Book Rack

Book lovers will especially like building this book rack for their room. Use this free woodworking plan with instructions to build this project designed for an adult and child working together.

By Gene And Katie Hamilton

 Book Rack

A cribbage board inspired our design for this nifty little desktop book rack. Instead of pegs being used to keep score, these pegs hold a movable partition in place. We used lx8 pine lumber, but oak or any other hardwood will make an even more handsome book rack. Like craftsmen of past generations, you'll make your own doweling jig to help you drill holes for the base and partition pegs. This jig aligns the peg holes in the movable partition and base. The sides of the rack can be strengthened with the addition of glue blocks under the bottom piece.

All the parts are cut from one lx8 pine board. Lay out the measurements for the ends (A), bottom (B), and movable partition © on the pine, following the Cutting List. Cut these pieces out, then cut the jig from scrap wood.

shopping List

Next, lay out the guide holes on the jig. Use a tape measure and pencil to make marks along its length 1 1/4 inches from each end and in the center 3 5/8 inches from each end. Use a combination square to draw straight lines through these marks across the width of the jig. Find the center of the jig ends by measuring 1 1/2 inches from each side, and make a mark at each end. Use the square to draw a straight line through this mark down the center of the jig. This forms three Xs, which mark the location of the guide holes. Use a drill with a 3/8-inch bit to bore these holes. One team member should check that the drill is held square to the jig to make sure the holes are straight.

Cutting List

Now mark the location of the peg holes on the edge of the bottom of the rack (B). Measure 4 inches from one end, then use your square to draw a straight line across the bottom. Repeat with the other end, and then mark off and draw lines at 2-inch intervals between these two lines.

Now you are ready to drill peg holes in the bottom. Align the holes of the jig with one of the layout lines, and clamp the jig to the bottom piece. Check that the end of the jig is flush with the sides of the bottom, then drill three 3/8-inch holes through the bottom, using the holes in the jig as your guide.

Remove the jig, align the holes over another layout line, clamp it to the bottom, and repeat the drilling. Carefully check the jig alignment before each drilling, and your movable partition pegs will fit exactly.

After you have drilled all twelve peg holes in the bottom, nail your jig to a piece of scrap with number 6 finishing nails to form a doweling guide. Align the scrap piece so that the jig holes will be centered along the bottom of the movable partition ©. When your doweling jig is complete, position it on the bottom edge of the partition so that its end is flush with the side of the partition. Clamp the jig into place, then drill 3/8-inch holes, 1 inch deep, in the bottom edge of the partition, using the jig to guide you. Have one team member check that the drill is held straight.


Remove your jig, and put a drop of glue on the end of a 1/4-inch length of 3/8-inch dowel. Tap it into a hole in the partition. Glue the other pieces of dowel in place the same way. The ends are held to the bottom with four number 6 finishing nails and glue. Lay out the position of the nails by measuring up 11/8 inches from the bottom of each end and using the square to draw a straight line across each. On the inner sides of the ends, draw another line 3/4 inch from the bottom to help you align the ends with the bottom when you attach them. Then drive four evenly spaced number 6 finishing nails along each of the first two lines you drew. Pound these nails into the wood just deep enough so that their points emerge from the other side.

Put glue on one end of the bottom (B), and place one end piece (A) in position so that the nails are centered along the edge of piece B. Use the layout lines you drew 3/4 inch from the bottom on the inner side of each end as a guide. Have one team member hold the pieces in position while the other drives the nails. Then glue and nail up the other side. Use a nail set to sink the nail heads below the surface of the wood.

Sand all corners smooth with 120-grit sandpaper. If the partition pegs fit too tightly in the base, work your drill with the 3/8-inch bit back and forth in the holes to enlarge them. Our book rack is finished with a light- colored stain. We also gave it a coat of paste wax for long-lasting protection.

TIME REQUIRED Six hours for cutting, building, and assembling, plus drying time for glue and finish.

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Find helpful advice and tips about tools, finishing, safety practices and a glossary of woodworking terms at Before You Begin