I am constructing a sideboard made of solid wood (red oak). The end
panels are glue ups of smaller boards. In between the two ends will
be a set of drawers, with webbed frames separating the rows of
drawers. I came across an old article in a best of Fine Woodworking
by Christian Becksvoort about building chests of drawers where he
simply slides the frames into dadoes cut in the side panels, and then
nails 6D finishing nails in at an angle through the frame into the
side panel; simple and does not have to worry about wood movement.
I've never heard of this technique before but it seems simple and
straightforward enough. Otherwise I'm looking at doing sliding
dovetails which I have not had good success with in the past. Anyone?
Some what easier and with out the need of putting in a nail is simply use a
small amount of glue in the spot where the nail was going to be set. The
joint can still slip if needed and the glue generally will not work loose as
a nail might do.
Alternatively you can use pan head/washer head screws screw the frames
through slightly oversized holes in the web frame.
The idea here is that the nail will bend/loosen to accomodate wood
movement. I'd be tempted to use a screw in an oversized/elongated hole
In other pieces, the same author has used unglued tenons joining the
rear of the drawer runners (the side members of the web frame) to the
rear dividers (the rear members of the web frame). The rear dividers
are then dovetailed and glued to the carcase sides the same way the
front ones are (but recessed a bit to accomodate the back).
The idea is that the fixed front and rear dividers will hold the sides
of the carcase together, while any size change in the carcase sides is
handled by the tenon sliding in and out of the rear divider.
In this situation, and depending upon the wood used, I normally just glue no
more than about the front third of the web frame in the dado, leaving the
back two thirds, or more unglued, so the side panels can move. It's also a
good idea to make sure the web frame is a bit short of the back panel.
When choosing wood for side panels in casework like this, you can mitigate
the cross grain movement by using quarter sawn stock. In almost every stack
of red oak I can find one or two quarter sawn boards and save them for just
this type of situation.
Every little bit helps ...
I've never had a single problem with the above method. That said, there is
nothing wrong whatsoever with nailing/bradding them in as described ... it's
been done that way for a few hundred years at least.
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