I have a fully joined carcase with partitions for five drawers, but it’s only got two sides, a top and a bottom. ie: it needs a backside! Options I’ve thought about include a series of half-lap boards nailed into a rabbet at all four edges, and a floating frame and panel. Because one of these is necessarily more difficult to do than the other, you can likely guess which one I’ve chosen…
I started work with material selection. For the frame I’ve used a pretty non-descript (re: crappy) piece of walnut from inventory; it’s reasonably flat and true, with the right thickness, but has sapwood and knots and swirls a-plenty. So, a frugal choice that is suitable for the back of a shop cabinet. Dimensioned length and width of frame per the assembled (but not glued) caracase. Individual rail and stile widths dictated by the material: maxed out at 3” by cutting out knots and some of the barker sapwood. Board was ripped twice, edges were jointed:
Dimensioned length and width of frame per the assembled (but not glued) caracase.
Individual rail and stile widths dictated by the material: maxed out at 3” by cutting out knots and some of the barker sapwood. With that much layout completed, to include some slop for future joinery, I moved on to cutting the tongues and grooves with the Stanley #48 T&G plane, including all four ends of the rail pieces. If you haven’t had a chance to use a #48, it’s a blast. I laughed out loud the first time I cut with this tool; I’ve never had that kind of reaction to a power tool, and I’d say the #48 was likely the single tool that sealed the hand tool deal with me. Anyway, I marked the faces of all boards to ensure I attacked each with the plane oriented correctly; the #48 is optimized to center on 7/8” and my material is not (exactly) that (and I don’t really care that it isn’t). So setting faces and working the material consistently, to preserve the show face, is important with the #48.
Here are shots of the groove cuts on the rails.
I applied mineral spirits to the end grain and waxed the plane a few times to help things along / get the best results. Also note the clamped ‘sacrificial’ cut-off that prevents severe end grain blow out when pulling this maneuver.
For the inset panel ‘filler’ material, I opted for what was available over making something custom. Plucked some salvaged, beaded poplar type stuff from inventory and cut several pieces to length on the RAS.
Then took passes at the table saw to get ends “thicknessed” to match the frame grooves.
Centered the whole pieces to get consistent ‘partials’ measurement at each end with a pair of dividers. Marked the cut and used a gents dovetail saw to rip it and get each of the two partial end from one board. Nice it worked out that way / saves some material. Used the gents because it’s the thinnest kerf I have. Some thinning on the ends of the bead stock was needed get all things to fit not-too-snug, and that was done w/ a #93 shoulder plane. Applied glue to all frame joints then clamped it up.
Removed clamps and did some smoothing plane work on the face; also cut the excess stile run-off. Final sizing of this roughed panel, as well as joinery to get it matched up to the carcase, is next on the To Do list in my march towards Glue-Up.
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