There was an article (have a copy, thanks) many years ago in FWW, by the
subject name, whereby the author, a teacher at a respected woodworking
school in Boston, taught/proposed a four part, casework construction method
that was a bit unusual for traditional sideboard construction - basically a
dovetailed box, turned on its side, with legs attached (although, sans legs,
not unusual in many *cabinet* casework methods).
Having sought out, seen, and paid particular attention to the construction
used in many old and antique sideboards these past few years, and having
consistently noted problems that seem to be commonly shared among even the
best made of the bunch(cracks/racking/sagging, etc.), there are many things
I like about the author's ideas: wood's dimensional instability is pretty
well nullified as an issue, many fewer joints needed, pretty much sag proof,
etc.; and a few things I don't know whether I would like, or at least be
able to overcome and not nullify the benefits of using the method: in
particular, and despite the author's claim to the contrary, it appears
difficult to imitate with this method the "panel and rail" sides that are a
traditional design element of the type of sideboard I'm interested in
Sort of a shot in the dark ... but I'm wondering if any of the more advanced
wooddorkers here have any personal experience using this particular
strategy/method and what they did, if anything, to overcome what appear to
be the inherent limitations in design choices, such as the above mentioned?
Thanks in advance ...
The first part of this experiment with an alternate method of designing and
building a sideboard, the casework, is basically complete:
Although quite fussy to effect, I am impressed with the "method" thus far,
as this dovetailed case, with the partitions being housed as well as joined
with through tenons, and the laminated end panels, makes for unbelievably
strong basic framework.
Another advantage, which has become more apparent as the project progresses,
is the relative low cost for a project of this size due to the amount of
secondary wood being utilized.
Here's hoping the surprises continue to be pleasant.
I seem to remember earlier discourse from you on this method. Now
seeing it on your site makes it easier to understand.
So... let me see if I do. You are building a dovetailed box, then
veneering it with the appearance grade wood of your choice. You are
then using hidden mechanical joints as needed in the final assembly.
The CAD sketch looks >quite< elegant, but in the construction phase it
looks like a gun safe. How much will that weigh when it is finished?
One more thing... I see the detail of the tenon sticking out top and
bottom to attach the legs. Will those be the only points and means of
(Think of Artie Johnson's voice here...) Veeeeery intersting....
Side panels only are "veneered" with the primary wood.
In this case, the primary QSWO veneer is 5/8" thick, and, with the 3/4"
thick secondary wood that it is veneered to the oak (poplar, containing the
dovetails that hold the top and bottom to the sides), the sides give you a 1
3/8" thick, long grain-long grain, glue surface for the legs.
I chose those particular dimensions to allow a 1/4" reveal on the 1 5/8"
thick legs when all is assembled.
> You are
The legs are joined as below ... all other components use traditional
joinery methods, but way fewer "joints" are necessary with this method than
with traditional frame and panel sides.
A bit more than traditional frame and panel construction.
The extra will come from a double top, (the real one, which will be fastened
to the casework top ... which, BTW, also acts as a kicker for the top
drawers), and the thicker, laminated sides,
All other components of the sideboard (web frames, drawers, doors, etc)
would be there any way, plus the frame/casework construction is of secondary
wood, which is lighter than the primary wood.
... and cheaper. ;)
The additional weight should be offset by a marked decrease in
susceptibility to wood movement (all grain in the basic "frame" of the piece
runs in the same direction), plus a huge increase in structural strength,
with less susceptibility to the racking and sagging that plagues these wide,
four legged pieces over time.
Those mortise and tenons you mention, plus 2 more on each leg (the ones you
don't see yet are an addtional M&T joint attaching the front and side bottom
aprons to the legs), PLUS a long grain to long grain glue joint between the
legs and the 1 3/8" thick case sides, running the full height of the case
... actually more leg joint strength than what you get with traditional
frame and panel construction.
I thought so too ... this is a big piece (63" long) and other than making it
8 legged, which has traditionally been the method to keep long sideboards
from sagging and racking, I was looking for another method.
That said, it is an experimental piece, but with the same degree of planning
and thought that goes into a more traditional project, and with the hope
that it turns out as well in final appearance/design as if it were more
We'll see ...
Thanks for the detailed reply. I am probably thinking about the
process and mechanical design wayyyy more than I should, but I see
from your post you too were thinking of the savings when using more
secondary appearance materials.
A design like that could also be a great answer help with the low
quality of woods that seem to be the norm. Every time I go the
hardwood store it seems that they either have really good material
(rare) at unbelievably high prices, or they have so so material at
unbelievably high prices.
They also sell crap that should probably be burned.
I like the whole strength consideration, and looking at the design I
am wondering why it took so long for someone to come up with it. But
you are certainly the first one I know to try it. I remember seeing
that mag with the guy's article, but I think your site explains it
better. I had no interest when I saw the article.
I sure hope you let us know (me especially!) how this piece progresses
and how your hands on time compares to the more traditional way.
Mitigation of wood dimensional instability
Overcome racking and sag
~Con's (thus far)
Design limitations (?)
Fussy to obtain RCH square on casework
... and I am a _square_ freak!!
The secondary material is poplar, which is ubiquitous, can be bought at
midnight at a BORG, and, compared to the primary stock, is reasonable priced
even at those prices.
I was originally interested because I wanted a long sideboard, but with four
legs instead of eight, and most of the old ones I see have ill fitting doors
and drawers because of racking and sag over time.
Don't worry ... I'll bore the crap out of everyone with the details as it
goes along. ;)
: In this case, the primary QSWO veneer is 5/8" thick
That ain't veneer.
, and, with the 3/4"
: thick secondary wood that it is veneered to the oak
: The additional weight should be offset by a marked decrease in
: susceptibility to wood movement (all grain in the basic "frame" of the piece
: runs in the same direction)
Is the rate of expansion for QSWO the same as for
flatsawn poplar? if not, you're likely going to have some problems.
-- Andy Barss
:> : In this case, the primary QSWO veneer is 5/8" thick
:> That ain't veneer.
: If it is not structural and is attached over another material it's a veneer.
: Most brick homes are Brick Veneer.
Yeah, okay. But veneer construction has a property that solid wood
construction doesn't: you don't need to worry that the veneer and its
substrate will differentially expand and contract, breaking the
piece of furniture.
When one is gluing one 5/8" thick board to another 3/4 thick board of a
different species and cut differently (QS vs. flatsawn), you
really do need to worry about this.
: Hummm,,, might be a good reason the rebate the legs.
Might be a good idea to redesign the entire case, actually.
-- Andy Barss
I cannot think (unless it is San Antonio) of a better aquarium to test
the tangenital differences of the two attached products than Houston.
Average humidity... 1,040%, give or take. A drought for Houston is 3
weeks without rain. However, they have the distinct addition to this
mix of getting hotter than hell in the summer.
So da Swinger has a perfect lab to test.
It should be interesting. Say both woods are dried down to between 8
- 12% then laminated. The piece is completed, then finished - inside
The unknown variable is the addition of the finish and the location of
the piece in the house. I work on a lot of old houses, and have been
told time and time again "that old table likes that spot". Meaning,
when it is put in an area of heavy airflow they see joints open and
drawers stick. Back in its happy place (a less drafty, more
temperature stable area), it will reagain itself after a period of
time. Jon Vogt of Vogt antiques had to confirm this not rare at all
phenomenon, because I believed a little movement was possible, but not
As far as the finishing goes, today's finishes can really grind down
the gears of expansion and contraction. The lacquers I shoot come in
the can around 22% solids, and I understand others are even more.
Some of todays polys are no less than 30% solids! About three coats
of that and you have encased your project in plastic! (But remember
Karl uses his own witches brew and method.... bubble bubble... toil
and trouble...). If this is the protocol he describes on his website,
it will be well sealed, indeed.
While It may not prevent movement altogether, but it will make a huge
difference in mitigating it.
He might be asking for it, but to me it is a toss leaning towards
there being no problems. Sealed properly I don't think the climate for
expansion and contraction will be that drastic since it wll be inside
a home. For him, it is a great science experiment that we will all
Just my 0.02.
Go Swing Go!
I wouldn't have seen that if you hadn't replied to it, but I'm sure that
dickhead would just love for his dire prediction to be the case.
FYI, both woods were carefully selected in cut to have almost identical
movement values, .0016 and .0018, respectively. Check out:
... for the judge.
While there is still the possibility of slight movement over the 16" span,
sealing will most likely take that out as a factor.
dickhead, still batting zero, should have learned his lesson by now.
: I wouldn't have seen that if you hadn't replied to it, but I'm sure that
: dickhead would just love for his dire prediction to be the case.
You really are one class act.
: FYI, both woods were carefully selected in cut to have almost identical
: movement values, .0016 and .0018, respectively. Check out:
: ... for the judge.
If you had bothered to read my first reply in this thread, I asked
the appropriate question.
: While there is still the possibility of slight movement over the 16" span,
: sealing will most likely take that out as a factor.
Time will tell, as they say. (Whether you will is another question).
: dickhead, still batting zero, should have learned his lesson by now.
Aren't you a tough guy! And what lesson should I have learned there,
Hey, speaking of lessons: have you figured out what a jointer is for yet?
-- Andy Barss
<snip of interesting comments>
: As far as the finishing goes, today's finishes can really grind down
: the gears of expansion and contraction. The lacquers I shoot come in
: the can around 22% solids, and I understand others are even more.
: Some of todays polys are no less than 30% solids! About three coats
: of that and you have encased your project in plastic!
I always thought the solids percentage was the in-the-can ratio
of solids to solvent (so once the solvent evaporates, the
effective solids go up to 100%, regardless of what they started as).
Does the stated solids amount affect transfer of water vapor? There was
an old FWW article on how well finishes resist that, with thick wax
coming out on top (really thick, not what you'd actually put on
something), followed by shellac, followed by various varnishes,
with oil at the bottom.
: Karl uses his own witches brew and method.... bubble bubble... toil
: and trouble...). If this is the protocol he describes on his website,
: it will be well sealed, indeed.
: While It may not prevent movement altogether, but it will make a huge
: difference in mitigating it.
Could be -- as you say, it's an experiment.
-- Andy Barss
That is true. However, look at it this way: If you put finish "A" on
that has 20% solids, compared to "B" that is 30% solids, you will have
an extra 10% more solids on the material with just one coat of B
compared to A. With two coats of B, it is like having three coats of
A. Lots more resin on the project.
In the end though, it is about mil thickness. They all dry to 100%
solid resin if they are a curing product.
I didn't understand the question. Are you meaning resistance to
outgassing vapor transfer from uncured wood, or vapor penetration
through the finsh to the wood?
Joining the nit picking contest, ;~)
If can A has 20% solids and can B has 30% solids, you will have 50% more
solids on the material coated with can B.
2 coats of B would indeed be like 3 coats of can A.
Hey.... leeme 'lone. Let me pick right back at you, bub. =;^)
If you read it the way I wrote it in my head, I would be accurate
because we were talking about solids in relation to a can, or volume.
So 10% per can, or by volume.
Anyway, you are certainly right about the relation of the numbers.
Glad you like the new gun. They are a nice piece of equipment. I
like the non-tailed too, but they don't deliver 100% consistent power
throughout the life cycle of the cartridge which is imperative for
some of the uses you detailed. You will get used to the tail when you
realize you are getting 100% compression every shot, and when you
don't have to replace cartridges.
When my son just started to talk he would say "leeme lone." I have never
heard that anywhere else.
He would also say, "Don't say me that".
I figgered you knew what you were talking about but I was bored. LOL.
I was much more impressed with the gun after using it for 2 days.
IIRC the Gas Paslode was pretty consistent. We never had any warning of a
close to empty cartridge except when the gun would simply stop firing.
You will get used to the tail when you
Well, almost. The compressor that I am using will provide 12 shots before
refilling. The last 2 shots are a bit light however I only had to follow up
with a hammer once or twice.. That's using a 50' hose. I wonder if I
connect another 75-100' to the 50 if the recharge cycle will be less often?
I have to stay relatively close to a 20 amp circuit with a 25' 14 gauge
extension cord. I am looking at another 105' fence job that runs directly
away from my power source and I will need more hose or a much longer really
HD extension cord. I suspect the hose would be cheaper. Got any advice?
I typed out a detailed response, but it went to cyberspace.
Somewhere. Here 'tis again.
For the compressor, take off the cap on the tank regulator (not the
pressure regulator to the gun). It may or may not have a diagram
inside the cap; the diagram will show the adjustment screw between the
exposed switches (at this time, the compressor should be unplugged!!)
with some arrows pointing with labeled with detailed instrcutions like
"hogher" and "lower". Sometimes the adjustment screw in on the side,
but most of the time it is in the middle. Adjust the tank pressure
gauge up and it will maintain a higher pressure in the tank, but more
importantly raise the pressure at which your compressor will refill
the tank. You can usually only get ten pounds or so out of the deal,
but with a framing gun it is worth every pound. Brad guns - who
As for the hose vs. electrical, unless you need more electrical cords
buy hose. You can buy a good 50' rubber hose (most flexible no matter
what the weather, but little abrasion resistance) by Goodyear at HF
for something like $24. It is good to have this one behind the gun as
on a cold day it will easily flex. DO NOT buy a rubber hose from
anywhere but the US. I found out the hard way they don't cure the
rubber the same.
I use the poly reinforced hoses, and they are available everywhere.
They will take a helluva beating, are extremely abrasion resistant,
punture resistant, and they are cheap. The only knock I have is in
the dead of a cold winter they will not unroll. Buy your fittings at
HF, as they have pack of 4 males and one female fittings and couplings
for about $2.50, or about half the price of one fitting at HD. They
are on sale for this about every other week. They are solid brass
with stainless internals. I have had no luck with steel fittings as
the plating gets scratched off from dragging them around on the jobs
(slabs, asphalt, roofs) and they rust. HF fittings last well and
cheap enough ot keep a couple of extra sets around.
I wouldn't use 14 ga extension cords, no matter what the length on
anything but a weedeater. No matter what the manufacturer says,
remember he is giving you specs that are based perfect lab conditions,
and that just isn't so out in the field. Many house operate at less
than optimum voltage due to bad wiring, low input, too much attached
to the panel, or at peak times of population use it can even be low
at service box.
Use heavier cords as a matter of course, and it seems to help the
tools when they surge or draw more power than the lab specs. There is
a really noticeable difference in using a 14 ga cord and a 12 gauge
cord when using even my smallest saws. The final pointer for cord
determination came to me when I had a compressor that wouldn't run
more than 30 minutes without overheating at most houses on regular
110v with a 50' 12 ga extension which was well in manufacturer's
specs. Jumped to a 10 ga, and it ran all day everywhere I went.
Substituted a $15 hose and $2 worth of fittings for the $65 10 ga
cord, and plugged the compressor straight into the outlet. Best
solution yet. Every tool is happier with the least amount of
extension cords. So the compressor was happy being plugged straight
into the outlet, and I didn't have that expensive cord in the truck.
And yes, believe it or not, if you get enough hose on the compressor
it will make a difference. Quicker minds than mind could determine
how many cubic feet extra a 3/8 or 1/2 hose would carry under
pressure, but I found that out when I used to put 300 or so feet of
house on my compressor when framing houses. I am not sure what one
hose would do, and it certainly won't make up for a large tank, but
you could get some extra mileage out of a couple or three hoses on the
Anything else, leeme lone. Just kiddin... let me know. ;^)
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