Combine traditional joinery with traditional woodturning to create bespoke bookends. With handmade dovetail joints finished with wood turned detailing, these bookends will look impressive on any bookshelf.
What you'll need
Tools & equipment
- Woodturning Lathe
- Woodturning Tools
- Cutting Gauge
- Try Square
- Piercing Saw
- Dovetail Marker
- Dovetail Saw
- 2 x G Clamps
- 4.5mm Drill Bit
- Disc Sander
- Abrasives Grits 100-320
- Masking Tape
- Liberon Sanding Sealer
- White Cloth
- Clear Wax
- Wood Glue
- Mirka Hand Sanding Kit
- Screws 4mm x 40mm
- 4 Sections of Hardwood cut to desired size. We used Mahogany at 120mm x 105mm x 16mm.
Making the Bookends
Select four pieces of wood, ends prepared square. This guide uses lengths of 120mm x 105mm x 16mm and used mahogany but any hardwood can be used.
Start by marking the joint shoulder lines with a cutting gauge or knife and a try square on the 4 sections of wood.
Chisel to the shoulder line using a scrap square block and clamp to a bench.
Label the joints and mark out pins, using a jig if required, complete marking out the pin boards.
Cut out the waste and chisel to the shoulder line as in steps 4 and 5.
Trial fit the joint by pushing it half way in.
On the two base sections, mark out four holes for screws (arrowed) and drill 4.5mm holes and countersink the underside. Round off the corners equally and shape the corners on a disc sander, so no sharp edges are left
Sand all internal surfaces to 240 grit, mask off the joints and polish with two coats of Liberon Sanding Sealer using a white cloth (as a coloured cloth may taint the polish).
Wax surfaces with clear wax polish and buff with a soft cloth.
Glue the joints together and leave to set. The wax acts as a ‘resist’ enabling any excess glue to be easily removed once set.
Clean up dovetails with a fine set smoother. Protect the inside faces with leather jaw liners and cover the bench with similar. Sand exterior surfaces to 240 grit using a Mirka hand sander and Abranet abrasives.
Finally, detail sand the edges and corners with 240 grit Abranet and a cork block. Polish the exterior surfaces as in step 9 and set aside the bookends.
Further to this is to wood turn the round detail of the bookends. Mount the block of yew securely in the lathe and set to very slow speed. Gradually turn the wood blank to a cylinder, increasing the lathe speed as the waste is removed. When the yew is round and to your desired size for the bookend, sand to 320 grit and part off into two sections 80mm long. Clean up ends on the disc sander and with Mirka Abranet abrasives. Leaving you with two completed cylinders for the bookend detailing.
Grip each cylinder in a vice, draw a line down the centre and mark off the hole positions (arrowed).
Then, drill a small pilot hole and polish the cylinders as steps 9 and 13.
Finally, assemble the cylinders to the bookends, with 4mm x 40mm screws. The bookends are now ready for the shelf.