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View SouthpawCA's profile

What is a French Bottom

by SouthpawCA
posted 1232 days ago


26 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1279 posts in 1392 days


#1 posted 1232 days ago

Don, I am stumped, never heard that one. I ll keep an eye on this one though as now I am curious.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7595 posts in 2635 days


#2 posted 1232 days ago

I really don’t know.. but, I will make a guess…

Bottom is solid wood say 1/2”... must fir into 1/4” groove… bottom SIDES are planed (cut) like a door panel so they will fit into the 1/4” groove.

Just a guess…

Edit: After I read the following reply & read the PDF file, , I realized that I was describing the Rounded Over Slip…
My guess was one of the styles of Slips… French Bottom is new to me… though…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Loren's profile

Loren

7151 posts in 2231 days


#3 posted 1232 days ago

View WhyDi's profile

WhyDi

5 posts in 1353 days


#4 posted 1231 days ago

Hi All,

This thread could be a good way of introducing myself on the forum. In short I am a hobbyist woodworker living in the EU milling wood with a European style combination machine. “French Bottom” probably refers to a traditional way of making drawers which means hand making opposed to the way I machine drawers nowadays.
The face with its two adjacent sides are stuck (1) and grooved so that accommodating a free bottom(2) sliding in the three grooves then a nailed back(3) ending at the underneath of the groove locks the bottom(4) that may easily be replaced as needed.

Best Regards

-- I Tinker With My Life Too

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1698 days


#5 posted 1231 days ago

as I knowing a french bottom
is an exstra bottom inside were there has been traced around every single tool and cut out
so they have there own little compartment and stay in place and you can always see if one missing

but I can be wrong as usual

take care
Dennis

View levan's profile

levan

391 posts in 1562 days


#6 posted 1231 days ago

Good one Steve I agree

-- Lynn "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View Loren's profile

Loren

7151 posts in 2231 days


#7 posted 1231 days ago

A solid wood drawer bottom expands and contracts, so it should be
anchored to the front groove in some way (a nail works). The back
of the drawer is left short and doesn’t capture the botton, which
moves in and out at the back with the weather.

With plywood drawer bottoms, you can glue ‘em, nail ‘em all around -
doesn’t matter because they don’t move much at all.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1741 days


#8 posted 1231 days ago

I prefer Sophie Marceau for my French bottom. :)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

441 posts in 1344 days


#9 posted 1231 days ago

I wasn’t interested in a French bottom, but I just had to read this as it sounded so risque.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1276 days


#10 posted 1231 days ago

I built what a friend described as a “French bottom” in the chisel chest in my projects section (but I can’t recall if I showed a photo of the drawers). I didn’t know why he descibed it as such and to be honest, I’m not even sure if he was correct (he likes Guiness and had really been liking it when he commented). I did exactly what’s described by WhyDi above but I pinned the drawer in the rear within a longitudinally oriented slot (to allow for movement). I glued the front of the drawer bottom in the center only. So, I guess I did the exact opposite of what Loren describes. As usual, his advice is better, as I had to move the anchoring pin foreward during a shrinking season to prevent a small gap in the drawer front. Up to then (for some reason), I thought French bottom meant chamfering solid drawer bottoms to fit into the dados, a look I really admire.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15621 posts in 2801 days


#11 posted 1231 days ago

Bardot. Best French bottom ever.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View dmorrison's profile

dmorrison

145 posts in 1845 days


#12 posted 1231 days ago

Fine Woodworking Magazine describes it as solid wood bottom with grain running parallel to the drawer front and inserted into groves on the side frames. The article shows a diagram. The best way to describe it is a raised panel inserted into a frame, actually just the sides of the raised panel are in the “frame”. The frame is attached to the side of the inside bottom of the drawer. The front of the drawer is grooved to accept the bottom and the back lays just at the bottom of the rear drawer section.
Fine Woodworking issue #9

So how do I attach a photobucket picture so it displays as a normal size so you can see it. I tried and it was very small.

Dave

View dmorrison's profile

dmorrison

145 posts in 1845 days


#13 posted 1231 days ago

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1816 days


#14 posted 1231 days ago

Pictures are worth everything! Thanks Dave, WhyDi, and of course CharlieM (how old is she now – lol) The reason I asked is because I read on WoodTreks that a french bottom can be used to conceal the dado on a drawer if not using a half blind.

I was thinking of using finger joints and actually made 2 drawers, one with the dado showing in the front and one on the side. An “Oh Crap” moment. But then tried to use something I found in Wood – Make and Mount Super-Simple Drawers. These had to have a false front which didn’t look as good for what I was doing, plus that little nub where the 2 dadoes cross broke off in on the the sides.

I’ll stick to the tried and true half blind.

-- Don

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14548 posts in 2259 days


#15 posted 1231 days ago

Pushin 80 http://www.nresimleri.com/511_Brigitte-Bardot/

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14548 posts in 2259 days


#16 posted 1231 days ago

I don’t know why yoiu couldn’t do French Bottoms with false fronts, half blinds or any ol’ way you built the rest of the drawer.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5350 posts in 1958 days


#17 posted 1231 days ago

I believe the correct term is “derrière”.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View WhyDi's profile

WhyDi

5 posts in 1353 days


#18 posted 1230 days ago

Hi,

Ho yes SouthpawCA, pictures are worth everything and I would like to thank JoeLyddon, Dennisgrosen, Loren, Bertha and of course Dmorisson for their messages. Although I never made such work I roughly knew what was the traditional way of making that kind of drawer but I now know the details :) . That method sounds a bit tortuous nowadays but I enjoyed reading your comments.
With that said I wondered if some of you made their drawers with finger-joints and mostly how do you deal with the groove along the four sides in such context ? Actually I need to machine two sides with dropping-on operations so that concealing the end grooves. what is your way ?

Best Regards

-- I Tinker With My Life Too

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1816 days


#19 posted 1230 days ago

WhyDi … On the drawer where the dado showed through the front I milled up a piece to plug up the hole. It worked just OK – the difference in grain pattern was evident even though I really tried to match grain. The 2nd drawer where the hole showed up on the side was a test to see if the hole really mattered – it did. Consequently, for joinery like this the next time I’ll be using a router and stop just before I hit the end. OR, try this french bottom technique.

As I’m writing this I’m thinking (and it hurts), why have the back of the drawer open at all? Why not mill up 4 (or even just 2 on opposite sides) – 1/2” x 1/2” pieces with a 1/4” (or whatever to exactly match the material used for the base) rabbet and glue those to the inside of the drawer and then glue in the bottom which would have to be ply or some other stable material if glued.

That method, though a bit more work, would definitely save a finger jointed drawer.

Thoughts???

-- Don

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1276 days


#20 posted 1230 days ago

Now I understand! I really like the design & plan to use it on some nightstands I’m working on. I’ll give full credit to Southpaw and the LJ gang when I’m bragging about my French Bottom. In response to above, I’ve always used my modified French Bottom (I’ll call it a Cajun French Bottom in honor of my 15 years in Louisiana) so that I could easily remove the drawer bottom if damaged (I tend to buy leaky ink pens, it appears). I always just stopped the bottom dado short of the front dovetails. If I was using a router plane, it was easy. If I was using a router, I’d just finish it up with a router plane. Thanks for this great post!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14548 posts in 2259 days


#21 posted 1230 days ago

SouthpawCA, A plywood bottom wouldn’t be a French Bottom with the cross grain expanding out the back end of the drawer. Lots of ways to make drawers, but only one French Bottom; well, 2 according to Charlie and I tend to agree with Charlie :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1816 days


#22 posted 1230 days ago

Topamax, I realize what I’m doing is a variation of a french bottom and may not even be a french bottom once I’m thru with it. I just wanted to know what it was because I heard it was a way to get around having the dado appear in the front or the sides when using some joinery like finger joints. Especially when the finger joints are 1/8”. Heck, the bottom of the drawers I’m making are going to be 1/4” hardboard or MDF because of the size 24” x 33”.

However, even if I were making smaller drawers using any type of joinery, I think it would be cool to have a contrasting wood surrounding the base of the drawer to add some interest even inside the drawer. I’m not getting all hung up on the terminology, I just want to finish these darn drawers.

-- Don

View Gofor's profile

Gofor

470 posts in 2370 days


#23 posted 1230 days ago

The only time I have heard the term, it was used in the manner that Dennisgrosen said: profiled to set objects into. Andy Rae uses the term “French-fitted drawer” in “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture &Cabinet Construction” to describe an overlay with profiles cut in it (can be felt covered) that lays over the drawer bottom. He describes the actual bottom extending under the back for expansion/contraction as “basic drawer anatomy”.

Go

-- Go http://ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=730

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1816 days


#24 posted 1230 days ago

I have that same book. Usually it’s my go-to book for things like this.

-- Don

View WhyDi's profile

WhyDi

5 posts in 1353 days


#25 posted 1228 days ago

Hi,

Nothing new in the small world of woodworking whatever side of the Atlantic ocean and filling the end groove with a milled piece just works fine. It looks like the right way of making “French bottom” is not fixed and I like such versatile definition. May be I will experiment soon ! thanks for such interesting and detailed replies.

Best Regards

-- I Tinker With My Life Too

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

271 posts in 1432 days


#26 posted 1228 days ago

I was hoping to find a witticism from Grumpy

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