General Advice - Simple Fancy Table - Small Table with Shelf Below - Octagon Table with Spindled Rails - Square Tapered Legs - Small Round Table - Common Kitchen Table - Leg Writing-table - Table with Flaps - Brackets for supporting Flaps - Sutherland Table - Double Sutherland Table - Rule Joint - Card Tables - Dining - tables.
Most of the principal elementary joints, etc., of cabinet work having been described, the novice who can make them and has a good comprehension of what is required should be competent to make almost any article of furniture in a workmanlike manner. I do not say that he will be able to do so without thinking or in a mechanical manner, for every fresh article which he may be called on to make will require the exercise of common sense and thought in its construction. Provided, however, that he will use his brains, the man possessed with any ordinary degree of mechanical ability will meet with no insurmountable difficulty. Of course, it is not to be supposed that the novice will attempt to make any really large or complicated piece of furniture, but even with these he must remember that they are little more than a number of small pieces or parts. If these each in turn are well made and accurately fitted, the workmanship of the whole can hardly be anything but satisfactory. I do not, however, recommend the novice to be too ambitious at first. Let him make simple things till he can work with neatness and exactitude, for if any of these are comparative failures the loss will not be serious; indeed, the loss of wood and time will be more than counterbalanced by the experience gained.
For these reasons the construction of a few typical articles of furniture will be described in order that the instructions which have been given in preceding pages may be put into practice. It is of course unnecessary to describe again in detail each operation, so that the following pages, it is understood, will not be of much use to those who have not previously learned the more elementary portion of the work. It may also be well to explain that though all the designs, it is hoped, will make up into such articles as will please the majority of readers, ornamental details are left to be added according to the discretion of the worker. The articles as shown may be principally classed among the good ordinary plain furniture of everyday use and sale. They will, therefore, no doubt from this last reason, be more useful to the professional cabinet-maker than things of a more elaborate character would be. It is not professed that all the designs are 'new and original,' as the object is rather to show how to make those articles of common use than to produce a series of new patterns. At the same time the designs are not taken at haphazard, but are carefully selected so that neither the amateur who makes for his own use, nor the professional who makes for sale, need fear that the lines are outre in character. To enumerate each article or variety of article which is made is of course impossible, as to do so would require many volumes the size of the present one. Those who do not find what they want, or cannot unaided cope with difficulties of construction, may be referred to the publishers' notice which appears immediately after the preface, and it is hoped by the means there suggested that every novice and amateur may have it in his power to make well-designed furniture of any kind.
Tables may be named first, not only because they are found in such an immense variety, but because in the simpler forms they are easy to make, and will afford many a useful lesson to the amateur and novice generally.
Fig. 167 shows a small fancy table, such as is commonly seen in drawing-rooms. Without wishing arbitrarily to fix on sizes and substance of wood for a table of this kind, it may be said that 3/4 in. stuff will do for the top and 1 1/2 in. for the legs. The framing may very well be of the same substance as the top, and if economy of material is desired pine veneered will do. In such small articles it is, however, almost unnecessary ever to use anything but solid. The top may suitably be about 20 ins. long by 12 ins. wide and 2 ft. high. The shaping of the rails is purely a decorative detail, and does not affect the construction. This is of the simplest character. The rails are merely fastened to the legs by dowel or mortise and tenon, as may be considered the most convenient, and the top fixed down. In such a small thing as this probably it will be sufficient to fasten it with glued blocks placed in the angles formed by the frame and the top. If the wood is quite dry, as the top is so narrow the shrinkage will not amount to much. It must, however, be understood that when a top is rigidly fixed there is a certain amount of risk of its splitting through shrinkage, and a better method will be to fasten it with screws. These, if the rails are narrow and thick enough, may be inserted from below, but with wide rails it will be more convenient to drive them in slanting from the inside, recesses being cut for the heads, as shown in Fig. 168.
Fig. 167. - Small Table.
Fig. 169 shows a table for similar purposes, but with the addition of a shelf below. This has a small ledge of, say, 1 in. wide on its upper surface. The top, it will be noticed, is not supported by a framing as before, but, instead, the legs are fastened into pieces about 3 ins. wide, on which the top rests. The way in which the legs are secured will be seen in Fig. 170, which shows that they are turned with a shoulder and inserted in holes in the rails. If they fit tightly, glue alone will do to secure them, but otherwise a small wedge may be driven in to the top of each leg. This should be inserted in the contrary direction to the grain of the rails, especially if these are of thin stuff. The wedges themselves should be fastened with glue. This, however, must not be used to connect the top to the rails, which of course will be across the grain of the top. Were this to be glued down there would be great likelihood of the top casting; it would shrink, and, being bound by the transverse pieces, become hollow. The proper way, therefore, is to fasten it with screws, the holes for which in the rails should be sufficiently large to allow of some degree of play. I do not know that the amateur could derive a more useful lesson, showing the necessity for allowing for contraction or play of wood, than from this small table, or one of similar construction. It will do no harm to try the experiment, and this is more than can be said for most instances where construction has to provide for shrinkage. Let a piece of ordinary wood, not specially dried, be used for the purpose - fairly dry, but without extra precautions having been taken to ensure its being thoroughly so. The rails should be - for the sake of the experiment - just equal in length to the width of the top. Leave plenty of space in the screw-holes, especially those towards the edges, for presuming three are used, that in the centre may as well be a fixture. If the table is made under such conditions, and left for a time in a warm dry room, it will be found ere long that the top is shrinking and that the ends of the rails project beyond it. These of course can easily be cut off, so that no harm will result from what to the amateur may prove a useful practical lesson. The wider the top the greater the amount of shrinkage, and the warmer and drier the place it is in the quicker the result will be.