Ordinary Arrangement of Sideboards - Fixing of Back - Cabinets - Music Cabinets.

Probably in no articles of furniture is there more variety in design and consequent modifications of construction than in sideboards and cabinets. As some may wonder at these two being classed together, it may be well to explain that so far as the work of the cabinetmaker is concerned they are practically the same in construction, the principal difference otherwise between them is that the sideboard is more massive than the cabinet and less ornate. Of the actual construction it seems almost unnecessary to say anything, as there is little that has not been mentioned elsewhere, and it may reasonably be supposed that those for whom this book is primarily intended will seldom or never be called on to make anything elaborate till they have acquired the requisite amount of skill otherwise than by its aid. A few remarks, however, may serve as a guide and prevent any one being utterly at a loss with regard to special fittings. The usual sideboard has pedestals at each end, the centre being either open or enclosed wholly or in part, according to the requirements. In one pedestal or cupboard, generally that on the right, a cellarette for holding wine decanters, etc, is usually fitted. It may either take the form of a deep or box drawer, or of a shallow sliding tray, somewhat like those for wardrobes. In either case it is partitioned and lined usually with zinc, this being done by a zinc - worker and not by the cabinet-maker. The top is usually moulded with a heavy lining, so as to give it a massive appearance, and as sideboard tops are among the widest pieces of wood the cabinet-maker requires to use, it is necessary to take ample precautions in the manner already indicated for allowing for shrinkage. The fitting of the back may cause some trouble. When it is composed partly of cupboards or shelves, with supports in front coming down to the top, it may be simply placed on this and secured by screws driven into the frame from underneath. The top, it will be understood, generally projects a little behind to allow of the skirting-board of the room. If it did not do so the back could not rest against the wall as it generally should, unless it were screwed on behind the back edge of the top, which in most instances would be an unworkmanlike proceeding.

An additional support, and a very necessary one when the back is a plain frame without cupboards or shelves, is to make the ends of the framing sufficiently long to extend part way down behind the sideboard, to the ends of which they are screwed. To allow of these pieces being fitted in a sightly manner, part of the back of edge of the top is usually cut away, for it is rarely that a back of either cabinet or sideboard comes to the extreme end of the top. In these, however, and many other details the exact arrangement must depend almost entirely on the design, for a method that would be suitable for one would be quite inapplicable to another. The great thing to be aimed at is stability and, perhaps equally important, neat workmanship.

Ordinary cabinets, as has been said, are very like light sideboards, and beyond saying that the prevailing fashion is to have them inlaid with marquetry, and consequently veneered, no special remarks about them can be necessary.

The music-cabinet is generally only a small carcase fitted with shelves, drawers, and upright partitions separately or in combination. Fig. 219 represents one of rather more imposing appearance than usual, and though it is mentioned last it may very appropriately, as an exercise of carcase work, be the first which the young cabinet - maker undertakes.

Fig. 219.   Music   cabinet.

Fig. 219. - Music - cabinet.

In conclusion, it merely remains to be said that many articles of furniture have necessarily been left unmentioned, and that the present volume has been mainly occupied in describing the groundwork or elements of cabinet-making. Those who understand these and the principles which have been explained will, provided they possess the necessary amount of manual skill, have little difficulty in devising or making soundly constructed workmanlike furniture.

It may be added that it is in contemplation to supplement this volume by others in which articles of furniture of good useful design will be illustrated and their construction minutely explained. Till they appear, the novice will have enough to study in the present one; and in the meantime I must take leave of my readers.