John F. Adams
The filing of letters by what is known as the vertical method is rapidly replacing the old method of letter files with firms receiving any considerable number of letters, especially where the larger portion of the correspondence is confined to the same people. Numbers are assigned to regular correspondents and all letters received and copies of answers thereto are kept in the same folder, an alphabetical index with folder numbers enabling the set of letters to be obtained in the time necessary to look at the index and select the proper folder.
Folders are made from sheets of tag-stock, a l:ind of thin cardboard much resembling that used for postcards and shipping tags. They are cut 18 1/4x11 1/2 in. and folded so that one flap measures 9x11 1/2 in. and the other 9 1/4 in., the wider one being placed underneath and filed to bring it at the back. These can be purchased of office supply dealers, but are much cheaper, if the tag stock is obtained from a paper house, where the cutting may be done at small expense and the folding done by the purchaser.
The cabinet of drawers in which the correspondence is filed is u»ually of the sectional type, allowing the addition of sections as may be required by the increase in letters. As transfers of old letters can be made to the regular type of letter files, the cabinet here described is not made after the sectional plan, as the six drawers provide a great enough capacity for the needs of any except large firms who would not be interested in making their own furniture. The lower drawers are used for general correspondence filed alphabeticall]y; the upper ones for firms with special numbers. Oak for a stained finish is the wood most suitable to use, although gumwood will make an excellent appearance.
The two end pieces are 31 in. long, 17 in. wide and 7/8 in. thick. The width of these pieces require glueing up from two pieces of suitable width, using care to match the grain as well as possible at the joints. In the rear inner edges of both ends and top cut $ in. rabbets to receive the sheathing at the back. Also, on the inner sides of the end pieces and 12 in. from the top ends, cut grooves 3-16 in. deep and 3/4 in. wide for receiving the ends of the frame dividing the upper and lower drawers and forming the runs for the upper ones. The top should be attached to the ends with 2 two in. No. 12 wood screws, countersinking the heads, and measures 43 in. long and 7/8 in. thick.
The pieces around the base are 7 in. wide and 7/8 in. thick, the two at the ends being 17$ in. long, and the one at the front 43 in. long, these lengths allowing for mitred joints at the corners. If drawers are desired in which to store a supply of folders, the front baseboard is cut as follows:
Draw vertical lines 4 in. from each end and 2 in. each side of the center, connect these with lines 1 in. from the top and 1$ in. from the bottom edge, forming rectangles 16 in. long and 4 in. high. Bore a | in. hole in one corner at each end, and with a compass saw start sawing until a rip saw can be used. The vertical cuts will have to be made entirely with the compass saw. Use care not to saw outside of the lines, and trim up smooth with a chisel and block plane. The fronts of the drawers will have to be made of other pieces, as unless one has a fret saw it is a difficult matter to cut out pieces in this way and have them fit well enough to use as indicated.
The frame forming the runs for the lower drawers is next in order. This measures 39$ in. long and 16 1/2 in. wide. The piece forming the front edge, 3 in. wide, should be of the same wood used for the ends and top; the rest of the frame may be of birch or maple, the back pieces being 3 in. wide and the end pieces 3 1/2 in. wide. The joints are halved, the ends having the cuts on the under side. Two cross pieces 3 in. wide, also with halved joints, are placed with centers 14$ in. from each end. The joints with the front piece should not be cut clear across, but about $ in. left to conceal the ends of the cross pieces and ends.
Two partitions 24 in. high and 16 1/2 in. wide are now made of wood 5/8- in. thick. If maple or birch be usedr glue a 2 in. strip of the wood used for ends to the front edge. It will be necessary to cut grooves $ in. deep and 7/8 in. wide, across the center of each side of these partitions to receive the frames forming the runs for the upper drawers.
These latter frames are 13 1-16 in. wide, 16 1/2 in. deep, and 7/8 in. thick, made with halved joints, the front pieces matching the rest, as before mentioned. Stock 3 in. wide is used, and the frames are firmly attached in place with glue and nails. The joints between these frames and the partitions can be nicely concealed by having the frames only 16 in. deep, setting them in 1/2 in., cutting into the partitions at the joints 1/2 in. and putting astrip7/8x1/2 in. and 39 3/4 in. long, across the front, using glue and wire finish nails for fastening.
The runs for the two shallow storage drawers are next to be made. Four pieces of birch or any similar wood, 4 3-16 in. wide and 16$ in. long, are then nailed with the front ends flush with the openings, the top edges being attached with 2 in. screws to the frame above. To the under edges of these pieces, attach strips 2 in. wide and 16 1/8 in. long, so that they will project towards each other, forming runs for the drawers. Under these place two strips 39$ in. long and of just the width to rest on the floor, and thus give firm support to the runs of the drawers and enabling the latter to be heavily loaded. The two drawers are of ordinary construction, with the exception that around the edges of the front may be placed strips of quarter moulding, and the drawer set in to bring the moulding flush with the front. This recessed effect adds to its appearance. A single drop drawer pull in the center of the drawer will answer. The frame is finished by sheathing up the back with $ in. matched sheathing, which comes 6 in. wide. Seven strips 25$ in. long will be required.
The filing drawers, six in number, are next to be made. The fronts consist of six pieces 12| in. long,. 11 3/4| in. wide and 3/4 in. thick. As the sides are low it will be necessary to cut down the ends on the front sides for cleats 2 in. wide and 1/4 in. thick, which are desirable to prevent warping. Use care to make good joints; the cleats should be glued and held in clamps while the glue is drying. Cut rabbets on the inner lower edge 3/8 x 7/8 in. for the ends of the bottom board. The sides are 16 in. long, 5 in. wide and 3/8 in. thick, the fronts having a 1/2 in. rabbet to receive them, fastening carefully with 1 1/2 in screws of small gauge, and glue. Dovetail joints would be stronger, and are recommended to those knowing how to cut them. The piece at the back is 12 in. long, 4 3/8 in wide and 3/4 in. thick, the top edge being nailed flush with the side pieces. The bottom is 16 in. long, 12 in. wide and 5/8 in. thick, the rear end being nailed to the back with nails or screws through the sides and front.
To keep the drawers from tilting forward when opened, owing to the low sides, it will be necessary to attach strips of 3/8 in. stock to the partitions and ends,