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.
All the drawers being now in their places, provide mouldings and carvings. When mouldings or other projections are stuck on flat surfaces, the surfaces are French-polished before "planting" the moulding; the mouldings are also well coated with polish. This method is adopted because the fewer obstructions to the polishing-rubber the better the result. Another advantage is, the glue will not stick to a polished surface, so any superfluous glue, smeared about in putting on the mouldings, is easily cleaned off. In the present job, the exact place of the mouldings is marked lightly with a drawpoint both outside and inside; the space between the markings is cleaned of polish, and toothed. The mouldings are carefully mitred to length on a mitre board, and before glueing they are heated at the fire, the glue being applied to the drawer front. If the mouldings are straight on the glueing side they will only require to be held firmly down with the hands for a minute or two. If inclined to warp, pieces of pine, 12 in. long, are placed across them, and hand-screws applied to the ends. The drawer in the surbase receives a moulding 1 3/8 in. broad and 5/8 in. thick. There are various forms of mouldings used.
The moulding is mitred on the drawer front, the double mitres towards the centre having a break of 5/8 in. The 2 end portions form a square of 8 in. - consequently a margin of 2 in. is left outside of this portion of the moulding, and 2| in. along the centre. The 2 knobs are placed exactly in the centre of these squares. These mouldings are fixed on the face of the drawer with glue alone, the surface for nearly the breadth of the moulding being scraped and toothed, as also the back of the moulding. When the mouldings are "planted" and hard, all the mitres are carefully dressed off and papered. Next put on the guides. All the drawers being stopped in their proper places, as above described, the guides, 18 in. long, are bored for 3 or 4 nails. A little glue is applied to each guide, care being taken that no glue is allowed to spread and come in contact with the drawer sides; the guides are rubbed in from the back, pressing against the drawer sides; they are pushed forward to touch the back of the ground. After they stand for 1/2 hour or so all the drawers are taken out, and the guides nailed with l 1/2-in. wrought nails. Screws are better, but are hardly ever put in. After this the surbase and body or upper carcase receive the back lining.
This may consist of 5 1/2-in. narrow yellow pine boards. A first-class back would be framed and panelled. The surbase back consists of 1 board only, running horizontally, while the carcase back in narrow wood runs vertically. A fillet is glued to the under side of the top to receive the upper ends of the back lining. They are nailed with l 1/2-in. cut nails. The cedar ends of drawers being of reddish-brown colour, the pine wood, that is the inside of front, back and bottom, is stained the same hue. This stain consists of Venetian red and yellow ochre, equal parts, with a little thin glue and water. It is made to boil, and is applied hot to the wood with a rag; after standing a few minutes, the residue is rubbed off with more rag, and is stroked in the direction of the grain; when quite dry, it is papered with flour paper. All wood that is to be stained must be particularly well planed and sandpapered, as the stains at once show up defects. The same rule holds with all work to be painted or varnished.