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Board Structures








These include such pieces as wall brackets, sets of shelves, book-racks, plate-racks, drawing-boards, foot-stools, taborets, and boxes.


The advantage of this form of construction is that it is comparatively easy to make; the disadvantage is that if the boards are wide, they are sure to shrink and swell. It is wise in all such work to true and smooth up all the pieces at once, and if the wood is not thoroly seasoned, to keep the boards under pressure till they are assembled. In the case of several boards to be jointed into one piece, they should be glued together before the surfaces are smoothed. Suggestions regarding a few typical pieces follow:


Wall Brackets. (1) There are three essential parts, the shelf, the support or supports, and the back: the shelf to hold the articles, the support to hold up the shelf, and the back to hold all together, Fig. 276, a. The grain of the wood in the shelf should run left and right, not forward and back, because thus it rests on the support in such a way as not to break easily, and it also acts as a stiffener for the back. In case the back extends above the shelf, as in Fig. 276, a, the shelf can be secured firmly to the back, since there is side grain in which to drive nails or screws. As to the direction of the grain of the support and the back, this should run in the direction of the largest dimension of each. Where the back is long horizontally, for security in hanging, it is better to have two supports.10


Footnote 10: See the School Arts Book for Nov., 1906, "Design in the Woodworking Class," by Anna and William Noyes.


Fig. 276. Wall Brackets, Double-Hung: a. Single Support. b. Double Support.



Fig. 276. Wall Brackets, Double-Hung: a. Single Support. b. Double Support.

Wall book-shelves, Fig. 277, plate-racks, etc., are simply compound brackets. The shelf is the essential piece, the sides take the place of the supports, and the back is often reduced to strips merely wide enough to give rigidity.


The shelves may be either gained into the supports, or a keyed mortise-and-tenon may be used, Fig. 277. In the latter case the back strip may have a short barefaced blind tenon which is mortised into the upright, Fig. 278. It also fits into a rabbet on the upper back side of the shelf. Made in this way the shelves can be knocked down easily.


Fig. 277. Wall Book-Case.



Fig. 277. Wall Book-Case.

Fig. 278. Construction of a Knock-Down Book-Shelf Seen From the Back.



Fig. 278. Construction of a Knock-Down Book-Shelf Seen From the Back.

Foot Stool or Cricket, Fig. 279. The grain of the supports should run up and down, because pieces with the grain horizontal would be likely to break under pressure. Braces or a rail give additional support. The top should not be larger than the base of the legs; otherwise a person standing carelessly on the stool is in danger of being upset.


Fig. 279. Cricket.



Fig. 279. Cricket.

A Drawing-Board is made up of narrow boards, with glued joints, with the boards so laid that the annual rings will alternate in direction, Fig. 280, a. It must be made so that it can shrink and swell and yet remain flat. For the purpose of giving lateral stiffness cleats are added. They may simply be screwed on the underside, the screw holes being large enough to allow for shrinkage, or they may be dadoed in with a dovetail dado, Fig. 280, b, or they may be grooved to admit a tongue on the end of a board, Fig. 280, c. In this case screws passing thru large holes in the cleats hold them in place.


Fig. 280. Drawing-Board Construction.



Fig. 280. Drawing-Board Construction:

    a. With Cleats Screwed on Beneath;

  b. With Cleats Dovetail-Dadoed in;

c. With Cleats Matched on Ends.

Taborets. The term taboret originally meant a little tabor or drum, and was therefore used to designate a small stool, the seat of which consisted of a piece of stretched leather. The term now includes small, tablelike structures for holding flowerpots, vases, etc. It might more properly be called a "table-ette."



When made up with boards having their long edges mitered, it has from four to eight sides. A six-sided one is shown in Fig. 281. In making, it is best to fit the joints exactly first, while the board is stiff, and then to cut out the pattern of the legs.


Fig. 281. Taboret.



Fig. 281. Taboret.

Scrap-boxes, Fig. 282, and flower-pot boxes may be made with the same construction.


Fig. 282. Scrap-Box.



Fig. 282. Scrap-Box.

Rectangular Boxes. There are various methods of joining their sides. The butt joint is plain, simple, and good for coarse work. This joint may be reinforced as in packing boxes, Fig. 283.


Fig. 283. Reinforced Butt Joint in Box.



Fig. 283. Reinforced Butt Joint in Box.

Mitered joints, are neat but weak, unless reinforced by a spline.


The rabbet or ledge joint, Fig. 266 is both strong and neat. It can be glued and also nailed if desired.


The rabbet and dado joint, Fig. 266, can be glued without nails and is good for small boxes.


The housed dado, Fig. 266, is good for water-tight boxes.


The mitered ledge, Fig. 268, makes a very neat, strong joint which can be nailed or glued, but is more difficult to fit than a simpler joint.


The dovetail joint, Fig. 267, is very strong and honest, but the joint is prominent from the outside and it takes much time and labor to make. It is glued.


The blind dovetail, Fig. 267, is very neat and strong, and the joint is entirely concealed when done, but is very difficult to make.


The Bottoms of Boxes. The plain or full bottom, Fig. 284, A, is likely to shrink (see dotted line), and it is held in place only by the friction of the nails. The extended bottom, Fig. 284, B, overcomes the objection to shrinkage and adds a decorative feature. The bottom may be set in, Fig. 284, C. This is stronger than the plain bottom, but the nail holes show. The bottom may be rabbeted in, Fig. 284, D. This is better than the set-in bottom so far as the showing of the nail holes goes, for the nails may be driven in from below, and a little shrinkage is not conspicuous. It is practicable, if a rabbet or mitered joint is used in the sides, but if the side pieces are butted or dadoed, the rabbet for the bottom shows. This may be cleverly concealed by an insert, but that is patchwork, and not first-rate construction.


Reinforced bottom, Fig. 284, E. A plain or full bottom is sometimes covered by a base or cover strip to hide the joint and secure the bottom, as in tool chests. This strip may be mitered at the corners.


Fig. 284. Methods of Attaching Box Bottoms.



Fig. 284. Methods of Attaching Box Bottoms.

The Lids of Boxes. The simplest form is a full flat cover, Fig. 285, A, which may be nailed or screwed to the box, as in packing cases. The cover may slide into a groove, Fig. 285, B, along the sides and into one end, the other end being lowered to admit it. The cover may have cleats on its underside, Fig. 285, C, which fit just inside the box and keep the top in place. The cleats also prevent the top from warping. This is a common Japanese construction, even in fine boxes. The Japanese tie the top on with a tape or ribbon.


The lid may be boxed, Fig. 285, D, that is, portions of the sides may be affixed to the top. These extra pieces are a help to stiffen the top and to keep it from warping. A boxed top may have the top board flush with the sides, Fig. 285, E. The disadvantage of this is that the top may shrink and part from the sides and give a bad appearance. The overlapping top, Fig. 285, F, obviates this trouble of shrinkage and adds a decorative element. In this case the top may be glued on or screwed from below thru the side strips.


The top may be mitered into the sides, Fig. 285, G. The shrinkage trouble still obtains here. Otherwise the appearance is excellent. The top may be paneled into the sides, Fig. 285, H. This has a good appearance if the sides are mitered and ledged but not if the sides are butted or dadoed, because then the groove for the top shows.


Fig. 285. Forms of Box Construction.



Fig. 285. Forms of Box Construction.

Any of these lids may be made removable or hinged, except the sliding top.


In gluing boxes together, it is a good plan to glue the ends and sides together first and to let these joints dry before gluing on the bottom and, in the case of a boxed top, Fig. 285, D, the top. Care must be taken to see that the sides do not bow under the pressure. To prevent this, one or more false, temporary partitions as A, B, in Fig. 286, of exactly the length to keep the sides straight, may be inserted. In gluing together boxes with rabbeted joints, Fig. 285, H, pressure should be applied in both directions. In gluing on the bottom of a box that is also to be nailed, the nails should be driven into the bottom first, so that the points just come thru. These points sticking into the sides will prevent the bottom from slipping when pressure is applied. It is often undesirable to have nail heads show, as in a top. In such a case, and also to prevent the top from slipping under pressure, a couple of small brads may be driven part way into the upper edges of the sides, the heads bitten off with the nippers, and points filed on the projecting portion.


Fig. 286. Glueing Together a Box.



Fig. 286. Glueing Together a Box.

Drawers. In the best form, the sides are dovetailed to the front for strength, Fig. 287, for whenever the drawer is opened the front tends to pull away from the sides. This dovetail is half blind, so that the joint will not appear when the drawer is shut. In order that the drawer may always run freely and yet the front fit the opening as close as possible, it is common practice to cut a shallow rabbet on the ends of the front, so that the body of the drawer is a little narrower than the front is long, Fig. 287. Or the front may be attached to the sides with a dado tongue and rabbet joint, Fig. 266.


Fig. 287. Dovetailed Drawer Construction.



Fig. 287. Dovetailed Drawer Construction.

The bottom is grooved into the sides with its grain parallel to the front and fastened only to the front so that it has plenty of play for shrinkage. The back is dadoed into the sides, with either a straight dado, Fig. 266, or dovetail dado, Fig. 266, and rests on the bottom. The extension of the bottom beyond the back allows ample room for shrinkage.


The best machine-made drawers are now made with the bottom paneled or dadoed in all around so that papers cannot slip out. The back, as well as the front, is dovetailed.


Directions for Making a Table Drawer. Dress the front and sides to size. Fit the front of the drawer to its place in the table or cabinet, leaving a little play all around it. Plow the groove in the front and sides for the drawer bottom. For ordinary drawers, a groove ¼" wide is proper. If the ends of the front are to be rabbeted (see above), do this next. The sides are best joined to the front with the half-blind dovetail joint. After fitting these, lay out and cut the dadoes for the back of the drawer. Prepare the bottom of the drawer thus: the grain should run right and left, never front and back. If the drawer is so long as to require it, glue-joint the bottom, and fit it snugly to place. There need be no play right and left, and the bottom should extend as far back as the sides. If necessary, bevel the under side to fit the grooves. Assemble all the parts to see that they fit, take them apart, glue the sides to the front and back, slip the bottom into place, apply the clamps, and see to it that all joints are square, using a diagonal brace if necessary, Fig. 294. Fasten the bottom to the front by means of a thin block glued into the interior angle between the under side of the bottom and the back side of the front. When dry, clean up the drawer and fit it to its place.







Next: Panel Structures

Previous: Simple Or Unjoined Pieces



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