DT query - would this be lame?


Hello All! -
Well, I've been off-line for a bit, between the troll storm here and the trolls in woodshop... more on that one later, but long story short, the classes are doing pretty well - about 20% of the students are genuinely interested in learning skills and building things... Better than par, from the feedback I've been getting - more in a separate post...
So, to the subject - I am building a couple of cabinets - an entertainment center, [appx 66" tall (30"t base, 36" t chest) , 36" w 24"d] and was going to dovetail the top and bottom of the carcasses to some poplar "H"stretchers, if that's the right term - the cabinet shelves will be dadoed into the sides, and I wanted to put a framework at the top and bottom of each carcass that would hold the sides in. Both cabs get tops and trim that'll hide the DTs... If it translates, here would be a typical top view. Back side framework side | ------------------------- | Poplar stretcher ~ 6" wide | ------------------------- | DTs here and at left | ' ' | | ' f2b ' | | ' stretchers ' | | ' ' | | ------------------------- | Poplar stretcher ~ 6" wide | ------------------------- | DTs here and at left
Front doors
The carcasses are out of QSWO veneer ply, (with QSWO face frames) - I am routing the carcass to stretcher dovetails using a Stotts/Keller type of jig. The DTs are double spaced so I only have to cut half as many. Each of the poplar stretchers would be about 6" wide, with 2 - 3 tails per... The framework at the top of the cabinet will be covered by the ply top, with molding or small crown molding covering the exposed DTs. Each cabinet has two additional fixed shelves within 4-6" of the top and bottom, along with one adjustable shelf. The bottom cabinet has two drawers at the base "filling in" the lowest shelf hole. The lower cab also has a 3" kick at the base and a pair of frame and panel doors overlaid on simple hinges.
The upper cab is generally similar, except that it has overlaid flipper doors on a face frame - the doors slide back into the carcass, and there aren't any drawers beneath the shelf for the Teevee. (That's short for television, for Vito Kuhn and his ilk) I was going to set a panel in on either side of the flipper doors to give it a more finished look and conceal the werks, and I was going to set the panel into dadoes in the upper and lower fixed shelves.
Among the other things I am concerned about is cutting DTs in plywood. I am using a "fronter" board to keep the ply from blowing out, but I am still turning scrap into shrapnel in my test cuts. With some finagling, I could use a thicker "fronter" but thought I'd post here for some feedback.
I hope I am making this clear and that the ASCII stuff doesn't get scdrambld...
TIA,
John Moorhead
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You really would not need a full set of dovetails. Even a single would keep the carcass from spreading. That and corner blocks or a filler board to retain square would be my choice. I think you reach the point of diminishing returns on plywood dovetails fairly quickly - too quickly to risk tearout. The old boys used a much nicer solution. We call them dust frames, but they're just real wood open frames set into sliding dovetails for your operation. Everything you wanted at once, and no danger to the outer plies.
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So, if it isn't going to show, and we're talking poplar and plywood, so we AREN'T talking trying to win the Artistry in Wood Show in Sonoma this summer... Why aren't you using rabbets and pocket screws? Or biscuits?
Or are we back to the all too common Overengineering Syndrome? Dovetails because we can? Hey, happens to me all the time. Apply dopeslap here.
George is right about glueblocks & cleats, too, BTW. And the dustframes. Make them first, and squaring up the rest of the assembly gets easier by half. And Nahm would approve. Just be sure to brad them in from both sides of the frame.
I'm still meaning to get up there to see you, but we're in grandchild season here, with a new delivery two days ago...
Keep up the good work with the kids at school. It will be a couple of decades before any reasonable estimate of your impact can be made. By then, no one will be able to prove you did anything wrong, so do it how you think is right.
Patriarch
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