Make A Book Rack

By Chris Rawls
Edited by Joe Lovchik

Chris Rawls is one of the engineers who has been with the company since the beginning.  He’s tested and helped develop every piece of the CarveWright machine and knows it upside down and backwards.  Every now and then, he even gets a chance to make something with it, too.  This simple project is a great example of how the CarveWright is just another tool in the shop. Chris’ wife needed some book racks for her new business, so Chris made her some.

Book Rack Project

I started by designing the project in Project Designer using the drawing and constraint tools to get the shape just right. Then I placed the pockets and holes into position and had one side of the rack designed.  I chose to make this project out of 1×6 pine, as it was on hand, so each side was designed as separate projects.

Each of the projects was cut on two 40” x 5.5” x .75” pieces of pine.

magazine rack Carvewright files


When the projects were finished, I removed them from the boards by cutting the tabs. Try to cut them cleanly with a sharp chisel or small saw to avoid any tearing or chipping on your edge.

cut the tabls
The two side pieces. Cut the tabs to removed from board

Then file or sand off the remainder of the tabs and smooth the edges to remove all cut out marks.

sand the edges
Sand the edges by hand, or use a drum sander as shown.

Next, I clamped the pieces down, one at a time, to rout the curved edge with a piloted ¼” round over bit. Then flipped the piece over and did the same on the other side to get a nice rounded edge.

Round over edges
Round over the edges on both sides quick and easy with a piloted router bit.

From there it was just some quick sanding with a sanding mop to prep edges, and some surface sanding to get the pieces ready for painting. You can use a drum sander as shown below or any sander that you might have on hand. You can also use various fillers to hide blemishes in the wood, or you can just paint it as is depending on the look you desire.

polish with the sanding mop
Polish up the round-overs with the sanding mop.
sand the surface
Use any kind of sanding process to smooth the surface.

Once the end pieces are finished, it’s ready to assemble. You will need to cut three pieces that make the book ledges. These pieces will dictate how wide the book rack will be. Due to the weight of the books, I prefer to have the width of the book rack match the stud spacing in the walls. Thus, if I have a wall with 16” stud spacing, I will cut the 3 ledges to a length of 32”.  If you have a 24” stud spacing, you could cut the ledges to 24” or 48”, or better yet, buy a new house which has a more preferable stud spacing that will adequately support your new book rack. Haha, that’s a joke… kind of.

I used a finish nail gun and wood glue to assemble the ledges to the end pieces.

assemble ledge pieces.
Cut the ledge pieces to the desired length and fit them into the slots.

Now it’s time to make the top piece. I recommend cutting a piece 3 ½” wide by ¾” thick. It should also be 2” longer than the ledges to provide a little overhang. In this case, I used 32” ledges and thus my top was 34” long. Rout three edges with a router, so the back edge is still flat.  I used a 1/2″ Classic Ogee for my edge.

rout the top edges
Only rout one edge and the ends so the back edge remains flat.

Assemble the top piece to the book rack using wood glue and a finish nail gun. With the structure finished, it’s time to add the back and rails.

You will need to purchase the following items:

Measure the outside dimensions of the structure to be accurate with size, and cut the bead board to that size. Use 18 x 5/8” wire brads to nail it to the back of the structure. Make sure you nail it to the back of all 3 ledges, the top piece, and the 2 end pieces.

bead board backer
Cut the bead board to fit the back of the structure
attach bead board backer
Attach the bead board backer securely

Next, you will need to nine 1/2” dowel rods cut them to the same length as the ledges. In this case, the length is 32”. Insert the dowel into the hole on one end, and bend the rod slightly to slip into the corresponding hole on the other end. Repeat until they are all installed and your book rack is assembled.

You can paint the book rack before or after assembly, it’s up to you. Just pick your stain or choice of paint color and have fun.


CarveWright made book rack
Book rack fully assembled and painted
Book rack finished
The End


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