Squaring up - Edge Joints - Plain Gluing - Dowelling - Tonguing - Plain Dovetailing - Lap Dovetailing - Mitred Dovetailing - Hearers - Keyed Corners - Mortises and Tenons - Dowelled Frames - Halving.
THE reader may now be supposed to know sufficient to require information as to the actual work to be done. This might be conveyed by describing the construction of various articles of furniture, but it will be more to the advantage of the learner to have the principal operations involved in cabinet-making presented to him in a more systematic manner. When he can do these he ought, with the aid of a little thought, to be able to construct almost any article of furniture which he may wish.
Sawing and planing as the initial work of cabinet-making having already been treated of, nothing more need be said about them. When making anything, the importance of having the wood properly squared can hardly be over-estimated. To plane and saw at a piece of wood to get it true and square might by chance get the edges right, but to act in this way would be merely bungling, and it will be better to proceed in a rational manner.
Plane up one edge of a board straight and true; there is something to work from. To get the ends true, i.e., square, is then an easy matter, whether they are merely to be squared off or the board is to be cut into shorter lengths. It is only necessary to lay the square with its block against the trued edge, and the blade across the surface of the wood, and mark across by it; this line is then sawn to. The ends afterwards ought only to require shooting to smooth and clean them, a very finely-set plane being required with end grain. The other long edge will be trued up by means of the square laid on the end, by the marking-gauge if only narrow, or, as is often done, by laying a rule across and, guided by its end, marking a line with a pencil. When getting out stuff, that is, cutting the pieces for any article, it is always advisable to cut them rather full than otherwise, to allow for cleaning off edges and ends. When marking off a board it must be remembered that the width of the saw kerf must be allowed for. It would not do to take a piece 6 ft. long and expect to be able to cut six I ft. lengths from it. The board might be marked into six equal parts, but when cut to the lines they would all be short, except perhaps the end pieces, if the marked line were sawn not through but by its side which is furthest from the end. The cut would then be in the wood of the next piece, and it would be correspondingly short. The same holds good when ripping also, for no one who thinks would expect to cut three pieces full 3 ins. wide from a board of 9 ins. The difference of course is not great, but quite enough to make the work defective. The trued - up edge and face of wood should be always marked. Wood, when cut and trued up, is ready for working further by joining it up with other pieces, which completed form the article.
The joints used may be divided into three classes, viz., edge-jointing, as when two pieces of board are joined together; angle-jointing, as in the making a box or drawer; and frame - jointing, for door frames, etc. In each of these classes, into which, for the sake of convenience, joints may be divided, there are several varieties, and these will now be considered. Before doing so it may be said that sometimes the choice of joint is a matter of indifference, and depends on the fancy of the worker, while in some instances a particular kind is better than others.
Edge-jointing, or, as it is very commonly called, 'jointing up,' may be taken first, and we may suppose that two boards are to be joined together to form one wide piece.
Plain Glued Joint - In this the pieces are simply connected with glue. The edges must be shot perfectly true and square if the joint is to be both strong and neat, as it should be. It may be noted that in any joint the pieces should come close together with the thinnest possible film of glue remaining between them, so that the mark of the joint is a mere hair line, and principally observable from the different figurings of the wood.
In no case should the wood be rounded towards the end, so that the piece would be in closer contact towards the middle than elsewhere; but if the joint is a long one, the edges should be slightly hollowed out towards the middle, so that the contact would be closer at the ends than elsewhere. The least bit hollow is all that is wanted, a thin shaving taken off after the pieces are perfectly straight is sufficient. If the pieces are only short, say anything under 2 ft. 6 ins., the edges may be left straight, as in fact they must be, for either with the jointer or the trying plane it will not be easy to plane hollow on short lengths. The edges should be tried together before gluing to see that they are right; the lower piece is held in the bench-screw, the other being placed on it. Notice whether the surfaces of the boards are on the same level, and that they do not form an angle at the joint. Also draw the top one, lengthwise, a few inches backwards and forwards, and notice whether the two edges seem to work sweetly together. The feel of two perfect edges together is rather peculiar, though it can hardly be described in such a way as to render it intelligible to novices. The pieces almost seem to stick together slightly by suction.
When everything seems satisfactory they may be glued together. Of course the glue should be quite hot, and it may also be advisable to warm the edges of the wood. One piece being fastened in the bench-vice, rub the glue on and bring the edges together without loss of time to prevent the glue getting chilled. Slide the upper piece, lengthwise, slightly once or twice to exclude air and surplus glue. Then, if the wood is thick enough, apply the cramps, and mind that there is a piece of waste wood used to prevent the edges of the board being injured. Screw the cramps up tightly to squeeze nearly all the glue out and bring the edges into the closest contact. Let the cramps remain on till the glue has set and the joint become firm, which will probably be in two or three hours. Time depends greatly on circumstances when they may be removed. The joint, though the glue has set, will not be strong enough to bear rough usage for some time longer, say not till next day. If the wood is only thin, the cramps cannot be used; but when this is the case it is seldom necessary that they should be, as great strength is not required, and sufficient contact can be got by rubbing the glued edges together.