Dimensions Of Bedsteads

Width. HeiRht.


i—Heigh t---^








Rail. Side Rail.


. 78











Double bod . ..






■ ■ «

.. 78





Note: All dimensions arc in inches.


The Drawer. Plate XVI.

Nearly every article of furniture may be provided with a drawer; and the ease with which it slides, and its accuracy of fitting are tests of good workmanship. To have a wide, deep drawer slide so easily that the pressure of a finger placed against the front at one end is sufficient to move it, means careful adjustment, skilled labor» and the best materials.

The drawer is composed of a front, back, two sides and a bottom. The front is the only part visible when the drawer is closed, and upon its treatment depends the decorative value of the drawer. It may be considered as a panel surrounded by mouldings; or it may be left plain, depending on the hardware for its ornamentation.

If the front is on the same plane as the surrounding surfaces of the case the line of the joint about the drawer is too clearly defined. It is better to hide this joint by allowing the drawer to slide in a sixteenth of an inch beyond the face of the framework, or to place a bead all round the edge of the drawer.

Sometimes the front of the drawer has its edge rebated so that instead of sliding into the pocket beyond the surface of the case it projects beyond, and the lip of the rebate covers the joint around the drawer. The sides of the drawer are dovetailed to the front and the bottom is either grooved directly in the sides or in strips glued to them. This latter method is used when the sides are too thin for grooving. The full thickness of the bottom is not grooved into the front and sides, but its edge is reduced in thickness by bevelling, or rebating, thus permitting the bottom to be placed low without making the portion of the sides below the groove too thin.

The space between the lower edge of the drawer front and the bottom at its thickest part is about one-eighth inch. Hence the interior depth of a drawer is the depth of the front minus the thickness of the bottom plus one-eighth inch. The average drawer having a 6

bottom of half an inch would, therefore, have an interior depth five-eighths of an inch less than it appears on the front. Wide drawers, like those extending the full width of a bureau, sometimes have the bottom divided through the middle, from front to back, by a rail or muntin. This prevents the bottom from bending beneath the weight placed on it and also decreases the tendency to warp. The bottom should be long enough to extend beyond the back piece. It is also grooved into the front, where it is fastened, but it ought not to be secured elsewhere. This method of construction admits of the bottom shrinking, but as it is fastened on the front only and free to move elsewhere it will not crack, and the extra length beyond the back prevents an opening appearing at that end.

The back may be grooved or dovetailed in the sides. The dimensions of the different parts are. dependent on the size of the drawer. For ordinary work the front is seldom more than seven-eighths inch thick; and the sides, bottom and back more than one-half inch.

In casework the drawer slides in a pocket, and often there are several drawers, one above the other. When enclosed the drawer slides on a supporting frame, the front rail of which is called the "bearer," and the side rails "runners." Close against the sides and supported by the runners are narrow strips of wood that serve to keep the drawer in place; these are the "guides."

Sometimes the frame between the drawers is open, and if one of the series is removed that beneath may be emptied by reaching through the opening above. In better work the frame is filled with a panel, called a dust panel, that prevents this.

The drawer is not always enclosed. Sometimes it is hung beneath a table top and exposed to view. When used in this way cleats are fastened to the outer surface of the sides and slide in grooved pieces screwed to the underside of the table top. If the cleats set close to the upper edge of the sides of the drawer they increase the thickness of this edge which is in contact with the under surface of the table top. As this surface may not be true the drawer will not work smoothly unless hung loosely.

A better arrangement is the one illustrated with the cleat set a little below the edge of the drawer, and fitted smoothly in the grooved bearer. The edge of the drawer may then be set so as not to rub against the top of the table, and yet the drawer is held secure by the cleats sliding in the grooved supports. Sometimes the groove is in the side of the drawer, and the bearer is provided with a tongue that fits it. reversing the method just described.



Hal«« thrown riwrr. -stm»« through back and siot.


When it is desirable to place a drawer in a piece of furniture having a triangular plan, as for instance a corner cabinet, the guides at the side are useless, as the drawer does not come in contact with them except when pushed in. As soon as the drawer is pulled out ever so little it no longer fills the width of the pocket. If it is necessary to slide a drawer of this shape a rail is placed in the middle of the bottom the length of the drawer from front to back. The underside of this rail is grooved over a tongued strip immediately beneath it, thai serves as a guide to keep the drawer in the middle of the pocket. Such an arrangement is not always feasible, and then the triangular drawer is pivoted at the iront edge, so instead of sliding it swings out of the pocket.

For music cabinets, library cases, etc., the use of the drawer may make it necessary to pull it out sufficiently that the entire length can be seen. A drawer constructed in the usual way would, if pulled out so far, fall to the floor as soon as the hand left it. A drawer is made, however, with slides at the sides that support it when out its full length. The illustration shows such a method. The side of the drawer is about twice as thick as ordinarily, and the lower portiou is rebated about half its depth and thickness. In this rebate a slide is fitted, exactly filling it. Hie rear end of the slide is increased in width to the full depth of the drawer. When the drawer is closed the slide and the side of the drawer are practically one; when the drawer is pulled out to a fixed point the slide catches against a stop and does not move any further, but the drawer then moves along the slide until it is nearly, or entirely, out of the pocket, when it is stopped by a pin moving in a groove in the side of the slide. The drawer is then resting entirely on the slides, which are sufficiently far in the pocket to carry the weight, and the widened portion at the rear end of them filling the space between the runners, prevents upsetting.

When a pair of doors closes against a case of drawers another system may be used in place of the above. The doors can be hung so as to open to a position in the plane of the sides of the cabinet and held there by stops. Their inner surface may also be provided with runners on which the drawer can slide when it is pulled out beyond the pocket.

CHAPTER VL Ornamentation of Furniture.

IN addition to the general outline and proportion of furniture, its appearance is dependent upon ornamentation. This should not, however, become so important as to destroy the constructive elements or the utility. A properly designed article may be quite as pleasing when entirely devoid of ornament as when its surfaces are covered by enrichments of some sort.

In many instances what is termed ornament is but a roughening or coloring of the surface in hopes to divert the attention from bad forms or poor construction. It is understood that woodwork free from surface ornament must be well made, the wood carefully selected, and care taken to use together picces of the same color and figure of grain. The joints unless properly made become conspicuous, exposing the poor workmanship. The finish, that is the varnishing and rubbing, must be well done that the wood may not appear to be covered by a candied surface full of lumps and streaks. Work well made and finished feels to the hand almost as soft and smooth as silk velvet, while to the eye the grain of the wood shows clear and sparkling beneath the thin well-rulxbed film of varnish which fills the pores yet scarcely more than covers the surface. In such work the beauty is dependent upon pleasing outlines, good proportions and workmanship. The smallest details, like softening the angle, rounding a corner, etc., require attention because of their influence on the appearance of the whole.

There are times when it is desirable to do more than fill the demands of service, and additional expense may be incurred by enriching the simple form with decoration.

There are several methods of doing this. Perhaps the most difficult to do well, and yet the most common, is carving, it can be used as a surface ornament, treated as a panel, either cut below the surface of the wood or in relief. The constructive parts, as posts, rails,


mouldings, etc., may be also in ornamental forms. In die first instance, panel work, the problem is one of designing an ornament to properly fill the space, keeping in mind the effect of light and shade. The pattern is in relief of varying planes, and the different parts must be of a size that will be in keeping with the space filled as well as the entire article.

The ornament may closely fill the whole space or be loosely scafr-tered over the surface, but in either instance it should seem to belong where it is, and not as if it might be placed elsewhere or was floating about in a space much too large ior it.

In some kinds of furniture may be seen small ornaments in high relief cut from a block glued in the middle of a plain surface many times the length and width of the ornament. Such carving appears a* if stuck on, even if it is well executed, for it is wrongly placed and inadequate to the space it occupies. It is not because it is glued .in that makes it uninteresting, as might be supposed, but because it if-badly designed. Had the surface of the solid wood been or away 10 leave carving of the same design in relief a similar feeling of ils having been applied would exist. Nevertheless the practice of gluing cn carving should be discouraged.

When the constructive parts are carved care should be taken to design the ornament so the contour of the part is not destroyed. Instead of detracting from the form it ought to enforce it. This may be accomplished by keeping the principal masses of the ornament well within the boundary lines of the part decorated and by making the ornamental growths follow the direction of the structural lines.

If the carving is on the surface of a chair back where it may be leaned against it should not be of such a high relief as to be disagreeable or so sharp as to be dangerous to the clothing. The illustration given (frontispiece) here is an example of over ornamentation and exquisite carving misplaced. It is a chair with the arm post finely and skilfully carved, but so delicate in its detail as to be almost too frail for practical use. And so rough and sharp are the angles that should a delicate dress be pulled across it it would probably be torn.

Plain surfaces have quite as. much value as those that are ornamented, and by bringing them in conjunction so as to secure a contrast the best results are obtained.

It has been mentioned in a previous chapter (page 10) that the wood used for the construction has an influence on the design. This is especially true of carved ornament. Although it may be possible to do delicate carving in the coarse-grained woods it is certainly not good taste to do so. In the close-grained woods, like satinwood, mahogany and maple, we expect to see delicate and fine work, while in oak, ash and walnut we at once look for a different sort of thing.

Carved surfaces with the background cut entirely through, that is perforated, are serviceable forms of ornamentation for chairs, tables, and occasionally for case work.

What has been said relative to surface carving is applicable to this style of work. The design ought to be of a kind in which the spaces and the solids balance each other properly, and no portion should be cut around so as to leave it joined to the rest of the work at one point only. Aside from the poor appearance of such a form it is weak in construction and likely to split off.

Plate XVII. illustrates perforated carving in use on chair backs and shows how the parts are joined. It will be noticed that the perforated ornament is confined to the slat in the middle of the back, one-half of which is drawn as it appears when finished, while the other half is only blocked1 out ready for ornament.

This is quite clear in the shield back design, where the middle slat is simple in form. The other chair has a more elaborate slat and its character as such is almost hidden by the form of the ornament, ft should be noticed in designing a back of this sort that the general outlines are first determined, keeping in mind the constructive principles. In. the chair illustrated the outline of the back is drawn first, next the ellipses composing the slat, and finally the carving. This latter follows carefully the lines of the composition so as not to destroy the original forms. The acanthus on the sides of the center ellipse lap close about it, and as the opening in the middle of this ellipse was too large for practical purposes or appearance, the group of husk ornaments was placed in the middle.

Where the top of the slat, in the form of a horizontal ellipse, joins the top rail of the back a dowel is placed. The thickness of the material included in the outlines of the ellipse is hardly sufficient to make a strong joint, and to have increased the thickness at this point only would have destroyed the appearance of the design unless dome way had been taken to prevent it.

This was done by turning a scroll at the point where the dowel occurs and filling in between the scroll and top rail with a small acanthus. This gives the increased material without injuring the appearance. and is a rational method of using carved ornament.



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