Limbert-Style Book Rack

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A diminutive showcase for treasured volumes

I love Arts and Crafts style furniture. I also like angles in furniture, as they often add visual appeal to a design. This book rack provided a great way to marry those two interests. The trapezoidal openings in the sides are inspired by the work of Charles P. Limbert, a renowned Arts and Crafts furniture designer working in the early 1900s. However, the overall design, with its tapered sides and angled shelves, also incorporates design elements drawn from other well-known Arts and Crafts designers such as Gustav Stickley and Elbert Hubbard. 

This white oak unit incorporates mortise-and-tenon joinery throughout. The rails and angled shelves join the sides with a simple form of the joint. However, I joined the bottom to the sides with tusk tenons. This variation of through-tenon joinery incorporates wedges that insert into mortises in the projecting tenons to draw the parts together. Normally used for knock-down furniture, the tusk tenons here are strictly for style. The rails below the bottom shelf provide added support and visual weight. The two angled shelves orient book spines upward for better display in this diminutive rack. 

One of the keys to building this rack successfully is to template-rout (or pattern-rout) the sides. Using templates makes efficient work of both shaping the sides and routing the mortises. It also ensures perfect symmetry from side to side. 

When you’re done, you’ll have a classic book rack just begging to display treasured volumes that invite you to pick them up for a leisurely read.

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