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    Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    This is not how I would make drawer bottoms for a plywood kitchen cabinet. On the other hand if I take the time to build something that you won't find in a factory outlet, I won't build the drawer like the folks in the factory.

    I am building a cherry and maple or possibly a cherry and walnut table. Its small and it will go by a bed side with a lamp so guests can read before calling it a day. I hope they will glance at the front and the top and admire the simple beauty of the wood before they end the day. The drawer fronts in the photo are cherry. The figured crotch is darker than the surrounding plain cherry but that's alright. It was a surprise to me but as I got used to it I'm OK.






    The legs are joined to the sides and back with long tenons. At the top of the legs in the front I use the traditional dovetail commonly found on tables like this.



    the dovetails provide a great joint and a must joint for the top of the leg. A tenon would not work here.








    I would like to show you how I assemble the drawer bottoms as you have seen the basic joinery for the side, front and back.



    In the photo above you see the bottom. The grain runs side to side. This allows the solid wood bottom to expand and shrink with the weather. With all the rain and humidity this time of the year this is an easy guess for me.




    With a simple handplane, I bevel the sides and the front edge so it slips in to the groove.








    I will set the front edge in fairly tight this time of the year with the wood at full expansion I think it will only shrink once I bring it in the house. I will leave the bottom board about a quarter of an inch long for future adjustments if needed.




    Notice the bottom is a little long and the sides of the dovetails are left long? This is good. It gives you extra wood to adjust around January when the dry heat has the pine down in width.

    So why do this? I still get satisfaction when a drawer glides in place and the smell of pine gets pushed out as it closes. It might seem overly romantic but it sure is nice when you open the drawer and find the surprise.





    Last edited by danmart77; 09-28-2018 at 12:32 PM.


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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Pretty much the same way I make drawer bottoms, except I go all high-tech and use a #78 plane.

    -Mark

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Quote Originally Posted by mkepke View Post
    Pretty much the same way I make drawer bottoms, except I go all high-tech and use a #78 plane.

    -Mark
    I have one as well but the groove was cut this time on the table saw and chisel. I use my 45 for the task and my poor little 78 stays set for other jobs.

    As a rule Mark, I use poplar and white pine for drawer parts. I have a backup of short yellow pine stock and I am bound and determined to use them on something. Its one of my least favorite woods to work with hand tools but its just so easy to find here on the Piedmont, I keep bringing it home.

    plow on

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Those drawers turned out real pretty.
    Nothing beats a try but a failure, failure is an opportunity to learn.
    http://graywolfwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Dan, your photos of the legs show how the horizontal front pieces are going to be attached. Those dual mortises are the way to go. Domino loose tenons wouldn't work here at all. I first saw these details in a book by Lester Margon or Carlyle Lynch.

    Roy G

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    I have never made a solid wood drawer bottom. It has always been plywood to avoid wood movement issues. I'll have to give a solid bottom a try at some point.

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Quote Originally Posted by Roy G View Post
    Dan, your photos of the legs show how the horizontal front pieces are going to be attached. Those dual mortises are the way to go. Domino loose tenons wouldn't work here at all. I first saw these details in a book by Lester Margon or Carlyle Lynch.

    Roy G
    I try to cut the tenons as long as I can. To get the most out of them, I cut miters on the ends so when the meet the side tenons they come together and form a good fit. Pins as you can see.

    Over the years I wrote to Carlyle Lynch and I have fond memories of his responses. His illustrations are worth every penny. If you see a piece he has illustrated and it appeals to you get a copy.

    Several members here have built pieces using his plans.

    Lastly, I don't have any of the domino tools so its not an option for me. I used to think drill or routing was much quicker than pounding the old "pig stickers" I have. I think so but I still go back and square the shoulders as you see in the earlier photos.





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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Scuteri View Post
    I have never made a solid wood drawer bottom. It has always been plywood to avoid wood movement issues. I'll have to give a solid bottom a try at some point.
    Jeremy
    You don't know what you're missing Bud. Just kidding.. sort of. Its a good skill to have if you get in the handmade drawer business for furniture. A couple styles of construction out there. The one the blows my mind is the Williamsburg and down in to the Edenton area where the glued the wooden bottom to the sides. You would think that they would crack and fall off but they didn't.

    After you have taken the time to do all the joinery by hand, putting plywood in the drawers is like "putting lipstick on a pig."
    Famous quote from my old boss.



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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Very nice!!!

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Quote Originally Posted by danmart77 View Post
    I try to cut the tenons as long as I can. To get the most out of them, I cut miters on the ends so when the meet the side tenons they come together and form a good fit. Pins as you can see.

    Over the years I wrote to Carlyle Lynch and I have fond memories of his responses. His illustrations are worth every penny. If you see a piece he has illustrated and it appeals to you get a copy.

    Several members here have built pieces using his plans.

    Lastly, I don't have any of the domino tools so its not an option for me. I used to think drill or routing was much quicker than pounding the old "pig stickers" I have. I think so but I still go back and square the shoulders as you see in the earlier photos.






    Dan, Are you saying those mortises were routed and squared or were they chopped?

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Dan, Are you saying those mortises were routed and squared or were they chopped?

    This time chopped. I only have two mortise chisels. They are some old English made chisels 5/16 and 3/8. With the smaller chisel, you can really move along.

    As you can imagine doing the small double mortise and the dovetail sockets is not worth the time to set up jigs and go thru all of the set up mess. I find striking a line, cutting with a saw(I like the pull saw/Japanese) and paring with a chisel to be the quickest and the easiest for me.

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Dan,
    I really enjoy your posts with the details and photos in your posts. May I recommend creating a blog on our site for these WIP? I think that would allow for users to find your work easier and would not scroll off of the Home page as fast.

    Just a thought, and please continue with your excellent work!

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Dan,
    I too enjoy your posts and hope you continue to entertain us with you knowledge, advice and work in process.

    I think everyone enjoys your projects and experience.
    People are amazed as a shaving rises from the throat of a plane as if itís a spell plucked from a sorcererís hand Ė Paul Sellers

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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    Quote Originally Posted by bowman View Post
    Dan,
    I really enjoy your posts with the details and photos in your posts. May I recommend creating a blog on our site for these WIP? I think that would allow for users to find your work easier and would not scroll off of the Home page as fast.

    Just a thought, and please continue with your excellent work!
    Neal I have never done a blog so I'm at a loss where to start on that project. Recently, I have talked with a couple folks in the Admin section about getting a place on the forum where builders can show instructional type WIP photos that stay there. Hopefully, they would not be hijacked off in a different direction is posted for helping with a specific task.

    I'm told the site is going to be modernized in the future and when the time comes that a WIP section would be a good thing. So maybe in the future.

    For now, I guess I'll just continue in the How To section.

    After Hanks last input on photo viewing I realize that viewers can not get to my folders on a certain subject as easily as I can. In the future I will include the folder with additional photos if the person is curious.

    Unlike most of the members now, I still dump photos as I work in folders in the Gallery. It takes longer now but once they are in a folder, its easier to find and post them for me.


    Somebody asked in some other place "what is a pig sticker?" Well here it is going in some maple.


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  18. #15
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    Re: Drawer bottoms: 18th century style

    If you can get it, cypress makes a really nice drawer bottom, BTW.

    But - NICE WORK!!

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