I am building a blanket chest. The frame is 3/4" thick, and the panels are
1/2"; the missing 1/4" is on the outside. Is there any compelling reason
not to make the panels 1/4"? It would eliminate having to rabbet them, make
the chest a bit easier to move around, and reduce the cost somewhat. Is
there a big downside I am missing?
Also, the bottom and drawer panel are specified as 3/4", sitting on cleats
screwed to the frame. (16"x33") I am not even sure why a drawer panel is
necessary, but certainly it doesn't have to be more than 1/4", nor does it
have to be the cherry specified. It is my first drawer, so maybe I just
don't understand something.
Sometimes using 1/4" panels can result in very "chintsy" feeling
construction. Not sure how best to describe it. The 1/2" panels will just
result in a much more solid feeling chest. The extra weight is actually a
good thing, IMO, for such an item.
As for the bottom, I'm sure you don't want to compromise on the strength and
load-carrying capacity of the bottom - so I'd suggest leaving it at 3/4".
By a drawer panel I'm assuming you are talking about a panel beneath the
drawer (assuming the drawer is on the bottom of the chest). Having a panel
in place on the bottom of the case will just ensure that the entire box is
very rigid and won't rack and twist. A nice square frame would work, too,
but it isn't really that much more work to make a panel for the bottom. I
guess a sketch of your particular chest would be helpful. If they specify
cherry for this, and it isn't going to be visible, I agree with you that it
doesn't make much sense.
That "missing 1/4"" is important for several reasons, I suspect: 1)
1/2" cherry is much more stable (heat, cold, moist, dry) than 1/4"
stock. Also remember, when project design is considered you must
consider the strength necessary to hold the joints when the project is
full of whatever contents it is intended to hold. If you were going
to put the chest in the deserts of Arizona and fill it with feathers,
1/4" would be quite sufficient for the joints and the weight. Good
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