Home > Woodworking > Arts and Crafts Hanging Bookcase – Completed

Arts and Crafts Hanging Bookcase – Completed

Over the last couple of weeks I muscled my way through, finishing up the build on my hanging bookcase. There have been distractions but I didn’t have far to go, thus I was able to finally put the finish on this project.

Corbels and Arches

Rehearsing the installation of the corbels and upper and lower arches, I envisioned attaching them with dowels and glue. I was even going to make a doweling jig to perfectly align the holes for the corbels. When it finally came down to it I rationalized that glue would be plenty strong enough to hold these non-structural items to the carcass. I had wisely preserved the off cuts from making the corbels which I used as clamping cauls. The only downsized to this approach was that I didn’t have enough F-clamps to do all the corbels simultaneously so I ended up doing the front section then after the glue setup move on to the back set.

bookcase corbels

After the corbels came the upper and lower decorative arches which were also simply glued and clamped.

bookcase arches


Being careful, the black metal pulls I purchased at Lowes installed without incident. The modesty panel (behind the drawers) is held in place by 1″ brads which I pre-drilled. So many times I’ve had nails come out the side wall but this time there was room and I was careful. That has to be a first.

Hanging Bookcase

Finish and Installation

Woodworkers Source has a nice article on finishes for sapele in which they present three viable options for making the figure pop. The first is a clear sealer with lacquer topcoat which leaves the wood about as light as sapele gets. The second was to bring out the ribbons by adding an amber dye before sealing. Option three appealed to me and this is the method that I used, well sort of. Method three brings out the ribbon figure by using Danish Oil before sealing and a lacquer top coat. In my case I used what I had on hand which is a Teak Oil finish. I rubbed it on and let it dry overnight before spraying 4 to 5 coats of General Finishes High Performance water based top coat. I used a sponge sanding block to knock off the nibs between coats but I never really attempted a pore filling. I didn’t feel like I needed a glass smooth surface so I was OK my decision to leave it as is and skip buffing it out.

I had already figured out how I was going to mount the case to the wall but working without plans, I had neglected to make and install the pieces before spraying the finish. After re-watching the  video on Making a French Cleat with Paul Sellers I muddled my way though making my own which I mounted under the top. This cleat would hold the weight of the case but I didn’t want the bottom to be able to pull away from the wall so I also added two tabs behind the bottom arch that would use for  screws. These pieces were glued and screwed and I used a razor blade to scrape away finish before attaching them. I did an incredible hack job making the split cleat but it was my first and in spite of being ugly, the darn thing worked. Overall I was pleased with the project and I’m enjoying its use now.

Hanging Bookcase Installed

Inspiration for this project design came from pieces sold by Matthew Standrin. I encourage you to visit his Etsy store, WoodDeluxe and consider purchasing one or more of his very affordable and wonderful pieces of artisan furniture.



  1. April 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Nicely done!

    • April 13, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Thank-you Vincent! I’m learning new things on every build 🙂

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