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.
A useful form of kitchen dresser, removable at pleasure, is shown in Fig. 593. It is constructed out of best clean yellow pine, French polished. The ends are formed by 2 gables a, 5 ft. 2 in. high, 20 in. wide in the full body, 10 in. wide at the top drawers b, and 1 in. thick. They rest on strips c, 2 in. sq., and projecting 2 1/2 in. in front, to which they are mortised. The 3 large drawers d are surmounted by a slab e, 4 ft. long, 1 1/4 in. thick, projecting 3/4 in. beyond the front of the drawers, and at a height of 3 ft. 2 in. above the floor. Being of the same width as the gables (20 in.), this slab does not reach the back of the dresser by | in., thus leaving a space for the back lining. Boards /, 4 ft. long, 9 1/4 in. wide, and 3/4 in. thick, are placed above and below the 5 small drawers b, which latter are separated by partitions 7 in. long, 3 1/2 in. wide, and 3/4 in. thick. The fronts of the large drawers d are 6 in. wide, and of the small ones b 2f in. There is a clear space h 10 in. high between the 2 rows of drawers. As indicated in the drawing, the joints in the frame are made by mortices and tenons, the latter being of full depth and diagonally wedged. A shelf i, 4 ft. long, 18 in. wide, and 1 in. thick, divides the cupboard k into an upper and a lower compartment.
A fore edge I and a back edge m, each 3 in. wide, 1 in. thick, and 4 ft. long, are morticed as shown, to support the weight of the large drawers d. The curves on the gables are cut as follows. The first one n is a quarter circle of 4 in. radius, the next o is a reversed quarter circle of 5 1/2 in. radius, the 2 being joined by a straight line; the top curve p is a quarter circle of 4 in. radius. The base rail r is 4 ft. long, 2 1/2 in. wide, and 1 1/4 in. thick, and mortised into the 2 gables a with its under side resting on the strips c. From the centre of the base rail, and mortised into it, rises the mounter s, also 2 1/2 in. by 1 1/4 in., 30 in. long, and mortised into the fore edge I at top. The case for the 5 small drawers is made by mortice and tenon joints, carefully fitted, planed, glued, and wedged. The wedging is done in the following way. Diagonal saw-cuts are made in the ends of the tenons before putting together, and for these are prepared little wooden wedges fin. wide, 1/2 in. long, and 1/16 in. thick, tapering to a fine edge. "When one wedge has been driven into one slit, a second is cut in halves and driven into the other slit at right angles to the first.
The frame for the 3 large drawers d consists of the fore and back edges I m, into which 2 cross rails, 3 in. wide, are mortised exactly under the divisions t between the drawers. These divisions are 6 in. wide, and have tenons at top and bottom, fitting into mortices in the cross rails t and the shelf e. The cross rails may be thinner than I and m, but their upper surfaces must all be made flush. The frame, thus far completed, is glued, wedged, and cramped up till quite firm. The bottom is next fitted in so as to lie close up to the gable at each end, to the base rail r in front, and to the back behind, its ends resting upon the strips c, which project 1/2 in. inwards for that purpose. The method of fastening the bottom to the base-rail r and strips c by screws presents some peculiarities, and is illustrated at u. At intervals of about 9 in. on the under side of the bottom, recesses are gouged out in triangular form, shallowest at the apex, and deepening to 1/2 in. at the base, which latter is about 3/4 in. within the margin. From the edge of the bottom 1/4-in. holes are bored through into these recesses, for the reception of l1/2-in. screws, which are driven from the recess, as shown.
The 3 large drawers are made of 7/8-in. wood for the fronts, 5/8-in. for the backs and sides, and 3/8-in. for the bottoms; the 5 small ones take 3/4-in., 1/2-in., and 1/4- in. respectively. The backs of the drawers may be 1/4 in. lower than the sides, to prevent catching; and the drawers themselves may be 1/16 in. shorter than their niches in the case, to ensure their shutting in flush with the front. The corners of the drawers are made with dovetail joints, and glued. The bottoms are let into grooves previously cut with a plough, and are further supported by narrow fillets glued beneath along the sides, and two or three blocks of hard wood along the front, the latter making contact with stops in the frame to regulate the degree to which the drawer is pushed in. For the 2 doors k, make 4 stiles v or upright pieces of framing, 3 in. wide, 1 1/4 in. thick, and 2 in. longer than the height of the aperture to be covered; also 4 rails to or horizontal pieces of framing, of the same width and thickness. Draw in the stiles for mortising and rails for tenoning. Find the height and width of the apertures in the dresser front, place the stiles on edge on the bench, and draw at each end with pencil, the breadth of a rail at the outer lines being a little farther apart than the height of the opening.
Then mark off 1/2 in. from the inner lines towards the ends. From this line mark off 1 3/4 in. towards the ends. Between these last 2 lines is the portion to be mortised, leaving 3/4 in. at the extreme end to give strength to the frame. "When drawing in the rails, deduct the breadth of the 2 stiles from the width of opening, allowing 1/8 in. for fitting; draw in the shoulders at this with cutting knife. Gauge for 3/8 in. mortice-iron in the centre of the stuff. Mortise about 2 in. deep, taking care to have all mortices in the centre of the stuff for their whole depth, otherwise the framing will be twisted. When the rails are tenoned the thickness way, gauge the inner edge of tenons 1/2 in. to be ripped off, and 3/4 in. bare to rip off the outer edge; then the tenon should fill the mortice. Cut it to within 1/8 in. of the depth of the mortice. All these pieces, being mortised and tenoned, are grooved for the panels. This is done in the centre of the stuff with a flit plough and 1/4-in. iron, the groove being 1/2 in. deep; all the grooving is done with the outer face of each piece towards the operator.
The panels k are of 1/2-in. wood, and "fielded" on the front side, i.e. a ribbon about 2 in. wide is sliced off all round, so as to bevel the front face gradually to a thickness of about half at the edge. This fielded edge is let about 1/2 in. deep into a groove cut for it in the inner edges of the pieces v w. When the frame and panel have been fitted and glued up, a small moulding x is run round in the angle. When the door is thus completed and has been duly cramped and dried, it may be fitted to the aperture it has to close, and its edges planed away smooth till the adjustment is perfect. The doors are not hung till the back y of the dresser has been put in. The back consists of 5/8-in. boards arranged to run up and down, or across, or partly both, according as the wood available best suits. The boards are united by groove and feather joints, and any exposed ends are contrived to come where they will not be seen. The curves at z in the top of the back are of 2 in. radius. The boards are secured by 1 1/4-in. screws, and a bead is run round the edge. The stops for the small drawers may be glued on the back boards, and of such a thickness as to allow the drawer fronts to come 1/16 in. within the face of the frame.
The stops for the large drawers are 2 in. sq. and 1/4 in. thick, and are screwed on to the frame under the drawers 1/16 in. farther in than the point reached by the blocks on the drawers when their fronts are flush with the outside of the frame. The doors are hung on 3-in. brass butt hinges, and great accuracy must be observed in fixing the hinges, so that the doors hang perfectly square and free. Finally the whole work is sandpapered quite smooth, and polished, varnished, or painted.