Hypothetical question

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Forum topic by xhandal posted 05-05-2009 07:39 PM 924 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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9 posts in 2941 days

05-05-2009 07:39 PM

Background: I have been asked to build a desk for some married friends. The know of my lack of practice and don’t care. They are willing to buy the lumber, and I’m thinking of using Cedar. Outside of the top of the desk and the posts that support it, I will be using 1” lumber. He wants it in the shape of the Chiefs Arrowhead.

I am curious about the need for glue in a couple areas. Where the side and back panels will sit in my three supporting posts, I am going to use blind mortises and tenons. I am going to use solid lumber construction for the panels and am thinking about tongue and grove to keep the individual boards that make up the panel together. Question is, would you advise gluing the two individual boards together at the tongue and grove and would you use glue on the tenons? Would it be possible to let the lumber float? I am worried about shrink/swell as I live in Southwest Missouri and the humidity can be a bear. I am trying not to use any metal in the entire desk except for the keyboard tray and a set of door hinges.

Ideal final dimentions for the panels are 13”x35.25”x 1” and 22”x21”x1”. I plan on using 1”x8” lumber to make these panels.

Thanks for your advice.

-- No Farmers = No Food

2 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2995 days

#1 posted 05-05-2009 08:10 PM

Hey xhandel
All things considered not being able to see your design all I can do is generalize. Most projects use glue the types that don’t use glue usually have pegs of some sort holding it together. The main thing besides the type of joinery is having a cross grain problem because wood expands and contract with a change in humidity. Some cross gluing goes on were tenons are glued into mortises but usually that’s not a problem unless the area is large like that of a bread board end. There are ways to help avoid problems even with bread boards. That said in general a desk many times has frame and panel construction were there are picture frame type edges and a solid or plywood as a panel that is not glued in the middle of the frame. If you are using cedar you will have relatively soft wood therefore will not be as strong as an oak or other woods so you should be careful how much wood is left around your mortise and not have to thin of tenon. As far as having individual t & g boards with out glue in your frame and panel it should not be a problem depending on your design. One other area were wood movement can be a problem is how you attach the top ,it should be connected with hardware such as figure 8s or wood tongs that fit in a groove in your apron and or panels. There are also ways such as sliding dovetails the can accomplish the same task. Hope this helps

-- Custom furniture

View kimball's profile


323 posts in 2715 days

#2 posted 05-28-2009 06:09 PM

Jim is sopt on. On the cynical side, Just make it divisable by 2.

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