Bookshelf: Modified Housed Joint, Part 1

I finished with all of the stretchers for the bookshelf, meaning it was time to move on to the shelves. My original plan was to use a housed joint. I decided to make a small modification to the joint, though, to ensure that the bookshelf would resist twisting forces. The modification is basically just a small mortise and tenon hidden inside the joint.

The hitch is, of course, that I’ve never made a housed joint before, so I set off on a test on some of the cutoffs from the projects. Surprisingly, that actually went well, so I proceeded to the first of four “production” joints.

I started with the dado housing. First, I squared a knife line, clamped down a guide strip, and sawed a kerf on the inside of the line. Then I marked out the width from the shelf, put down another knife line, and sawed down that side. This is after both kerfs were cut:

Note that this is a stopped joint in the back. It doesn’t matter if I overshoot a little, but I can’t go all the way to the back. If I’d had a stopped joint where overshoot actually matters, I would have clamped a stop in place.

The next step was to remove the waste between the kerfs. I started with a chisel to get most of it out:

Then I went to the bottom with my router plane:

In this photo, I’ve stopped the board against a couple of bench dogs in the back. (I should have done this when I was chiseling, too.)

After the bottom was reasonably smooth, I turned my attention to the shelf section. I marked out the line where the board would protrude from the side first, then the line where the edge would meet the housing. Finally, I marked out a small tenon about an inch and a half into the board and sawed the cheeks:

And that’s all I had time for today. Notice my test joint making a cameo in the background behind the saw.

In the next installment, I’ll cut out the waste, chop the mortise, and clean up. Then I’ll have to do everything three more times.

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