Dovetailed

THE BASIC

CASE

A simple dovetailed box is modified to accommodate the legs. Dovetails can be cut coarse (with wide pins and tails) because the top will cover them. Narrow tails at the front and back of the top and stub tenons at the case bottom are later fitted to the legs.

Wide dovetails are covered later by the top.

Wide dovetails are covered later by the top.

Narrow dovetail fits top of leg.

Stub tenon holds leg in place.

Narrow dovetail fits top of leg.

Stub tenon holds leg in place.

THROUGH-

TENONS RESIST

RACKING

The partitions are set into stopped dadoes cut into the top and bottom of the case. Through-tenons on the partitions are housed in mortises cut into the case.

Through-mortise

Dado stops just short of case front.

Through-mortise

Dado stops just short of case front.

LEGS SLIDE

INTO PLACE

By housing each leg in a narrow dovetail at the top of the case and a stub tenon at the bottom, the leg can be slipped into place from underneath after the basic case has been assembled. Stopped dadoes are cut to accept the drawer frames. Cutting the dadoes with ends and legs clamped up before assembly ensures perfect alignment. The exposed top is screwed to the top of the case from underneath.

or machine, but remember that the layout is different at each corner where a leg joins the case (see top photos, p. 73). The top rear dovetails are narrow so there's enough room on the legs to cut the rabbets for the back boards. The case bottom has stub tenons that will be housed in the legs. These tenons are shouldered so that any later sanding won't change the fit of the joints. Once the piece is finished, none of the joinery will be visible, so the dovetails can be coarse (with wide pins and tails).

Filling out the facade—Interior partitions not only delineate sections, but they also provide strong vertical support to prevent the case top from sagging. The partition joints are somewhat fussy to cut, but they add considerable strength to the case (see bottom photos, p. 73). Shallow stopped dadoes are used to locate the partitions. Tenons are positioned on the partition ends so that there is extra holding power at the edges with enough tenons across the middle to strengthen against racking. The partitions are held in line by the dadoes, which makes fitting the thickness of the partitions to the dadoes careful work. Partitions should be cut a bit longer than the ends to leave some extra tenon length for final flushing.

Because the partitions are fully housed in the dadoes, there are only small shoulders at the front. It is very important that when clamped, the tenon shoulders bottom out in the dadoes, keeping both the top and bottom of the case parallel. So work hard at cleaning up the dadoes to keep them at a consistent depth.

To gauge the front shoulders, work in from both ends with a cutting gauge at the front until what's left between the lines equals the distance between the base of the pins cut on the case ends. Then add the depth of the dado and mark the space between the tenons. The trick is to get the small front shoulder to close at the same time that the end grain between the tenons bottoms out in the dado. This ensures that the top and bottom will remain parallel.

Once the tenons have been cut, locate the mortises in the dadoes. Line up the fronts of the partitions with the front of the case and mark around the tenons to establish your mortises. There is no need to ain the tenons through, but it does add strength and keeps you from having to clean the bottoms of the mortises. When the partitions fit squarely into place, you've finished framing the basic case.

Attaching the legs to the case—The legs are mortised to accept the stub tenons cut into the bottom board (see photos, left). Because these tenons and the top dovetails share the same shoulder line, the legs should register flush to the case ends. Once the top dovetails are let into the legs, you can't trim any more wood off the legs and ends, so make sure this joint is accurate before you cut it.

This method puts one serious requirement on the legs. They can be sawn to shape, turned, or carved, but the solid glue surfaces must meet the case ends.

To guarantee alignment, it's best to cut the dadoes for the drawer dividers using a router with the case ends and legs clamped up. Once the stopped dadoes have been cut, the case constaiction becomes fairly

By adding an inlaid apron and carefully tapering and inlaying the legs, a simple design turns into a Federal showpiece.
Ebony splines, pulls, and pegs, rounded corners, and carefully recessed legs can be used to build a softer Arts and Crafts style.

JjMfeil-te -Jpj 2JJJ7 I3

Proportion and detail can be used to lend a sideboard a period feel. Working out a new design gives you a chance to try some of these possibilities and find a good fit for the design and style ideas of the piece you want to build. The size, shape, and proportions of a piece, along with the choice of materials, finish, hardware, and embellishments, work together to define the style.

The mocked-up sideboard was designed only as a model for construction, but the size and proportions, along with the tapered legs, give it a Shaker feeling. This design could be made of maple or cherry with a simple molding for the doors. I made the storage capacity as large as possible without losing the horizontal effect of the case. The central bay of drawers is wider than the side bays to allow for some larger drawers and because the narrow side bays keep the doors from looking too square. The resulting side bays frame and balance the strongly horizontal case.

Federal sideboards typically rely on large veneered surfaces for decoration. But a simpler, solid-wood construction inspired by the period could be built easily using this construction system (top left). Touches of inlay and the use of simple stringing (inlaid veneer strips) echo the effect of the more complex examples. I would use legs that are either tapered and inlaid or turned below the case bottom. Turned legs could be embellished by reeding the long tapers. The square top section of the legs could have a rectangular panel defined by holly stringing. To maintain the flat appearance of Federal veneered doors, two options come to mind: 1) a solid-wood frame-and-panel door with the panel rabbeted to be flush to the frame or 2) a mitered solid-wood frame with a veneered panel for contrast. A small, curved apron below the bottom edge of the case would soften the shape of the case. The long, slender legs and small case section give the piece a delicate appearance.

A Stickley-influenced, Arts and Crafts sideboard should be heavier looking to emphasize its medieval inspiration (center). I would use oak, fumed or stained to look old. The legs could be thicker to stand proud of the case. The case ends as well as the front framing members would be set back Vs in. to make the construction distinct. The divisions of the front space enhance the overall effect: The doors are square and severe, eliminating any sense of vertical lift. The large drawer at the bottom has a slablike appearance. The entire piece looks solid and heavy.

Also under the umbrella of the Arts-and-Crafts movement is the Greene-and-Greene sideboard (left). The furniture and architecture of Greene and Greene are a bit more refined and softer than Stick-ley's, with more gentle curves. The piece is strongly horizontal— even the doors are wider than they are tall. You can incorporate these and other details: carved door panels or stepped cloud-lift door rails, ebony splines and details, and bordering surfaces enhanced by setbacks and rounded corners. The overall effect should balance explicit construction with softness in detail.

STICKLEY

Typical of the Arts and Crafts movement, this design uses heft and hardware to create a solid sideboard with a medieval inspiration.

STICKLEY

Typical of the Arts and Crafts movement, this design uses heft and hardware to create a solid sideboard with a medieval inspiration.

SIDEBOARD BACK

BACK RIDES

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