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Build a Bookcase With Dad

Spend Father’s Day in the workshop 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.

Build a Bookcase With Dad
Reader's Digest

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

For consistent biscuit slots, mark the width of the boards and the slot centres on an offcut of 42 x 42mm timber, then use it as a fence for the biscuit joiner.


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.

Cut the leg slots using the biscuit joiner’s height control to raise the slot height, or use an offcut of 12mm plywood as a spacer.
Cut the leg slots using a mitresaw
Cut the leg slots using a mitresaw 
Step 1. Cut the parts and mark the shelf positions
Step 1. Cut the parts and mark the shelf positions
Reader's Digest

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. To mark the shelf positions, 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.

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