Gary Rogowski

Building an Arts-and-Crafts Sideboard (Part ii)

I've seen many a piece of furniture thai looked great from across a room kit fell short on closer inspection. Often, its something as simple as a drawer binding in its opening or a pair of doors that aren't aligned pro per lv. That's why building and fitting these parts carefully is even* bit as important to a piece of furniture as making a sturdy case.

The previous section (pp. 68-77) covered carcase construction for the Arts-and-Crafts style sideboard in the photo at

Grooves for web frames

right* That .section ends w ith the mahogany ease pieces made and mostly glued up. Now it's time lor those all important details: adding web frames to support the three drawers and then building and installing both drawers and doors.

Building Web Frames for the: Drawers

On mam case pieces, tin front rail ot ,t web frame—also called a drawer divider—is visibli on the outside of the case. On tins sideboard, however, I kept the dividers hidden behind the drawer fronts to act as drawer stops. One other benefit ot keeping the dividers hidden i - li h tin front <■) the sideboard has a cleaner, less cluttered look.

All three web frames are made ot western maple. The side rails ot the upper two frames have tongues that are glued into stopped grooves in the plvwood dividers m e tin dtawing on \\ 81 .

The side rails are joined to the front web-frame rails with stub tenons in. thick and < in. long. The front rails are joined to the plvwood dividers w ith stub tenons ot tin same si/e. Web-frame jomerv was done on tin table saw and muter table set tlu top photo at right). No matter how vou do it, make sure the shoulder-co-shoulder lengths of the front rails are all exactly the same. Otherwise, the plvwood dividers won't be straight when the rails are in place, altering the si/c ot the drawer openings and making drawer fitting much more difficult.

The bottom drawer also needs a wvb frame, but I was concerned that if I used the same joinery as I had fur the upper two web frames, the grooves would be too close to the spline joints connecting the dividers and divider rails. Grotnes located this, close to each other would have compromised . »th joints.

My solution was to use I -in.-wide stock for the front and side rails of the bottom web frame tins increased the glue surface area . biscuit the side rails to the divider rails and rabbet the front web-frame rail over the front rail of the carcase see the drawing on p. 81 . The side rails, or

ROUT WEB FRAME GROOVES IN DIVIDERS. Start and stop marks are penciled on the masking tape on the router-table fence and on the divider itself. Dividers gel two grooves on their inside faces for the top two web frames.

GLUE DIVIDER TO DIVIDER RAIL Once the grooves for the web frames have been routed, the dividers can be glued into the case. Make sure the front of the dividers are flush with the outer face of the lower front rail (belowi. ■

DUST PANFL IS SLPPORTED ON ALL FOUR SIDES Because the Mn.-thtck plywood panel sagged when he first slid it

runners, were simply butted to the backs of* the front rails. After .ill the wrb-frame rails were fitted. I planed their tops and bottoms flu>h to one another and cut grooves for the dust panels.

Glue in Dividers, Top Rail and Kk kers

The next step was to finish assembling the case. I glued the dividers to the divider rails (see the photo on p. 79). I glued in one at a time and used the front bottom web-frame rail as a spacer between the plywood dividers when glutng in tin - cond one. ! >1 . -1 imping the i<>;- from rail in.I

kickers to the dividers kept the drawer openings precisely aligned during assembly, After both dividers were in. 1 glued the top rail and then the kickers in place.

I set the web frames back in place, and checked" them (or twist using a pair of binding sti ks I pn finis! i i web-fr inu rails with three coats of shellac, being careful to keep it off the joinery. Then I glued all the web-frame rails in place.

I cut dust panels out ol thick mahogany plvwood, but when I slid them in place, thev sagged too much for mv liking. To remedy this, I added rear rails to the web frames, using -in.-thick splines to attach them to the side rails see the photo at left . 1 left these rear web-lrame rails unglued until after the drawers had been fitted, so I would have a better view ol the drawers while working on them.

Make Doors and Drawers of Quartersawn Stock

I used quartersaw n mahogany for the drawer faces and doors for two reasons: the grain pattern of quartersawn stock is less flashv than flat sawn it works better as a background for inlav . and quartersawn shrinks less than flatsawn.

I had a problem ai first with tin- quartersawn mahogany, though. I would get h irout even time that I sent it through the planer beelusi tin grain w i- urn rl» ckt d. I'd heard that dampening wood reduces te,irout. so I gave it a shot. It worked beautiful!v. Just before sending a board through the planer. I dampened not soaked tts face with a rag. I his softened thi ill -rs jusr , nough th it they could be cut cleanlv w ith no tearout.

I was concerned about finding a second-an wood for the drawer sides that would move at the same rate as the mahoganv. I wanted a wood that was also quartersawn but wore better than the mahogany. I was fortunate to stumble across some quartered sycamore that was glorious to look at and tough enough for the job. I sing the formula in Bruce I ioadley s book t nderstanding IKvJ The Taunton Press, 2lHX) , 1 compared the shrinkage rates of mahogany and sycamore. I found that in a board 8 in. wide—the width of mv widest drawer— there was It ss th in in. of difference in shrinkage between the two species. 1 had found the right wood for mv drawer sides. And sycamore is a beautiful contrast to the mahogany.

I resawed the sycamore to (list over m. ihick, stickered u for a few davs and then nulled it u> m. thick. I kept the drawer sides thin to reduce the weight.

Drawers are dovetailed I don't cut half-blind dovetails every day. so I swept the

Web Frames Support the Drawers

Each web frame consists of a divider, or front rail, a pair of grooved 'of ' The two top frames are dadoed into the divider panels. The bottom frame is joined to the carcase wrth biscuits.

Top front rail

Spline, '■% in, thick, connects rear web-frame rail to runners.

section through carcase with plywood divider panel removed

Oust panel, ^n.-thick plywood

Kicker

Top rear rail

Drawer slips, in. sq„ support the drawer bottoms and strengthen the drawer.

Rear stretcher

Front stretcher

Bottom runners are attached to the carcase wrth »20 biscuits. The runners butt against the bottom drawer divxJer rail, which is rabbeted over the bottom front rail.

Drawer divider rail

Bottom front rail

Drawer slips, in. sq„ support the drawer bottoms and strengthen the drawer.

Tonfjes on drawer runners mate with Wn.-deep. 'Wn.-wide grooves in divider panels. Stub tenons on ends of runners mate with shallow mortises m the backs of the divider rails.

Top front rail

Spline, '■% in, thick, connects rear web-frame rail to runners.

section through carcase with plywood divider panel removed

Rear stretcher

Front stretcher

Bottom runners are attached to the carcase wrth »20 biscuits. The runners butt against the bottom drawer divxJer rail, which is rabbeted over the bottom front rail.

Oust panel, ^n.-thick plywood

Kicker

Top rear rail

Drawer divider rail

Bottom front rail

Drawer fronts extend below drawer sides by about' < m. When a drawer ts closed, the divider rail serves as a stop.

Breadboard-End Doors

Bmedboaid ends ifcki thick* than door panels keep the doors flat. Quartersawn stock ensures a minimum of panels.

SHIMS OF PLASTIC LAMINATE keep the reveal around the door consistent.

TAP THE SCREW HOLE with a steel screw, and then replace it with the softer brass screw.

Tenons and stub tenon, Vain, wide

Reveal. * m

shop floor twice (okay, three times before getting down to business. But once I started cutting them, things went smoothlv. When I cut dovetails tot drawers, I lax out r!ie joints so the drawer sides are slightly proud ot the tightlv fitted drawer fronts when the part* are glued together. This results in easier planing and a better final fit.

1 joined the drawer backs to the sides with sliding dovetails the backs mi on the drawer bottoms . I roughed out the slots in the sides on a table&aw and then routed them to finished size on a router table. The dovetails on the ends ot the backs were cut on the router table using the same bit and height setting used for the slots. Rather than resetting the fence if the joint dt>esn'i quite fii, take a pass w ith a handplane across the lace of the board, and then run it by the bit again. Taking one light pass off the end grain of the dovetail also helps case the fit.

I added drawer slips to the inside bottom edges of the drawer sides to give the edge of the drawer more bearing surface sec the drawing on p. 81). This helps prevent wear in the drawer runners. Drawer slips also are grooved for the drawer bottoms. This is stronger than grooving the -m.-thick drawei sides. Slips are notched to fit around the drawer backs.

I glued the half-blind doietaib ,it the front of the drawers with the back set in dry to keep the drawer square. I checked diagonal measurements inside the drawers to make sure thev were the same and used a clamp to adjust the drawers square where necessarv. After the glue had set, I carefully removed the backs, checked and trimmed the height of thi di iwer sides to lit i u openings. Then I glued the backs in place, using scrap plywood in the drawer grooves to keep the back from going dow n too far in the dovetailed slot.

A feeler gauge helps fit the drawers

It the drawers go together square, half the Kittle ovi r. I Htii : each :: iwt [ to lis opt i;-ing will be much easier. I started planing at the rear of the drawer sides and worked my wav forward, fitting the drawvrs until thev slid home smoothlv. I used a long, very thin feeler gauge available from most auto-parts u where ad ' u hung up. Once all the drawers wvre fitted. I trimmed the top and bottom edges of each of the drawer fronts to get even reveals between them all I planed the drawer faces flush to each other last.

One filial touch for the top drawer in this sideboard was to glue in a divider and a velvet bottom to protect the silverware that would ljkelv be put in it. 1 glued the velvet to a thin piece of cardboard using a can of aerosol spra\ mount vou can bin it at art-supph s[, i You!! want to list i respirator when using this stuff. Then I trimmed off the excess fabric around the edges and glued the cardboard to the plvwood drawer bottom. Make sure the groove for the drawer bottom is wide enough to accommodate the extra thickness of the cardboard and velvet.

A shaped divider slides into dadoes cut in the front and back ot the top drawer. 1 screwed the drawer bottom to the divider trorn below to prevent the bottom from sagging under the weight of silverware.

Breadboard ends keep door panels flat

Because tin door openings are 18 in. sij.. I thought two doors for each side would look better than one. Rather than using a traditional frame-and-panel construction. I designed the diwrs as panels w ith breadboard ends see the drawing on p. 82 .This * helps reinforce the strong horizontal lines of this sideboard and keeps the front from looking cluttered. The breadboard ends keep the panels flat yet still allow for movement. and the quart crsawn mahi>ganv minimizes the amount of shrinkage. The breadboard cn^ are in. thicker than the panels to add a shadow line to the front of the sideboard.

When fin in»; the joints, make sure that the breadboard ends slide onto the panels with just hand pressure. Otherwise, the ends may split.

To keep the breadboard ends tight against the panels, I planed a slight concavity along their lengths. When I glued the

Installing bullet catches in doors

DOOR CATCHES MUST BE ALIGNED PERFECTLY. Bullet catches won't - •• • at h and strike plate ne jp precis* so the author drills through the top rail and into the door to locate the holes for both parts simultaneously. The guide block clamped to the top rail prevents the drill bit from wandering.

BULLET CATCH PILOT HOLES are enlarged separately. Using a portable drill with a mask ing tape stop on the bit, the author enlarges the catch and stop holes and drills them to depth. The doors should be supported when the catch holes are bemg enlarged.

DOOR CATCHES MUST BE ALIGNED PERFECTLY. Bullet catches won't - •• • at h and strike plate ne jp precis* so the author drills through the top rail and into the door to locate the holes for both parts simultaneously. The guide block clamped to the top rail prevents the drill bit from wandering.

ends in place, I used a clamp to draw in their centers. This forces the ends in tight.

One of the other advantages of dimensioning the breadboard ends s in. thicker than the door panels, besides the shadow line, is that von can hammer against this lip to disassemble the doors when you're lining t! m, I used a block of s<. - ip and held mv hammer flat to thi panel. I hi dtsadvantagi : * that you can't plane the face of the dot : to make it flush with its neighbor—the breadboard end gets in the way. To simplify things. I disassembled the doors and cleaned u the ends and p int Is individu illy before gluing each assembly together. Then I glued onlv the center 2 in. BO 3 111. of the tenon and clamped the breadboard ends to the panel.

Laminate shims help set reveal .

door rails should line up horizontally, whatever vou do to the rail on one door, vou med to do to ihe corresponding rail on tin-other door. I started by fitting the bottom ■ ail and hiiH e std. of i in» dotu to thi o n it ■ I sine picct - of laminati to set the reveal, I handplaned the hoitom and hinge edges of the door until the reveal was consistent. Then 1 mortised the door for the bottom knife hinge.

With the bottom hinge in place (but not screwed in , I trimmed the door's top rail until us reveal was consistent with the bottom and hinge side revcals.Thcn I mortised Ioi top hmgt. I repe ued thi si steps tor tin second door Sonn ilung to . p in mind is that if the di>ors don't align across their feces, vou can .liter that alignment somewhat by moving a hinge mortise slightlv in or out. Make anv adjustments on the bottom rail hinge mortises where thev won't be noticeable.

Before any final fitting «>1 the door reveals. I set steel screws into the hinges. I used a Via bit. which is self-centering, to set the screw hole center. Then I drilled the hole to depth, put some wax on a steel screw and drove it home. This cut the threads for the hole and eliminated the risk of snapping off the head of one of the softer brass screws.

When both doors were hinged and all screws had been driven home. I checked the reveal berwt n the two doors see the top photo on p 82 and planed as necessary to - ;akt tills ' the some as the others. Also, I planed a slight bevel along their mating edg< ■>> the doors would have room to open. I n I replaced the steel screws with the brass ones that came with the hinges.

Bullet catches give a positive stop Bullet catches make a satisfying thunk when thev engage, but thev have to be placed with huUs-i w itacv if thev are to work at all. I wedged the doors tirmlv in place with scrap: then I drilled down through a guide block, through the top front rail, through the scrap and into each door with a -iru-dia. bu see the photo at left on p, 84 . Drilling both holes at once guaranteed that mating pit a - ot the catch would be aligned.

Once I'd established the location of the holes with the -in.-bit. 1 used a series of progressiveh larger twist drill bits to enlarge the holes to ^ in. I enlarged the holes in the door and rail separately, drilling up into tin ft >nt rail and down into the edge of the door. I supported the doors when drilling the holes to avoid putting a lot of shear on the hinge screws. 1 used masking tap» stops on the bits to let me know when I was at depth. I set the bullet catch and strike plate into their holes with a *

dab of epoxv and used a clamp and a wt'ivi.c. i ml t > -.Mill them home. I applied clamping pressure very gradually because both catch and strike plate tended to resist the clampme force at first and then give wav all of a sudden.

1 attached door stops to the insides of the door openings with brass screws. I-v into shallow mortises in the stops with barge cement.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment