I am in the final stages of completing a Shaker-style seven-drawer dresser
in which the plans call for attaching hardwood fronts to the plywood drawer
boxes. In my case the four largest drawers each require a cherry front
approximately 3/4 x 9" x 23". While I have rough-cut cherry planks of
sufficient width to create the fronts, I am wondering about the wisdom of
making each drawer front from a single piece of wood. Also, with only a 6"
jointer, I have no easy way of face jointing a board that is 9" wide. My
first concern is the stability of these fronts if cut from a wide plank of
cherry. Would they cup, check or warp with humidity changes? Should one
create them as one would glue up a panel, say, out of two 5" boards using
biscuits or whatever? Of course, for sake of appearance the drawer fronts
might be more attractive if made from a single piece of cherry (no grain
differences etc.). The second concern, if a single piece is acceptable, is
the planing of the rough cut cherry without first face jointing the
material. I am concerned that the fronts might be parallel in thickness,
but may come out bowed or warped. Any ideas on this matter?
Thanks in advance for your sage advice.
Rip the boards, joint everything, then glue it back together. You can
then plane the other face to final thickness.
Or, you could joint them on the planer - shim any areas that need it
and run the boards through the planer taking small (1/64") passes.
Once you get that face flat, remove the shims from the other side and
plane it to final thickness. Picture-1000 words-etc.
As long as all 6 sides are finished and you attach the face to the
plywood, you won't have any problems with cupping or warping.
Stability of any plank depends on the orientation of the annual rings. The
closer they parallel the surface of the plank, the more stable it is.
Suggestion is to look at the planks as they now exist. If they're straight
and true, plane and use. If they twist or bow, you'll have to joint, and
would have had problems with full-width boards.
If you must build up the boards, consider a rip and slip on the originals.
Rip at the point of maximum curvature, mark with triangles or whatever you
use, and then match the figure by slipping one board lengthwise to join the
pattern. Else, you have to choose boards of similar color, gluing quarter
to quarter for most invisible.
Drawer might stick IF your drawer front is inset and you have
insufficient clearance. Otherwise, no problem.
I've had good results flattening 10.5" boards with my 8" jointer and
12" planer. Remove the jointer guard, make a 1/8" rabbet the width of
your jointer, doublestick-tape a 1/4" piece of plywood or hardboard in
the rabbet, flatten the other side in the planer, remove the plywood,
flip over your stock and plane off the rabbet.
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