Here's how to apply finish to six bookcase sides and edges of the shelves in one sitting.

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While building a small bookcase, I stumbled on an age-old problem: how to apply finish to all six sides and edges of the shelves in one sitting. (And, how to handle and store the freshly finished pieces until they dried.) This time, though, I figured out a solution.

I built a pair of "handles" for each shelf from scraps of 34 " plywood with loosely matching tongues and grooves on the top and bottom edges, as shown below. After drilling a pair of 18 " holes in each handle, I pushed 3" drywall screws through the holes and slipped a 1-716 " length of clear vinyl tubing over each screw. Finally, I attached a pair of the handles to the shelf by driving the screws 34 " into each end of the shelf.

With the handles attached, I can apply finish or paint to all sides of the shelf—the tubing gives me plenty of brush clearance even for the ends. And, I can stack the shelves while they dry without having them spread out all over the shop.
—Don Klimesh, Brownstown, Pa.

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