This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
This article of furniture may be divided into 3 parts - the case or frame, the cross pieces or partitions, and the drawers. A rough form is illustrated in Fig. 592. The sides a and bottom b of the case are of 1-in. pine about 18 in. wide. The bottom is let into a v-shaped groove in the sides, and further supported by blocks glued on to the sides all round underneath it. The cross pieces c d are dovetailed into the top edges of the sides, and serve to hold the sides from spreading out. The cross pieces e f g are mortised into the sides of the case, but not so that the tenons come through to the outside of the case. The side ledges h running back from the cross pieces on each side of the case are glued and screwed to the sides. A board i, 3 in. wide and 1 in. thick, is notched into the cross piece c and the bottom b and supports by a mortice the bearer ft, whose other end is mortised into the cross piece e; this bearer k carries the sides of the 2 small top drawers. A strip I placed edgewise on it is screwed from beneath on to the bearer k, and is replaced in front by a vertical partition m mortised into the cross pieces d e.
The back, which is next put on, consists of alternate pieces of 1/2-in and 3/4-in. stuff the outer ones, as n, being 3/4-in.; these pieces are nailed to the cross piece c at top and to the bottom b, and the sides a are nailed to them. The thicker pieces n have their edges rebated so as to cover those of the thinner ones o, and thus the surface of the back is flush inside but irregular outside. The top is made of 1-in. pine, screwed on to the cross pieces c d and to 2 strips p from below, and lying flush with the back but projecting 1 in. over the sides and front. The strips p are fastened to the sides a by screws. The sides a are made in one piece, and are cut out at the bottom; angular pieces r glued into the front below the bottom drawer then give the appearance of dwarf legs. The drawers are made of 1-in. wood in the fronts, |-in. in the sides and back, and 1/2-in. or 7/16-in in the botom. Their construction resembles that described on p. 290. The completed article may be painted, stained, or polished.
The preceding is not a very workmanlike plan. A superior way is as follows :-The case is made like a bos turned up on end, all the corners having dovetail joints. The edges of the boards which come at the back of the chest are rebated about 1/3 of their thickness to admit of letting the back in so as to lie flush with the sides, top, and bottom. The partitions for separating the drawers are made so as to completely cover the drawer immediately beneath, and are not merely strips for giving support; they are let into grooves previously cut for them about 3/8 in. deep into the sides of the chest, and, instead of being formed of single boards, which are liable to warp, are built up of frames and panels, after the manner of a door, the joints being made by tongues and grooves, with mortices and tenons at the angles, and wooden pins driven through. The top is formed of an extra slab laid on the top of the case, projecting at the sides and front, secured by screws from below, and having a bead or moulding run round under it. The back is constructed of thin panelling, glued and bradded into the rebate in the sides. The bottom is added in the same way as the top, and may project rather more. A moulding is also run round it.
The legs should be turned, and are fastened to the chest by a beech pin screwed into them and into stout beech blocks under the bottom corners of the case.