I'm getting ready to create 3 drawer fronts 6.5 x 15" wide. I've got
wood wide enough, but am wondering if I need to rip the wood down and
glue each strip with alternating growth rings or are these drawer fronts
small enough that it's not an issue?
the wood will be 3/4" thick and is pretty much flat sawn.
Dave, try to rip your wood into 3 1/2 in wide pieces then alternate the
growth rings if possible. Some people say alternate rings some say not, just
look for best grain match.
6 1/2 in. wide stock is most likely to warp.Maybe use biscuits to help align
the stock. 3 1/2 inches is usually the widest stock size to use, anything
wider is more likely to warp. Even for face frames this is the rule.
I like to use plastic resin glue, the kind that is a powder that you mix
with water. I have some cutting boards I made 25 - 30 years ago that are
still in perfect shape, the glue joint never separated EVER. Even after MANY
washings and beating on. Those were just butt joints too.
If using plastic resin glue , clamp for at least 24 hours.
What is the trade name of a plastic resin glue?
So just rip a wide board and turn one of the pieces around to the other
I can't hit the hotmail site any longer. I think it's toast. just
thanks for the tips and take care.
I wouldn't ... with flat sawn wood you may end up with a washboard instead
of a cup.
IME, quarter sawn is less likely to cup, which will be your most problematic
issue with drawer fronts.I always try to choose QS for this purpose. IOW,
the end grain as perpendicular to the face as possible.
they are false fronts. I dovetailed the drawers out of 1/2" baltic
birch. I've got drawer screws so I'll drill a bigger hole throu the ply
for a bit of wiggle room. the heads of the screws will hide the hole.
Just finished building a six draw mission style chest of drawers here
at the school....when I saw your question I asked the instructor, Mr.
Tom Laird. Tom reports that yes it would be the best to rip down the
draw fronts into narrower slats, but we also build furniture for its
look and the beauty of the wood. The drawers we built on this project
was 9 1/4" 7 1/4" and 5 1/2" tall. We used the best and most figured
quarter sawn white oak and used a single piece for each draw. Tom
reports that this is the most pleasing to the eye and he was not too
concerned with wood movement. We made the drawers from 1/2"poplar
with half blind dovetails and then attached the white oak on the front
of the drawers. We over sized the drilled hole on the poplar for wood
movement and then tight into the oak from the back. Tom feels that
this is the best comprimize. Good luck.
Mike from American Sycamore
Wood movement with most quartersawn material is a lot less than with flat sawn:
as an example, American sycamore is almost impossible to use without ripping
and regluing, until you quartersaw, at which point it's stable enough for
"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use
our power the greater it will be." Thomas Jefferson
Am I too obtuse, or is there really a set of circumstances under which an
applied or properly restrained (dovetailed) drawer front would _ever_ cup
enough to be visually unappealing? Badly glued will _always_ be so.
Dave, if you are planing to dovetail the joints, you should not have any
problems using the bard full width. I personally do not consider a board 6
or 7 inches wide too wide to use uncut if properly attached. I have a
dresser that I built in 1980 that have 9" tall oak drawer fronts with no
sign of problems so far.. ;~)
I'm typing this as I sit at a desk I made about 5 years ago with solid
red oak flat-sawn drawer fronts about 8" high. Absolutely no sign of
cupping or any other distortion. I _did_ finish both sides of the
drawer fronts before attaching them.
I don't think you'll have a problem.
Published e-mail address is strictly for spam collection.
If e-mailing me, please use jc631 at optonline dot net
I have put together bunches and bunches of drawer boxes with fronts
attached. Do you have to worry about warping. In this case, I think not.
With the drawer front solidly attached to the drawer, it won't go anywhere,
and warping is at a minimum. If it was a free-floating piece, I would
consider other options, but for a drawer front, find the piece that looks
best and solidly attach it to the drawer.
As far as alternating grain, read what Tage Frid ("Tay" Frid) has to say
about it. If you alternate the grain, say on a table top, the table isn't
likely to warp a whole lot in one direction, but it will alternate with an
up an down rolling movement across each board according to the grain;
something you can see in the reflection of the finish. If a piece is not
attached well, this is the way to go. If it is attached well, put the end
grain all in the same orientation. It can't go up and down because it is
solidly attached. Also, you don't have alternate cupping of the individual
Thanks everyone for your comments. Here's what I did this afternoon:
since I wanted to bust my cherry on some modest glue-ups, and too
anxious to continue with my project to wait for all your responses, I
ripped the boards into 2 pieces and flipped one over so that the growth
rings alternated. Then I tried different combos until the match was
Now to digress to another thread's topic: jointing. I marked the boards
so that I could keep track of which edges would be jointed (as opposed
to ripped on the saw to approximate width) and jointed them. Held them
up to the light and saw a tiny gap for the last 2 1/2 inches. Got out
the dial indicator and reset the outfeed table up .0015. Reran the
boards. PERFECT! yeah! jointed one face and ripped to approximate
width. Biscuited with 3ea. #10's making sure to keep them far enough
away from the ends so that they won't show when I detail the edges.
Glued 'em up with titebond 2 by ganging them together and used 3 clamps,
and then added 2 more, "just to be sure". :) I think I overdo everything.
Anyway, as much as I've bitched about the PC 557, it did me right today.
The joints are dead even and the faces are flat as judged my a good
straight edge. Tomorrow I'll sand them a bit and run the other face
through the planer to get them down to 3/4" exactly. Then trim to size
and route the edges.
I certainly have read ALL of your opinions as to the need to rip down
the wood for these size drawer fronts. I'm gonna go out on a limb and
say that I could probably have gotten by with not ripping them, judging
from comments here and at home. Certainly they would look nicer if they
were whole. The good news is I got another procedure under my belt, so
that when I tackle a larger project, I'll just have to scale up what I
If the glue-up is wider than my planer, I'm looking at Neandering the
surface with a variety of planes; correct? sigh. One smoother on it's
way and the other planes cost even more than the smoother...
Had I waited longer, after reading the sum total of your comments, I
might have delayed "breaking my cherry".
My sincere thanks to everyone; the time you spent formulating a response
was NOT wasted, as I NOW have a clearer concept of when I NEED to rip
down a board. If it's a modest drawer front, secured to the drawer box,
it's not going anywhere. If it was a much wider panel or table top,
then narrow pieces and quarter sawn for minimum movement (my problem
with quarter sawn oak though, is that it isn't visually interesting).
Also, it's not a good idea to mix quarter and flat, due to "stepping",
If I'm summarizing incorrectly, please feel free to straighten me out!
Bay Area Dave wrote:
If the pieces are not too big (such as an 18" x24" pannel) you need not
overcomplicate the process.
here is what I have done successfully:
1. joint & glue 9" subassemblies
2. (power) plane to finished thickness
3. joint the edges on the subassemblies
4. Glue up the subassemblies... no buiscuits required. Just tweek the
glue-up alignment by hand
I can repeatedly get seam misallignment small enough to clean up and make
invisible with cabinet scraper.
It does become a little more tricky (error prone) as the final piece gets
thinner (I find that <5/8" gets a tougher to clamp) or longer (really a
function of how accurately your stock is jointed).
If you have not yet become one with you cabinet scraper...do so, it can be
your best friend. I find it to be much more forgiving than hand planes (but
that's also a function of my lack of skill there)
I spoke of getting the Makita, and would seriously LIKE to, but I can't
bring myself to replace a new $200 tool so soon. I'm still thinking of
a way to justify replacing my Dewalt planer with the 735. I've had the
733 for about 10 years or more. Trouble is, it works, so my internal
dialog says, "don't be spoiled--keep it if it does the job".
On 16 Nov 2003, Bay Area Dave spake unto rec.woodworking:
You are probably in for some special effects when you put the finish
on - ever notice how the color of a piece of wood changes, depending on how
the light hits it? If you've reversed the orientation in your glue-ups,
you'll have two-tone drawer fronts.
Would that your immediate ancestors had had the same foresight.
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