Folding Campaign Bookcase Complete


For the last seven weeks I’ve been building this folding campaign bookcase using sapele I purchased from the dearly departed Midwest Woodworking. My logbook says I have about 50 hours in the project. It took seven weeks because I was interrupted by travel, teaching and taxes (to name a few things).

Some details:

Overall dimensions (open): 37” long, 27” high, 10-1/4” deep.
Hardware: Most of the hardware is from Lee Valley. The corner guards, brackets and campaign pulls were vintage stuff from eBay (though Londonderry Brasses carries the exact stuff I used). The lock is from eBay as well. See here for details.
Finish: Garnet shellac and black wax.
More details on construction: Coming this fall in Popular Woodworking Magazine.

The piece is away for photography and then to the customer. Now I can get started on making some birdhouses.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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23 Responses to Folding Campaign Bookcase Complete

  1. Woodmolds says:

    Glass doors seem impractical for a piece that traveled a lot.

    BTW, Beautiful piece/work.

  2. Oh, FOLDING. For some reason, my mind registered “collapsing” when I first read it. I kept waiting for some great squishing finale and it never came.

    Love the shelf adjustment method. Much more secure than the adjustable shelving method on my Eastlake bookcase. How did you… never mind. I’ll wait until Fall. 🙂

  3. jbgcr says:

    Would you consider putting the connecting hinges outside so when open and in use only the barrels show and look like the door hinges – little too much brass showing for me.

  4. toolnut says:

    Wow! PW picking this up?

  5. Campaign birdhouses?

    • rwyoung says:

      Those would be brilliant. Finally the little birds have a way to efficiently pack and take their little houses with them in the winter.

  6. mysticcarver says:

    Absolutely Stunning work! Love that lock too.

  7. Nice piece. I’ve worked with Sapele and found it to be tough on tools. Was that your experience?

  8. Great work Chris. Customer has got to be happier than a pig in a turnip field.

  9. Sean Hughto says:

    Is this a known design, or something you came up with? Beautiful clean work!

    • lostartpress says:

      It is an adaptation of several common designs for campaign bookcases. I took the parts I liked from several pieces. But I wouldn’t call it an original design.

  10. jonathanszczepanski says:

    Well done sir! Well done.

    On a side note… cat butt lock. That is all.

  11. jonathanszczepanski says:

    What’s the white around the inside of the glass doors? Is that glazing?

  12. Dave Reedy says:

    Finally coming out of the closet and admitting the birdhouse fetish, eh?

  13. rondennis303 says:

    Chris – A very nice looking piece! Glad you enjoyed seeing the Furniture of Necessity I saw online.

  14. lostartreader says:

    Historically, were bookcases like this one used with stands specifically designed for them, or were they just set on any available horizontal surface? Setting the bookcases on tables and chests must have taken up valuable flat space for papers, etc., but having one of these open on the ground or floor invites glass breakage from boots, etc.

    Also, did any campaign chests and cases have small feet to make them easier to stabilize on uneven surfaces?

  15. joemcglynn says:

    That’s really nice Chris. I’m looking forward to reading the article in PWW.

  16. Niels Cosman says:

    Best padlock EVER!!!!!
    …the bookcase is also alright 🙂

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