Building A Modern Credenza Bookcase // How To – Woodworking

What's going on everybody, I'm Johnny Brooke,
welcome back to another Crafted Workshop video. In today's video, I'm going to show you how
to build my biggest piece to date, this credenza bookcase combo. This is two separate pieces, just in case
you were wondering right off the bat. Obviously, this is way too big to move if it was one
single piece, kind of a cool modular system. It's all built out of Purebond Walnut veneer
plywood, love the way it came out. I did some hardwood edge banding to cover up the edges
of the plywood, and I really like the way that looks.

Just overall super happy with the way this
project came together, so without further adieu, let's go ahead and get started with
the build. To break down the plywood sheets, I used a
combination of tools, first starting at the table saw to break down the larger pieces. After ripping the pieces to length, I crosscut
them to width using my Rockler Crosscut Sled. For some of the longer pieces that were too
long to manage with the crosscut sled, I used my track saw and cut the matching pieces at
the same time to make sure they were the exact same size.

The side panels of the bookcase section have
a decorative curved section cut out, so next I worked on getting that cut to shape. I traced
the curve using a compass and then ripped a straight line at the table saw to the point
where the curve started. Next, I used my jigsaw to cut the curve, but
I was left with an uneven curve and just couldn’t get it dialed in by hand to where I was happy
with it. The human eye is really good at seeing when circular objects aren’t perfectly round,
so I was having a tough time with this.

Then I remembered I have an X-Carve, so I
used that to knock out a quick curve template. I trimmed off the excess from the side panel
and then attached the template with double stick tape, and then used a flush trim bit
in my router to route the side panel flush with the template. This left me with an absolutely
perfect curve. With the curve cut, I ripped the straight
section flush with the curve at the table saw off camera, and then could create the
matching panel using the completed panel as a template. I cut away the excess using a
jigsaw and then clamped the two panels together and used the router to flush cut the edges.

Once the edges were cut, I came back with
a sanding block to remove any tool marks and get the edges perfectly even. With all of the pieces cut out, next I needed
to start getting the plywood edges covered with edge banding. In the past, I’ve always
used peel and stick edge banding, but it can be really fragile and has a tendency to crack,
and can just kind of be a pain to work with. On this build, I decided to cut my own hardwood
edge banding, which I did at the bandsaw. Each strip was roughly 3/16” thick, which
gave me plenty of material to work with.

After ripping the strips at the bandsaw, I
smoothed them all out at the drum sander and brought them all down to a consistent thickness. If you don't have a drum sander, you could
rip these strips at the table saw and they would be plenty smooth enough for this type
of application. To attach the edge banding to the panels,
I used glue and clamped the banding in place using Rockler’s Bandy Clamps. I thought
I had way too many of these things but ended up using every single one of them multiple
times on this build, there was just a ton of edge banding to glue on.

As you can see, the edge banding was left
about ¼” wider than the plywood, to leave plenty of overhang on each side, so after
the glue dried, I needed to flush up the edge banding. I used a trim router and a spiral flush trim
bit to do this, and found this awesome Little Lipper attachment from FastCap for my trim
router, and that allowed me to run it on edge. This was the perfect tool for the job and
I was able to perfectly trim all of the edge banding super quick. The only tricky part of the edge banding process
was the curved edges of the side panels.

The 3/16” edge banding was too thick for this,
so I brought it down to about ⅛” thick, but it was still a little brittle. I used
some hot water to soften up the wood and then clamped it to the template I had cut earlier
and let it dry, which helped it keep that shape. After it dried, I glued it onto the
side panels just like the rest of the edge banding and it worked perfect. With all of the edge banding applied, I could
move on to the joinery for the credenza cabinet. I used my Domino for this process, but you
could definitely use dados, dowel joinery, or pocket holes, there are tons of other options
for cabinet construction out there. I used the wing attachments on the Domino
to get even spacing from the edges of the cabinet, so I didn’t need to mark out all
of the Domino locations. This really sped things up, and I was able to cut all of the
joinery for the cabinet super quickly.

To cut the mortises for the center dividers,
I clamped one of the dividers to the top or bottom panels, made sure it was square, and
used it as the reference surface for the Domino, which worked great. Once all of the mortises were cut for the
credenza, I went ahead and glued it up, which went pretty smoothly, although I used way
too much glue and had a ton of squeeze out to contend with. While I’m working, let’s talk about one
of the sponsors of this week’s project, Purebond plywood. I really love using Purebond,
it’s a formaldehyde-free hardwood plywood that’s made in the USA, actually right down
the road from me here in North Carolina, and it’s super high quality.

Basically, any
time I’m using plywood on a project, especially for furniture, I’m using Purebond. Purebond
is formaldehyde-free, uses soy based glues, and is available exclusively at Home Depot,
and I’ll have a link in the video description if you’d like to learn more. With the credenza carcass drying, I moved
on to the bookcase, which was basically the same as the credenza. Once again, I used the
Domino for the joinery and it went really quickly. Also, I am just loving the assembly table
I built a few months ago. The t-track clamps are super handy, and I’ve got plans available
in case you’re interested in building one of these tables for yourself. I use it on
every build and it’s become one of the most essential pieces in my shop.

Once all of the joinery was cut, I moved on
to gluing up the bookcase, which was a real challenge due to the sheer size of the piece.
I didn’t have any clamps long enough to reach across the 64” wide bookcase, so I
used some strap clamps, which worked really well. This was definitely a stressful glue
up, having an extra set of hands would have been really helpful for sure. Since the bookcase and credenza cabinets are
two separate units, I had to think through how the two would attach, and I decided to
add a strip to the bottom back edge of the bookcase to allow a mending plate to be attached
and a screws to be added from behind later on.

I attached this strip using pocket screws,
since these screws will be covered up by the back panel anyway. Next, I needed to notch out the bottom dividers
on the bookcase so they could be attached around the strip, and I marked out the notch
using the strip as reference and then cut the notch using my bandsaw. With the strip in place and the dividers notched,
I could glue the dividers in place using the Domino mortises I cut earlier. I used these
Rockler corner clamps to make sure the dividers were square to the shelves while the glue

pexels photo 139311

Once the glue dried, I came back and attached
the strip to the dividers using a couple of screws from the back side of the strip, just
to give the dividers a little more stability. With all of the pieces in place, I could attach
the back panel to the bookcase and credenza. I used ¼” Purebond Walnut veneered plywood
for the back panel, to match the rest of the cabinet, and I cut the sections to rough size
at the table saw. Before gluing on the back panel, I marked
out the locations of the shelves and dividers so I knew where I could add brad nails to
hold the panel in place while the glue dried. I also added a few spacers to the top shelf,
to make sure it didn’t sag at all during the glue up.

Next, I added glue to the back edges of all
of the pieces, dropped the back panel into place, and added 1” brad nails every foot
or so. After the glue dried, I came back with a flush
trim bit on my router and flushed the back panel up with the sides of the bookcase and
credenza. With the back panel flushed up, I swapped
to a chamfer bit and chamfered the edges of the back panel so that the chamfered edge
was flush with the sides of the cabinets. This little trick really helps to hide the
back panel and gives it a super clean look.

Now that the credenza carcass was finished,
I could cut the doors and shelves to size based on the actual final size of the credenza.
This was more of the same process, cutting the pieces to size from plywood and then adding
hardwood edge banding. I accidentally cut some of the shelves too
narrow, so I made up for that extra length by adding thicker edge banding, which worked
out perfectly. I didn’t show most of the sanding on this
build, just because it’s boring, but there was definitely plenty of it. I got through
a lot of audiobooks on this project, hah. While I’m sanding, let’s talk about the
sponsor of this week’s video, Rocker Woodworking and Hardware. I used a ton of Rockler products
during this build, including their bandy clamps, t-track clamps, crosscut sled, tapering jig,
bench cookies, and lots more, and I’ll have links to all of the items I used in the video
description below.

Rockler has got tons of great tools and accessories
for your next build, and they’re always coming up with new and innovative ideas to
help make your woodworking more efficient and more enjoyable. Thanks again to the folks
at Rockler for sponsoring this build. Next, I could start getting the hardware added
to the credenza. First, I drilled the shelf pin holes using a homemade jig. I used ¼”
brass shelf pins, which I think looked super nice with the Walnut.

Next, I drilled the holes for the inset hinges
I used on this project. I used this little Kreg hinge jig which allowed me to drill perfectly
square holes without using my drill press. It also has guides for pilot holes for the
screws that hold the hinge in place. It was really useful, and I’ll have a link to it
in the video description below in case you’re interested.

For the door pull, I decided to keep it simple
and just drill a hole through the door. I used an 1 ½” Forstner bit for this and
drilled the hole at the drill press. After I drilled the hole in the door, I chamfered
both sides to give it a clean look and a better feel. I really like the way these pulls look
on the final piece, they’re super clean, minimal, and obviously really easy. Next, I hung the doors on the cabinet, first
marking out the screw locations and pre-drilling before adding the doors. These Blum soft-close
hinges are nice and adjustable and it was really easy to get an even reveal all the
way around the door. Also, I just love how smoothly they close, so satisfying. The last part of this build was the base,
which you might have seen in previous shots. I actually built the base along the way, but
figured I’d keep it all together to make it easier to follow in the video. I only had 5/4 Walnut on hand, so I first
needed to mill the wood square and then glue up some of the pieces to get the 8/4 thickness
I was looking for on this base.

The base will be supporting a ton of weight between the
bookcase, credenza, and all of the contents of the two pieces once they’re loaded up,
so I wanted something really beefy. After the glue up, I milled all of the parts
square, cut them to length over at the miter saw, and then cut a taper on the legs using
the Rockler Tapering Jig. I ideally wanted splayed legs on this piece, but I was worried
that there would be too much weight on the legs and the splay would cause the legs to

For the joinery on the base, I used, you guessed
it, Dominos, and the process went super quick. I used two Dominos per corner and this made
for a super strong base. Once all of the mortises were cut, I glued
the base together. Also, you can tell how long I’ve been working on this piece, since
I still had the pegboard up in the background of this shot. This project has been lurking
in the background for a few months and I'm really happy to have it finished up finally. To attach the base to the underside of the
credenza, I used 1 ¼” pocket screws, so I needed to drill some recessed holes for
the screws.

I used a Forstner bit to drill the recess and then drilled the through hole
using a twist bit. Before attaching the base to the credenza,
I gave it a good sanding, and then used the aforementioned pocket screws to permanently
attach the base to the underside of the credenza. After sanding all of the parts up to 180 grit
off camera, it was finally time to apply finish. I went with General Finishes Enduro Var, which
is a waterborne polyurethane, and sprayed it with my Fuji Q3 HVLP system. You certainly
could wipe or brush on the finish on a piece like this, but it would have taken forever. These huge pieces are really where spraying
finish excels, and I was able to finish this whole piece in an afternoon, spraying three
coats and scuff sanding before the last coat. The last step on this build was to attach
the credenza to the bookcase. This is really just a safety mechanism, it keeps the bookcase
from sliding off the credenza when in use.

I needed to make sure the screws went into
the dividers in the credenza, so I measured and marked out where to add the plate. On
the bookcase, it didn’t really matter where the screws landed since I added that strip
during the build process. With that, this massive build was finished.
Man, that was a lot of work! Alright, hopefully you guys enjoyed this one.
This was a pretty massive undertaking for me, definitely my biggest project to date,
but I'm super happy with the way it came out. There were a lot of time consuming steps,
for example, putting on the hardwood edge banding on all of these edges took a really
long time, but I just love the way it came together. If you guys want more information on how to
build this project, I will have plans available. You can check out my website for that, I'll
have a link in the video description below.

Also in the video description below, I'll
have links to all of the tools and materials I used on this build, which there were a lot
of them. And last, I want to say a big thanks to the
sponsors of this week's video. Without my sponsors, I could not do this for a living,
so if you guys want to support me, support my sponsors. Alright, thanks again for watching everybody
and, until next time, happy building. *bird chirping obnoxiously* God dangit bird, quiet!.

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