In reproduction work and in quality living room and dining furniture, in particular, much is still manufactured, assembled and finished in the factory as complete items of furniture, and it is this area of industrialized construction which is of most interest to the small cabinet-maker. In this area, where veneering and surface finishing are undertaken as part of the production, MDF is fast superseding both plywoods and chipboard as the base material. Its main disadvantage (its considerably increased weight) is far outweighed by its advantages, namely:
1 its dense pre-sanded surfaces;
2 edges that for many purposes require no edging but can be sanded, moulded, stained or coloured at will;
3 no grain direction as on plywoods, so no breaking out across grain;
4 no brittleness or weakness on edges, unlike
176 Jointing methods 1. Mitre and tongue/spline 2. Tongue and lap 3. Tongue and mitre 4. Tongue and groove 5. Housed/dadoed and dowelled 6. Housed & inset tops 7. Dovetail housing 8. Inset tops particle board, enabling grooving, rebating/ rabbeting, housing/dadoing and edge joints to be cut cleanly and accurately without breaking out or crumbling.
These advantages are obviously just as beneficial to the one-man concern as they are to factory production.
Fig. 176 shows eight basic machine joints for use with sheet materials from 1/2 in (12 mm) thick upwards. Most could also be used, though less satisfactorily, in solid wood instead of the more traditional dovetailing and stub tenoning.
1-4 are all corner joints for top and bottom fixings on flush carcasses, while 5-8 can all be used as alternatives for jointing divisions, fixed shelves, raised bottom panels and inset and oversize tops. It is a matter of choice or of the equipment available whether one stops the joints at the front edge or merely applies solid wood edgings after the joints have been through cut with the spindle shaper or groover. Naturally, the biscuit jointer and portable router come into their own when joints are stopped. Figure 177 shows some of these joints in a very basic construction with an oversize top and separate plinth.
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