PLUS: A STURDY KID'S TABLE AND CHAIR SET
Editor Design Director Managing Editor Assistant Editor Project Designer Technical Illustrators
Computer Operations Administrative Assts.
Donald B. Peschke
Douglas L. Hicks
Douglas M. Lidster
David Kreyling Cary Christensen Rod Stoakes Chris Glowacki
Sandy Baum, Mgr. Vicky Robinson Jackie Stroud Pat Koob
Cheryl Scott Jean Carey
Building Maintenance Archie Krause
The Woodsmith Store
Operations Steve Krohmer
Marketing Manager Steve Dozier
Administrative Asst. Christel Miner
St. Louis. MO Jon Behrle
Berkeley, CA Michael DeHaven
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Sawdust about this issue. There's a woodworking technique that's not talked about much. Most of the time it's ignored as a legitimate way to join two pieces of wood. Indeed, most woodworkers go to great lengths to avoid using this technique, preferring more traditional methods.
What's the technique? Using wood-screws. Okay, it's not a big surprise. But you have to admit that screws don't receive the attention of joints like dovetails or mortise and tenon. They really don't even rank up there with dowels.
We used wood screws extensively for the projects in this issue. In fact, if you look back, we've actually used them quite a bit on all sorts of projects. So we thought it was time to get down to the details of exactly what kind of screws we use, and how we use them.
types of screws. The article on pages 20 to 21 describes a variety of screws that can be used for woodworking. The main point is that we've used the basic wood-screw in most of the past issues. That is, we've shown the type of screw that has a slotted flat head, smooth (unthreaded) shank, and a spiral threaded section.
But recently we've begun to switch over to particle board screws (a close cousin of drywall screws). Among other things, these screws have a wLo-Root" shank, and the threads are deeper, sharper and at a steeper angle. Also, instead of the typical slotted head, the screws we've chosen have a Robertson square- drive head.
history. It would be easy to assume that the use of woodscrews is a relatively recent phenomenon — a short-cut for the modem woodworker. Actually, wood-screws came into popular use around the turn of the twentieth century.
It was then that many craftsmen decided that woodscrews were the salvation of the furniture industry. Out went the old joinery methods, to be replaced by metal screws.
Unfortunately, when they threw out the old joinery methods, they seemed to throw out the reasons behind these methods, too. As a result, the joinery that employed screws on the furniture of this period has failed. And screws have gotten a bad reputation. However, the problem was not that screws were used for joinery, but that they were not used properly.
mechanical joints. Screws fall into a basic category of mechanical fasteners, which includes nails and dowels. Although screws and dowels are both mechanical fasteners, they're not used the same way.
When dowels are used to join two pieces of wood, they're joined (glued) to both pieces. That is, both ends of the dowel are glued into matching holes in both pieces of wood. The dowel is sort of a bonded link that holds the pieces together.
Screws, on the other hand, are actually clamps. When joining two pieces of wood, the threads of the screw only "grab" the second (anchor) board. The first (top) board is simply held down by the head of the screw.
Okay, enough theory. The point is that I generally think of screws as spot clamps used in conjunction with glue. When joining two pieces of wood with glue and screws, the glue creates the actual bond. The screws are clamps that hold the pieces together until the glue dries.
The bottom line is this: If you're trying to decide between using dowels or screws, I would choose screws in most cases. Screws (and glue) provide a much more positive joint than dowels (and glue) because of the clamping action of the screws.
computer furniture. As we began to design the computer furniture in this issue, it was interesting to see how a computer desk varied from "standard" furniture. The height of a standard desk is designed for comfort and efficiency for uniting (and shuffling papers). Although it varies a little, the height of most desks is between 29" and 30".
However, when designing the computer desk, it had to be an efficient height for a keyboard (the computer's "pencilT So we converted the center drawer of the desk (the pencil drawer) to a pull-out keyboard drawer. This also worked out nicely because we could keep the desk height at the standard 29" while at the same time lowering the keyboard drawer to a comfortable typing height.
kid's furniture. I thought I should mention one thing about the Kid's Table and Chairs shown in this issue. These pieces are sized for kids from about 2 years old to 7 years old. To build a larger set for older (bigger) children (6 to 10 years old), scale up the seat height of the chair and the surface height of the table so they're about 2" higher.
One other thing. Projects like this have a limited useful life — which is another way of saying, kids grow. So we used knockdown connectors to assemble the major components of these projects. This way, as the kids grow out of them, they can be knocked down and stored to await the next generation. Or, shipped to other members of the family.
next mailing. The next issue of Wood-smith, (No. 57) will be mailed during the week of July 11, 1988.
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THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.