Drawer positioning and depths

There are no strict rules regarding the number, dimensions or positioning of drawers in carcasses, although the old custom was to graduate the depth of the drawers with the deepest drawer at the base to allow for visual foreshortening, while deep drawers were never placed at the top as they tend to look somewhat overbalanced. These refinements are often neglected but always worth considering for good proportionment, moreover drawers should never be too deep or they tend to hide their contents and are heavy to pull out, while over-wide drawers are inclined to rock as they are pushed home especially if they are a little slack in the openings. Drawers in cabinets and chests can be from 3 in (76 mm) deep outside measurement up to say 9 in (228 mm) deep, always remembering that a good 1/2 in (12.5 mm) is lost from the inside depth. Filing-drawer dimensions will be governed by the standard size of the file hangers used; plan-chest drawers should fit the standard paper sizes, allowing 3 ft 6V2 in (1.08 m) by 2 ft 61/2 in (774 mm), 2 ft 11 in (889 mm) by 2 ft (609 mm), etc. and 3 in (76 mm) deep, all inside measurements. In old work of very high quality both carcass and drawer backs were made fractionally wider than the fronts so that the drawers automatically tightened up as they were withdrawn, but it is doubtful whether anything is gained by working to such precision limits.

weak and will not support the dovetails, therefore 241:2 is better for pronounced curves, for the separate blocks can be cut, fitted and glued together to contain the shape; but the modern technique of laminating is undoubtedly the best. Figure 241:4 shows a more intricate shape which in old work was built up on a solid base (241:4A), worked with moulding-planes and richly veneered. A softish pine was used for the applied strips, and although any shrinkage across the depth of the drawer front could cast off the strips, furniture was not subjected to central-heating conditions, moreover the face veneers were thicker and any blistering not unduly evident. Here again, therefore, a laminated base is the only satisfactory solution under modern conditions, and the same principle of applied moulded strips can be used providing the wood is amenable. Face veneering can be done either with a vacuum-bag press or by the traditional method of laying the acute curves with heated sandbags, trimming back and hammer veneering the straight sections. In old examples the veneer was either laid diagonally to counteract the shrinkage of the solid base, or soft, flexible burr/burl veneers were used, immersed in boiling water to soften them, and then laid with very thin hide glue, repeatedly hammered down until the veneer stuck. In laying out shaped-fronts the ends must not be shot square to the bow but to the base or chord of the bow (241:5) and a convenient method is to cramp/clamp the shape to a board and use the try-square as shown, while a small flat is worked for the drawer sides (241 :5A). Laminated build-ups will have to be covered on the edges or cock beads applied. With the former, the dovetail lap edges need not be covered if the constructional veneers are fairly thick, for they will hardly show when polished.

The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

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