LumberJocks

All Replies on What is a French Bottom

  • Advertise with us
View SouthpawCA's profile

What is a French Bottom

by SouthpawCA
posted 02-24-2011 06:04 AM


26 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1311 posts in 1531 days


#1 posted 02-24-2011 06:30 AM

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

7877 posts in 2774 days


#2 posted 02-24-2011 06:40 AM

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

7809 posts in 2370 days


#3 posted 02-24-2011 06:42 AM

View WhyDi's profile

WhyDi

5 posts in 1492 days


#4 posted 02-24-2011 03:59 PM

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 1837 days


#5 posted 02-24-2011 04:15 PM

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

421 posts in 1701 days


#6 posted 02-24-2011 06:00 PM

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

7809 posts in 2370 days


#7 posted 02-24-2011 06:49 PM

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.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1880 days


#8 posted 02-24-2011 07:23 PM

I prefer Sophie Marceau for my French bottom. :)

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

503 posts in 1483 days


#9 posted 02-24-2011 09:25 PM

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 1415 days


#10 posted 02-24-2011 10:14 PM

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

15714 posts in 2940 days


#11 posted 02-24-2011 10:54 PM

Bardot. Best French bottom ever.

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

View dmorrison's profile

dmorrison

146 posts in 1984 days


#12 posted 02-25-2011 01:22 AM

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

146 posts in 1984 days


#13 posted 02-25-2011 01:36 AM

View SouthpawCA's profile

SouthpawCA

254 posts in 1955 days


#14 posted 02-25-2011 02:40 AM

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

15021 posts in 2398 days


#15 posted 02-25-2011 03:47 AM

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

15021 posts in 2398 days


#16 posted 02-25-2011 03:49 AM

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

5561 posts in 2097 days


#17 posted 02-25-2011 01:15 PM

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 1492 days


#18 posted 02-25-2011 04:52 PM

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 1955 days


#19 posted 02-25-2011 06:29 PM

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 1415 days


#20 posted 02-25-2011 06:41 PM

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

15021 posts in 2398 days


#21 posted 02-25-2011 11:10 PM

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 1955 days


#22 posted 02-26-2011 12:17 AM

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 2509 days


#23 posted 02-26-2011 03:47 AM

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 1955 days


#24 posted 02-26-2011 05:47 AM

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 1492 days


#25 posted 02-27-2011 03:36 PM

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

388 posts in 1571 days


#26 posted 02-27-2011 04:07 PM

I was hoping to find a witticism from Grumpy

-- Sssshhhh, I'm pretending to be working

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase