the back fits into
    - All the shelves are fixed
    - The top does not have a rabbet, but I put a small 1x1(ish) piece along the inside/bottom of the top, which the back is fastened to
    - each board in the back is about 5" wide. I put 2 finishing nails (small heads) through each board into the back of each shelf, as well as the top and bottom
    - I honestly don't recall if I put glue into the rabbet in the sides for the outermost piece of the back or not.

    No racking. Solid as a rock.
    Like was mentioned above, make sure the unit is square before you attach the back, because once those go on, it's not moving any more!
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Southwood View Post
    I was thinking of just a plain ol rabbit on the back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Southwood View Post
    All of them are fixed, for now.
    If all shelves are fixed, a simple rabbet, a snug vertical fit on the slats and a tack at each end and alternating shelves should do fine. My more complex solution was for a frame with adjustable shelves. If you have the shelves to tack to, your shear strength goes way up .
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 05-10-2013 at 01:58 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  10. #10
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    Art, that is really close to one of the cases i have to make. Thanks for the link.

    I do think I have it figured out. Thanks for the help.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

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