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Discussion Starter #1
Contemplating on building a dresser soon but have a question about the sides. The plan is for there to be 4 "columns and I'm thinking of rabbeting the side panels to fit in a groove along the columns. Is this feasible? Everything I've found through my scouring of the Internet seems to be working with plywood or doesn't give much detail into this area. Being Ill be working with solid glue ups I'm boggled as to what to do with these. Would the grooves and rabbeted panels work?
 

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solid wood glue up vs plywood panel

If you want to use solid wood boards, 3" - 4" wide and glue them together edge to edge THEN you must allow for the panel to expand and contract within the groove AND you must NOT glue it in all the way around. A spot of glue or silicone in the center of the panel, top and bottom is all you can safely do.

A plywood panel on the other hand, can be glued in the groove in several places since it will not expand or contract much if at all. Just remember, wood move across the grain and not down the length, so any restrictions on movement will cause a "fault".

Frame and panel construction requires a groove in all the frame pieces to hold the panels in place OR a small molding on the back side. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Frame and panel wasn't really the look I was going for but if its the best option I could switch. If I go solid panel, what keeps the sides structurally rigid? Extra bracing or maybe the runners could serve the purpose if I mortised them in but not attached to the side panels?
 

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wood sided dresser

Older dressers used wood planks glued together something like this:


Is that what you have in mind?

You will find some useful ideas here:
 

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contemplating on building a dresser soon but have a question about the sides. The plan is for there to be 4 "columns and i'm thinking of rabbeting the side panels to fit in a groove along the columns. Is this feasible? Everything i've found through my scouring of the internet seems to be working with plywood or doesn't give much detail into this area. Being ill be working with solid glue ups i'm boggled as to what to do with these. Would the grooves and rabbeted panels work?

Here is one way to do it. This cabinet is made out of all solid walnut, no plywood. All the book-matched solid panels are "floating" to allow for movement. The first photo shows the floating panel with a maple flange fit into the walnut panel. You can't see it in the photo but I ran the flange long grain to lang grain and short to short to try to keep the movement equal. Seems to be working.

P5010482.jpg

The second photo shows the corner post/legs with all the grooves for the floating panels and the splined miter sliding dovetail rail joint.

P4280473.jpg

Then the floating panel installed into the end of the cabinet.

P5030483.jpg

Then the finished product.

P6060527.jpg

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like I have a few options, thanks guys. However, the dresser was going to be for someone but apparently my price was too high...and trust me, I'm cheap. I'm tempted to bring the price down(which is already close to materials) just because I was excited to build this.
 

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Trust me on this one: Do not bring your price down. That's a bad road to go down. If the price is close to materials anyway then wait till you can afford the materials and build it for yourself or to sell. If you want to have any chance of building fine furniture for money you cannot be the cheap or inexpensive guy. I blatantly tell clients that I'm many times more expensive than other shops that would take the job. There is zero haggling on price. It's this client and their budget that need changing, not your price. Sounds like you are just starting out, which is admittedly a tough place to be. But once you're the cheap guy, you'll always be the cheap guy.


What material did you spec? What is the style and overall dimensions of the piece? How much did you quote? What does the client want? There may be a way to still build a piece for them, and actually make some money.
 

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As a technical note to your original question, yes you need a type of frame and panel construction. I typically use the best looking, widest boards I can for side panels as they are an unbroken highly visible surface. Theres no reason to use 3-4" boards, a 20" panel is going to expand and contract the same amount regardless of the number of boards in it. You should begin to learn how to glue up wide board panels that won't warp anyway, but as a side panel is trapped in a groove, any warping you fail to prevent is held in check. The frame itself can be very unobtrusive, just depends on your design, in this case a drawing or picture would help.
 

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. Theres no reason to use 3-4" boards, a 20" panel is going to expand and contract the same amount regardless of the number of boards in it.
I suggested 3 - 4" boards to avoid the cupping and warping issues with wider stock, rather than the wood movement issue. It depends on the source and width of the wood. It's hard to joint a 10" wide board on a 6" jointer, and it may cup if not well seasoned. It could be resawn into thinner pieces and glued to a plywood panel to increase stability.
 

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Certainly true that you can only use stock as wide as you can flatten, but my point about the boards holds true. The point is you need to learn to make panels that won't cup or warp. If the wood isn't well seasoned, don't use it until it is. After that, there's no excuse for cupping or warping if you handle the material correctly. Not to mention the fact that as I mentioned, the panel is trapped in a groove, it should not be able to warp or cup as it's held on both sides. The pressure of wood warping is not like the near unstoppable force of wood expansion. Too often woodworkers are given these pieces of advice as gospel and will build by them for the rest of their lives. You should compose the panel to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and then treat those boards in such a way that they will not give you any issues. There's virtually no reason to use skinnier boards or alternate end grain etc. Skinny boards are easier to flatten and square, and I suspect that's the origin of the advice. And the expansion rate of the two faces of a board, even flatsawn, are so close that alternating grain patterns makes no sense except possibly on very soft woods...possibly.

Most if not all cupping or warping that occurs after the wood is properly dried is caused by woodworker error. Not letting boards acclimate, taking more material from one side of a board that's not an even MC% all the way through, uneven finishing etc. The obvious exceptions being exterior doors and the like, or extremely thick planks 12/4+. But between 4/4 stock 3"-12" wide? No. Warpage like that is due to uneven releasing of stress or uneven moisture and is easily avoided.
 

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Certainly true that you can only use stock as wide as you can flatten, but my point about the boards holds true. The point is you need to learn to make panels that won't cup or warp. If the wood isn't well seasoned, don't use it until it is. After that, there's no excuse for cupping or warping if you handle the material correctly. Not to mention the fact that as I mentioned, the panel is trapped in a groove, it should not be able to warp or cup as it's held on both sides. The pressure of wood warping is not like the near unstoppable force of wood expansion. Too often woodworkers are given these pieces of advice as gospel and will build by them for the rest of their lives. You should compose the panel to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible, and then treat those boards in such a way that they will not give you any issues. There's virtually no reason to use skinnier boards or alternate end grain etc. Skinny boards are easier to flatten and square, and I suspect that's the origin of the advice. And the expansion rate of the two faces of a board, even flatsawn, are so close that alternating grain patterns makes no sense except possibly on very soft woods...possibly.

Most if not all cupping or warping that occurs after the wood is properly dried is caused by woodworker error. Not letting boards acclimate, taking more material from one side of a board that's not an even MC% all the way through, uneven finishing etc. The obvious exceptions being exterior doors and the like, or extremely thick planks 12/4+. But between 4/4 stock 3"-12" wide? No. Warpage like that is due to uneven releasing of stress or uneven moisture and is easily avoided.
+1. :yes:

"It could be resawn into thinner pieces and glued to a plywood panel to increase stability".

Resawing thinner pieces and gluing to plywood sounds like just veneering the plywood. Depending on how thick the resawn pieces are, there could still be movement issues. The issue of cupping and warping could be a result from improper preparation, which is different than just allowing for expansion and contraction. Might as well just use plywood.





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warping, cupping and wood movement

I can't determine if we are in agreement or not. Definitely not on the use of more narrow boards. I don't work with 20" wide boards, so I plead ignorance there. If I needed a 20" panel or 24" I would build it from narrow boards, either 6" or 8" wide since that's the capacity of my jointers. They also would have been in my shop for at least 1 year, and well seasoned/acclimated. Since they are all 4/4, I would probably resaw them into 1/2" thick, plane them and glue them to a plywood panel.

Otherwise, I would plane them down to 3/4", edge joint and glue them, matching the grain as close as possible to create a one board "look". If it meant sawing some off to get a better grain match, no problem. I would make a rabbet all around to fit into the groove for the legs and rails. I would spot glue in the center top and bottom to allow for expansion across the width.

So that's my take on it. :smile:
 

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I can't determine if we are in agreement or not.
If you stand outside between 9:00PM, and 9:10PM and face East, look up and stare at the handle of the Big Dipper for 10 seconds, and the answer will come to you.:laughing:

Since they are all 4/4, I would probably resaw them into 1/2" thick, plane them and glue them to a plywood panel.
I wouldn't glue ½" solid wood to plywood. IMO, that's still too thick.





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Discussion Starter #15
As for price, I don't think I'll drop it. Like I've always said, I'm not in it to make a profit but I have to pay for these tools somehow. Material was probably gonna be poplar as it and pine and cypress is all my mill usually has. Ply would completely eliminate this issue but I just like using solid glue ups, just a personal preference really. Guess it gives me a chance to learn more as this case shows. Last project it was M&T, this time it was to be dealing with preparing for movement.
 

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I
I wouldn't glue ½" solid wood to plywood. IMO, that's still to thick.
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Quote:
"Since they are all 4/4, I would probably resaw them into 1/2" thick, plane them and glue them to a plywood panel."

If you start with 4/4 and resaw, joint and plane it, you won't end up with 1/2 thick ... to thick? No, just right. :yes: maybe 3/8" or less.
 

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I can't determine if we are in agreement or not. Definitely not on the use of more narrow boards. I don't work with 20" wide boards, so I plead ignorance there.


So that's my take on it. :smile:
Haha, well who knows. I was basically saying, don't design or layout to try to fight warping, just handle the material in such a way that it will not warp. I wouldn't glue the boards to ply either, but we don't all have to build the same way.

I guess it's sort of an issue I always jump on because when I first started I was told to alternate end grain curves, and that wide boards will eventually warp, etc. When I realized this wasn't true and how to prevent it my work got a lot better.
 

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Haha, well who knows. I was basically saying, don't design or layout to try to fight warping, just handle the material in such a way that it will not warp. I wouldn't glue the boards to ply either, but we don't all have to build the same way.

I guess it's sort of an issue I always jump on because when I first started I was told to alternate end grain curves, and that wide boards will eventually warp, etc. When I realized this wasn't true and how to prevent it my work got a lot better.
I am not sure who I am agreeing or disagreeing with at this point but whatever woodworking project you undertake, movement must be allowed for or you could have trouble. Warping is movement and will occur when there are changes in humidity when a panel is "unbalanced". The most blatant misstep in the management of wood warping that I can think of would be to add plywood to one side of a solid wood panel. Please don't do it.

There are some exceptions. If the plywood is of a good quality and fastened securely to a stable substrate then you can get away with fastening veneer up to 1/4" thick. The thicker the veneer the narrower you should make the individual pieces.

I apologize if I'm not explaining this very well.

Bret
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It could bow, but expansion and contraction isn't an issue. It's more stable than solid wood
 
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