wood movement

I am building a chest and dropdown desk. It is based on a measured drawing of a piece in the NY Historical society.
What troubles me and is the reason for the post is that it shows the dust dividers rabbited and glued to the solid wood (Walnut) sides with the grain of the sides up and down and the grain of the wood on the side of the dust dividers parallel to the side from front to back. It seems to me that this will stop wood movement of the sides (20") and risk serious damage over time. One other note: these dividers and the glue joint is essential to the structural integrity of the piece.
I have thought of making the side pieces so their grain is perpendicular to the side so they will expand with the side but they are only 3" wide and are the runners for the drawers.
Does anyone have any thoughts? Am I being concerned about nothing?
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"Carl E. Wasmuth, Jr." wrote in message ...

You're absolutely right to be concerned. However, and if I read your post correctly, is it possible that you may be missing a key point?
IOW, it is doubtful that the drawer "dust dividers" are actually glued throughout the entire length of the rabbet/dado.
It is fairly standard practice in a cabinet with solid wooden sides (as opposed to plywood sides) to only glue the front 3" or so and allow the remainder to float in the rebate in the cabinet sides.
I've done it countless times, and learned to do it from a cabinet maker in England many years ago whose family had been doing it that way for a few hundred.
So far the practice has not let me down either. :)
If I misunderstood your post, holler back.
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www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 6/1/07
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Swingman wrote:

That would be my take as well, and/or depending on the age of the piece there could be a judicious screw or two w/ an elongated hole. That would make it pretty recent, however, but age of piece wasn't mentioned.
Anyway, as long as the divider long grain doesn't try to restrict the joint the whole length, not likely a problem. (If there were going to be, one would presume the original piece would be showing the effects... :) ).
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I have ripped 3/4 plywood in 2.5" strips and mitered the corners for the dust dividers in a couple of projects. But not because I knew it to be a sure-fire method. It was along a theory (hope and a prayer) that plywood's inherent stability would all but eliminate expansion and contraction issues for those components. And, although the side pieces were also plywood (biscuited and glued!) I would like to hear a consensus as to whether the same construction method would accommodate solid wood sides.
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NuWave Dave in Houston



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No. The plywood is stable and the wood sides are not. The wood will want ot move and the plywood will not let it, so it is liable to either split or break the joint; unless you use the partial glue method above.
OTOH... Modern houses are dehumidified in the summer and humidified in the winter. Wood doesn't move all that much. A couple years ago I was making drawer fronts for a small table top unit. To get the curl in the right orientation I had to have the grain running the wrong way. I decided to go with it, and make them fit snuggly; and see what happened. If they either shrank up or got stuck it wouldn't be a big deal to replace them properly. That was 3 years ago. They fit well all year long.
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