Distinguish Designing From Draughting

Note.—All dimensions are given in inches. Height* are above the floor. Slope cf back Is measured, at seat level, to a perpendicular through highest point of the back.


Casework, Panelling, Bedsteads.

The beauty of casework is dependent on: Firstly, its proportion as a whole. That is whether the height, the width, and the depth are of dimensions that appear well together. In most problems at least one of these dimensions is fixed by some requirement of utility. The designer is then expected to decide the other two.

Secondly, the disposition of the parts (i. e. panels, framing, architectural members, such as columns, mouldings, etc.), of which the case is composed has its influence on the design. Whether the panels are large, or small; whether they are arranged in pairs, or grouped in another way; whether the mouldings are heavy or light; etc., are the questions studied.

Thirdly: The ornamentation. This is the last point to be considered, because if the general form is bad no amount of decoration, whatever its quality, will make a good piece of furniture. As the subject of the ornamentation of furniture is treated as a separate chapter (VI) it need not be discussed further here.

In front elevation casework usually approaches more or less the form of a rectangle and the first condition in its design is to find a method for determining the ratio of the sides of a rectangle most agreeable to the eye. This has already been studied by several writers with at least two solutions.

One assumes a square as the starting point and implies that any rectangle having two sides equal to the sides of the square will be well proportioned if the other two sides are not more than twice its length. In other words, a well-formed rectangle is not more than two squares long. Plate XII.

Another ratio given is that of two to three. Assuming that if the width of the rectangle is two, the length should be three. This ratio, of course, is included within the limits of the first method.

For the purposes of designing it may be assumed that the reccan-

gle, whether vertical or horizontal, represents the principle mass of the case. What is technically known as the body. To this may be added at the top the crowning members, and at the bottom the base on which the whole is supported. To the sides may be added the projections of mouldings, columns, brackets, or other decorative features.

The relation of the various parts to each other and to the whole should be kept in mind. Often casework consists of an upper and lower section. The lower part must not only be sufficiently strong to support what is above it, but it ought to appear so without seeming heavier than is necessary. The base or feet should be proportioned to the mass above and the crown members, well supported, are to be made large enough to serve as a finish for the case without apparently crushing it.

The spacing and arranging of the principal lines dividing the case into panels, drawers, etc., is to be such as will give pleasing results, and there are an infinite number of arrangements possible. The whole mass may be divided into two equal parts by a i»ost the same . size as one on each corner of the cabinet, No. 3, Plate XII. This sort of a division has the disadvantage oi causing the case to appear as if it were made of two smaller ones placed together, and as if the two parts were balanced on the middle line. It is not considered the best way of doing.

A similar composition is one in which the case is divided into three parts with the middle one the smallest. This has the faults of the former method though not in such a marked degree. When three divisions are made the best appearance is obtained by making the middle one larger than those each side of it. No. 6, Plate XII. Other arrangements are also shown on this same plate.

As was mentioned above, furniture should be adapted to its use, and if possible its design should indicate the use. The location of an article in a room has its effect on the appearance. So much so, that if possible the designer should study the surroundings. He is then in a position to make a design that will harmonize with the decoration of the room, and an article of a size best suited to the space it will occupy. He can also see how much light will fall on it and be governed somewhat by this in determining the size of the mouldings, etc. If the room is well lighted a moulded member if fine and delicate will show to advantage but in a dark corner larger moulding will be more suitable.



Plate XU.



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As casework pieces are usually the largest in the room they are quite prominent, no matter how simple they may be, and care must be taken not to make their presence obtrusive by over ornamentation. The decoration used should be appropriate, sparingly applied, and of the highest quality of execution. Casework approaches nearer to architectural designing than any other furniture draughting. In nearly every article mouldings are used that are identical with-those of architecture. They are combined in the same way and their use is for much the same purpose. There are eight forms from which nearly all others are derived by combination or variation and their names arc of importance as serving a means tor description.

Plate XIV. illustrates these mouldings as follows:

The fillet is a narrow, flat surface, usually above or below another moulding, and it may be either a projecting or receding member. When below the surrounding surface it is a sunk Met.

The bead is a small, half-round moulding either projecting from or even with the surrounding surface. In the latter case there is a narrow groove at one side, and it is called a quirked bead.

The cavetto is a hollow moulding, the outline of which does not exceed a quarter circle; and the ovoh is the reverse of the cavetto; that is, a projecting member of which the outline is a segment not exceeding a quarter. The cavetto and ovolo are not always circular in outline. Any curve may be employed, but the circular or elliptical form are most common.

The cyma recta, or ogee, has a profile composed of two arcs hollow and convex, like a wave, the hollow at the top. The crown member of cornices is often made with this moulding.

The cyma reversa, as its name indicates, is the reverse of the ogee; the convex curve is at the top and the concave below.

The scotia is a concave moulding- with the outline a segment of a circle often greater than a semi-circle. It is sometimes callcd a thumb moulding, and the hollow section is then composed of two tangent arcs of different radii.

A torus is a large convex moulding usually with a semi-circular profile. When any of these mouldings are used beneath a horizontal surface forming an angle with a vertical one it is called a bed mould,

Later we will see that mouldings used to hold panels in place are sometimes partly above the surrounding rails. They are then called raised mouldings to distinguish them from flush Mouldings which are level with the rail. Mouldings serve various practical purposes but their aesthetic effect is to be thought of. They produce much the same result, when used as a frame, that a line border does about a drawing. The eflect of light and shade on a moulding is to produce a series ot lines that vary indefinitely, according to the proportions of the mouldings and its parts. A deep undercut moulding gives a heavy dark shadow, a black line; and a narrow flat moulding a light shadow; a fine line.

The position of the moulding in relation to the eye may also apparently increase or diminish its members. If it is placed above or below the eye so the mouldings ascends or descends, respectively, and recede from the eye the member will diminish in size appearing thinner than it is. On the other hand, if the moulding descends or ascends respectively the member will appear thicker than it really is.

When a moulded member is composed of two or more of the simple forms described above it owes its charm somewhat to the introduction of a fillet which separates each moulding from that adjoining. An important combination of mouldings is their use in the crown members of cabinets. We have already called attention to having this proportioned to the size of the body below; in addition, it should not project too much. If its overhang is not greater than its depth it will usually look well but in many instances it will be found desirable to keep somewhat within this limit.

Mouldings may be ornamented by carving and when so treated

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care must be taken to preserve their general form. It is usual on architectural members to employ the profile of the moulding as the leading- line of the ornaments upon it. Thus, the fillet may be decorated by vertical lines as flutes, fret, or dentils; the bead, by "pearls," bead and spindle; the torus by the guillcche; the ovolo, by an egg and dart; and the cymas, by the heart ornament, etc.

Cases are composed of a top, a bottom, and uprights between which are panels of wood or glass. Plate XIII. shows a section of a cabinet with the parts separated so as to illustrate how it is constructed. The column forming the corner post is doweled to the base and cornice. The sides and back are panelled and are either doweled or rebated to the other parts. The bottom and top is composed of a (rame


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of several kinds of joints. Though these are not always shown on the drawings it is desirable that the draughtrnan be familiar with them. They may be arranged in three groups, comprising those commonly used in furniture construction; the butt, the angle, and the framing joint.

The butt-joint is employed when two pieces of wood are joined together in the same plane. The simplest form is when the edges of the two pieces are brought together and held by glue, rio other connecting medium being used. This is often sufficient, and when properly made is quite strong. It is almost invisible in the majority of woods when made so the grain is parallel with the line of contact.

When a stronger method is required, and one side of the pieces joined is hidden from view, blocks are glued across the joint, 011 the unexposed surface, so as to stiffen it. The grain of these blocks must be parallel with that of the joined pieces that shrinkage may not loosen, or cause them to crack.

Another way of uniting the edges of two boards is by the tongue and groove. A tongue, or projecting piece, along the middle of the edge of one piece is matched to a groove in the edge of the other. Sometimes in place of this, a groove is cut in the edge of each of the boards throughout their entire length. Into these grooves is then glued a hardwood strip, called the tongue,or slip-feather, uniting the two pieces.

The most popular joint with the cabinet-maker is the dowel-joint. It is, perhaps, the best where the wood is of sufficient thickness to permit its use. A dowel is a wooden pin used for fastening two pieces of wood together by inserting part of its length into one piece, the rest entering a corresponding hole in the other. Sometimes a number of dowels are fitted tightly into holes bored for them in one of the pieces to be joined and the other has corresponding holes bored in it, in which the dowels also fit tightly when the two pieces are glued together.

Angle joints are. frequently mitred. That is the joined edges are cut at a bevel bisecting the angle between them when united. The union is made by butting the pieces and gluing them together. As this does not make a strong joint in itself it is stiffened in various ways. One method is to drive small bits of corrugated metal in the ends of the pieces, and across the joint, thus binding the parts together. At other times corner blocks are glued on the inner side of the mitred angle.

For rounded corners, or when a mitred angle is not wanted, the two pieces may be tongued and grooved together. The tongue is on the inner edge of one of the pieces so that as much wood as possible is retained outside the groove on the other. The best and strongest method of joining two pieces at an angle is by dovetailing. When


the joint is made so the full thickness of each piece joined is visible, and the shape oi each dovetail can be seen, the joint is a plain dovetail. The lapped dovetail is constructed so the joint is seen at the side only, and is commonly used for fastening the sides and front of drawers together. When it is desirable to have all indications of the dovetailing hidden a combination of the mitre and dovetail is used in which the dovetails are cut in part of the thickness of the wood and the mitre in the remainder. Such a joint is a mitred dovetail.

The usual framing joints used by furniture makers are the dowel-joint, and the mortise and tenon. (See also page 17.)

The true mortise (cavity) is cut near the end of one piece to receive the tongue (tenon) of the other. The tenon is not always the full width of the piece on which it is cut but often is narrower.

When framing for a series of panels, a groove is sunk the whole length of two of the framing pieces (those extending horizontally, called rails), and those at right angles to them (vertical pieces between the panels, the stiles) have tenons cut on them which fit in the grooves. These grooves also receive the panels. This method avoids cutting a mortise for each tenon and the name given to the joint is stub-town.

When two pieces are joined by cutting away half the thickness of each, and then lapping them together they are said to be halved. Such a joint is sometimes combined with a mitre so that where exposed to view it appears like any mitred joint. It is then said to be halved-mitred.

Broad surfaces of casework are panelled partially as a means of decoration but principally for constructive reasons. If the surface were made from a solid board it would soon crack and warp as the wood became dryer. It might be built up and veneered as has been described for table tops (page 18), and this is occasionally done, but as panelling gives a change of plane with a chance for light and shade it is more commonly used.

The panels are, however, veneered and cross-veneered on both sides of a core whenever perfect workmanship is wanted.

Panels are surrounded by a frame which may be grooved to receive them, but a better way is to rebate the frame and hold the panels in by mouldings. Three ways of doing this are shown on plate XIV. In the joiner's method either a groove is worked in the styles of the surrounding frame to hold the panel, and then the moulding is placed in the angle against the panel; or, a rebate is cut in which both panel and moulding are set.

In either case, if the moulding is nailed in, the nail will probably be driven directly in the panel or else diagonally through both the edge of the panel and rail. In the first instance any shrinkage of the panel causes a crack- to appear between the frame and the moulding.

To avoid this a rebate can be cut in the moulding, when it is large enough to permit, so it will lap over on the frame a little and hide the joint.

Rut here although (see illustration) the nail holds the moulding close against the frame, it also catches the edge of the panel and prevents it moving. The result is that cracks appear in the panel itself.

It does not improve matters much ii the moulding is glued in tor the glue almost always binds both moulding and panel to the frame so that a rupture will occur somewhere.

The cabinet-maker avoids these difficulties. First, he cuts a rebate in the frame on the finish side. In this the moulding is glued solidly so it becomes a part of the frame itself. When the glue is dry the varnished panel is set in from the back and held in place by plain mouldings nailed to the frame. This leaves the panel loose and free to move should shrinkage lake place. The object in varnishing the panel before setting it is that if any movement does occur it will not be seen by the exposure of a line of unfinished wood.

Flush panels are so named because their surface is level with the surrounding frame.. They are set in a rebate from the back and secured by a nailed moulding. In most cases a bead is run all round the edge of the panel so as to hide the joint between it and the frame. Such panels are used for the back of cases and in places where no decorative effect is wanted.

Panels may have the edges beveled or rebated below their surface, so as to produce a sort of border around the panel itself. Such panels are sometimes spoken of as raised panels to distinguish them from a flat, even surface.

The surface of a panel is made of more carefully selected wood than that used for mouldings, and rails, with the intention of having a handsome grain. Veneers are chosen that have been cut from a portion of a log furnishing strong markings, or "figures," when polished, and these are sometimes cur in smaller pieces either half or quarter the size of the panel, and placed together so the lines of the grain will form a pattern or a "picture." At other times a design is inlaid on the panel, or it is carved. The simplest form of carved panel is that with the surface moulded to resemble, more or less, the folds of drapery, and called linen, or parchment panels.











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