The principal parts of these are the frames and panels. The upright portions of the frames are the stiles, the cross-pieces being the rails. These are fitted within the former, that is to say, the stiles run the entire height of the door, and the rails lie within them. The reverse is sometimes seen in old but never in ordinary modern work.
The panels may be sunk in grooves, and must then be let in before the framing is made up. The usual practice is, however, to sink them in rabbets from behind, and then fasten them in with beads, as shown in section, Fig. 145. The beads should not be glued in but be neatly fastened with small wire nails, or better still, with screws, which should be round-headed brass when appearance is an object.
The frames of doors are often not rabbeted in the ordinary way, but after they are made up small mouldings are glued on the edges near the face sides, as shown in Fig. 146. These mouldings, as will be seen, form the rabbet, and are often highly ornamental in effect. In other cases the frame is rabbeted, and the mouldings worked on the solid. So far as appearance goes, and even utility, there is little to choose between the two.
Fig. 145. - Panel Rabbeted in Frame.
Fig. 146. - Rabbet formed with Moulding.
When the moulding is worked on the frame, i.e., not stuck on, it must of course be mitred and cut away to allow of the joint being made, as shown in Fig. 147. The loose mouldings are simply mitred and glued in.
If the moulding is of any considerable size, as is sometimes the case with large doors and other frames, it is advisable to sink it in a rabbet, especially when the panel is looking-glass, as greater strength is gained. This method is illustrated in Fig. 148.
Fig. 147. - Mitred Mouldings Worked on Frame.
All mouldings on the edges of frames should be thoroughly dry, for if not, they will shrink and become open at the mitres, where, without a great deal of trouble, it is impossible to rectify joints. It may be a fact worth mentioning to some as a curious one to them that an opened mitre is not caused by the moulding shrinking in length but in width. Wood, it will be remembered, does not contract in the former direction.
Fig. 148. - Moulding in Rabbet.
When arranging the rabbets of a frame see that they are of equal depth from the back on all the four edges in order that the panel may fit equally to them. It may also be well to see that they are not winding, as a very trifling irregularity at the joints may make them defective in this respect as well as out of the square.
The stiles should be left long, so that they project at each end a little beyond the rails till these have been fitted in. This precaution is especially necessary when the tenon joint shown on p. 161 (Fig. 93) is being used, as were the pieces cut exact there would be more risk of splitting when cramping the tenon home.
As the rabbet may cause some embarrassment to the novice when framing up, he may refer to Fig. 149, showing the appearance of a top end of a stile with the rail. He will then have no difficulty in knowing how to proceed, as part of the rail is cut for the rabbet.
The novice must be cautioned against adopting a method sometimes practised, especially by amateurs, for it seems such an easy way of getting the appearance of a framed door. It is simply by gluing pieces of wood to represent the rails and stiles on a panel the full size of the door. One so made is nearly certain to cast, as either the rails or stiles must be across the grain of the panel. It may be taken as a general rule that simple looking makeshifts are not generally of any practical use, for otherwise they would be employed by skilled cabinet-makers, who have every inducement to work in the simplest effective manner.
Cornices and plinths enter so largely into furniture construction that they may receive attention here, though perhaps it may seem rather incongruous to class them together, forming, as they do, the extremities, top and bottom, of the pieces of furniture of which they form parts. Their construction is, however, very much the same, so that for all practical purposes they may, to some extent, be taken together. They are either fixed or loose, generally being the latter if of any considerable size, as in the case of large wardrobes. In these and similar pieces of furniture formed by joining more than one carcase together, they serve to some extent to bind them, and are thus useful as well as more convenient than when fixed. Indeed, in many articles they could not be made in this way. To a certain extent both cornices and plinths are alike, being merely frames with the width of the wood showing, or shallow boxes without top or bottom. For articles to be placed against a wall, only the front and two ends are presentable, the back rail being merely a piece of pine fastened in between the two ends to steady them. It may be fixed by blocks glued in, but a better way is to use a dovetailed joint as described for drawer bearers. To allow of the sockets being cut the piece is fixed a few inches from the back. Fig. 149a shows the framework of such a cornice or plinth. At one end it will be seen that the back is represented fixed with blocks, and at the other as recommended. Such plain frames require adapting to the piece of furniture they are to fit, and, though impossible to go into all details here, a few hints will prepare the way for adaptation to special cases. The front corners should be neatly joined, and generally should be mitred. The mitre dovetail may be used, but an equally suitable and quicker method is to simply mitre the ends and then block them in behind. This may not seem a very strong way, and occasionally it is not strong enough.
Fig. 149. - End of stile showing rabbet.
Fig. 149a - Plinth or Cornice showing Fastenings.
In such cases the most satisfactory way is to dovetail two short pieces of pine together, the width of the wood being slightly less than that of the cornice or plinth. These are then fastened in the corners with glue and screws, and, if necessary, further strengthened with a block. This, however, is seldom necessary, as 1-inch pine, or even less, is, when properly joined, ample. Corners so fastened are represented in Fig. 149a.
In the case of cornices a moulding generally finishes off the top. When made as represented in Fig. 131, it may be glued to the face of the frieze, and fastened on more securely with a few screws from behind. Short blocks may also be glued on to give extra stability.
With a moulding finished as in Fig. 132, it is simply glued on to the top of the frieze, and fastened with glue and screws, as in Fig. 150, where the pocket or hollow cut for the reception of the screw is indicated. At the corners the mouldings are mitred and blocked.
The top edges of plinths generally require a moulding of some kind to be worked on them, and are seldom thick enough to project sufficiently when the carcase part rests on them. What is done then is merely to line them up so that the section is as shown in Fig. 151. These pieces are mitred at the corners, and seldom require any other fastening beyond glued blocks. It is sometimes sufficient, especially when the plinth is a fixed one, just to fasten it direct to the carcase by glued blocks or screws, and to omit the pieces which form the occasion for Fig. 151.
Fig. 150. - Cornice Moulding.
When the plinth or cornice is movable it is generally kept in position by blocks or pieces of wood fastened to the top or bottom of the carcase. In either case these are arranged so as to fit exactly into the corners, so that plinth and cornice are not free to slide about and be displaced without lifting.
An expeditious and strong method of forming a plinth or cornice, or, perhaps, I should rather say giving the appearance of these parts, is to let the ends of the carcase run through, and on these fix the cornice moulding or ends of plinth. The front can easily be added, if necessary thickening it up. In this construction it will be noticed that the work really stands on the end pieces, so that on the score of strength there is nothing to be objected to, while the appearance is exactly as before.
Fig. 151. Lining of Plinth.