Chop Chop (Little Free Library)–Karrie N.

It’s Karrie again. Little Free Library is on a roll! Take a look. We’ve gone from sketches and cardboard to a real wooden bookcase!

Original Photo
Original Photo

Over the past few weeks, our team has completed a cardboard model of our design, learned how to use a lot of power tools in the Makerspace, and with the help of Ms. Jo, we’re making progress on the construction of our Little Free Library! It’s starting to come together and it’s really exciting!

As you can see from the pictures, now we just have one door. We found that having two doors would make it pretty difficult to access books in the Library, as well as pose the problem of a weak frame between the two doors.

We started out going over all of our measurements, comparing them to the three planks of pine wood that Ms. Jo got from Home Depot for our project. This was a slight issue, since the purchase had been made prematurely–we changed our order because we needed wider planks of wood. But with a little help from Ms. Jo’s wood framing expertise, we’ve been able to alter our measurements and use the wood that we have.

The first power tool we learned how to use is the Band Saw Miter Saw, according to In fact the band saw is something that we learned to use in middle school PLTW, but the saw I’m talking about right now is a Makerspace addition and is very fancy; it can cut wood of varying lengths at varying angles, and is pretty simple to use. Now Zane, Jordan and I are almost pros at using it, since it’s been used to cut all of our pieces of wood.

Original Photo: Front framework with laser-cut gussets and acrylic for the window.
Original Photo: Front framework with laser-cut gussets and acrylic for the window.

Next, Ms. Jo showed us how to use the Laser Cutter to cut out small pieces of wood called gussets that are used to attach pieces of wood that can’t be directly drilled to each other. Ms. Jo also used the table saw to cut out a piece of acrylic for our window, which we then cut into a trapezoid shape with the Laser Cutter as well.

Original Photo: Drilling the front together with gussets.
Original Photo: Drilling the front together with gussets.

Ms. Jo then gave us a refresher on drilling (with handheld power drills): First, you get to know the screws you’re working with so you can get a matching diameter drill bit to drill a hole FIRST before drilling a screw into the wood with a driver bit; this is so the screw doesn’t get caught into the wood, which could cause splitting. I was super cautious at first, since in middle school I broke several pieces of a drill over the course of our PLTW class. But I was pleasantly surprised that with a LITTLE bit of caution and a LOT of confidence (even if it was faked at first), the screw is drilled in neatly! In fact, Jordan and Zane wanted me to do all the drilling! But that’s going to change when it’s time to drill the entire library together.

With a lot of work and a lot of wood glue, we currently have the top, sides, and most of the front and back of the LFL complete. We just need to create the door/window with hinges and the hook and eye, saw the bottom and the rest of the back, and DRILL everything together! Watch out, because our LFL is coming to life!

Original Photo
Original Photo

One thought on “Chop Chop (Little Free Library)–Karrie N.

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  1. Hello Karrie,

    Before today, I didn’t really know what your project was about, but after reading your blog post I think I have a pretty good idea. It seems like a very cool project! I would love to see this bookcase around school. Are you guys going to be making more of these in the Makerspace? Will these bookcases be used in the library at our school?

    I love that you included the information about your hands on work with the different power tools. I haven’t been able to use the laser cutter this year, so it was interesting to hear about. I know that this year was my first time using power tools since we last used them in 7th grade PLTW classes. Since you are building this by hand, you guys should definitely put together a manual for others to build it as well. I know that I would love to know what you guys did, so I can attempt to make it on my own. You may or may not remember this, but in 7th grade we made birdhouses for our PLTW class. If you guys make a manual for the bookcase you guys are making, then you should think about giving it to the 7th grade PLTW teacher and see whether they would want to use it in their classes.

    I am not very experienced with building many products out of wood, so I don’t have a lot of advice to give you regarding the building of the bookcase itself. However, since you were worried about your ability to drill screws in, I found this article that you can share with your team members: It teaches you how to accurately drill without using a drill press.

    I hope you finish your bookcase with great success!

    –Isha Patel

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