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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi

I'm making a chest of drawers with 5 drawers out of recycled native (NZ) timber. To have it match existing furniture I've made (in the same room), I want to have the face of the drawers finger jointed to the drawers' sides. The problem is, I don't have enough timber to make 10 full drawer sides (2 per drawer). Ideally I'd make the drawer carcasses out of plywood, however if I use plywood for the sides, you'll see plywood end grain where the face and sides are finger jointed together - not a good look!

So - I was thinking of 'cheating' : making the front 100mm of the drawer sides out of the native timber, and then the back 300mm out of plywood, which would be 14mm thick. I usually do the bottom of the drawer 'floating' in a groove, however perhaps in this instance securing it would be a good idea - to help create some rigidity between the sides, base and carcasse end.

Would the ply to native timber joint be strong enough? I would join the two 'ends' using my domino jointer.

Any other solutions?

Matthew
 

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Never seen it done, but it should work OK, Make sure the sides are perfectly flat when you glue up the end joints. Are you using drawer guides? That will help strengthen across the mortised butt joint.

Herb
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was intending to cut a dado in the drawer sides, and attach a rail onto the main carcass' sides - however cutting a dado in the drawer side will weaken it further - so perhaps best to attach a rail to the drawer side.
 

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Hi Matthew,would it be possible to glue a triangular piece of wood into the corners where the ply & native timber meet.The corners will need strengthening & need bulking-up imo otherwise your 14 mil ply may fall to bits in time Good luck, Jamesjj
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I guess I could do that. My concern is not so much over the strength of the corner joint (finger jointed), but the ability of the two domino reinforced butt jointed 14mm pieces (i.e. native timber to ply) given the pulling forces that are operating inline with the joint itself.
 

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Sounds doable. But if you're worried about it holding up, you could always make a test drawer, using plywood, and some other wood.
 

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How about the idea of cutting the fronts as usual but then taking a piece of the stock, cutting the fingers on the end, gluing it to the front and then cutting it flush to the back of the front after the glue is dried - you could cut the fingers in the stock, cut off a short piece and then cut the next set of fingers, repeat until you have 10 "stubs". Make the drawer complete out of the 14mm plywood and attach the fronts to them. This would also let you cut the dadoes for the carcass rails in the drawer sides as you want, and would also have the plus that the end of the dado wouldn't show. The alternative would be to cut strips the width of the finger joint and glue them into the spaces in the end of the drawer front, kind of tedious and fussy though.
 

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Would the ply to native timber joint be strong enough? I would join the two 'ends' using my domino jointer.

Any other solutions?
1st... are you doing box joints drawer sides to face and not finger joints???
there is a difference...
skip the domino.. the thinner wall material the domino creates may split and make for issues...

take a short piece that you can safely work of your good material and do your BOX joints on one end......



cut a finger joint on the other end and marry/scarf that to the end of a plywood side...



kerf the face/back/sides to accept the plywood drawer bottom..
add a furring strip to the FJ'd sides below the kerf as a stiffener... a ½x½ stiffener and the plywood bottom will add a lot of strength to the sides as will the drawer glides....
 

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I'd make the drawer carcus with box joints out of the ply. I am assuming that the ply is good quality, if not you may have a lot of tearout, in any case you must back up the piece when making the finger joints. Connect the carcus to a drawer front made of native wood. The end grain will show on the top and bottom edges of the drawer, unless you glue on some native stock to the top. If the customer doesn't like the look of ply endgrain (void free of course), let them pay for more native timber. If you are using authentic Baltic Birch or its equivelent, it will be void free and make quite a rigid drawer. Back it up during the cuts.

If you use lower grade ply, don't expect much from the box joint, my last piece of Asian ply was filled with bamboo and splintered beyond usability.

Alternativ: Don't do a finger joint and use one of the drawer lock bits in your router to make a long, interlocking joint with ample glue. I personally like the look or baltic birch type ply with a roundover and nicely finished so the layers show off proudly. It's ply, some edge is going to show no matter what you do. I wouldn't use a Domino for this either.
 

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if it's better for you turn the FJ's to the flat as in FJ molding...



you could spline the pieces together....



since you have a domino...

 

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I am just throwing something out here for you to think about. If the special wood you have is of a darker color what do you think about making the sides out of maple and let the contrasting colors show. Might look good but then you may not like it. Also you could buy more of your special wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the suggestions guys - much appreciated.

I mistakenly called the face-side joint a finger joint : it'll be a box joint. I don't have a finger jointing bit, so will need to join the ply side to rimu (that's the name of the native timber I'm using for the face) using a reinforced butt joint - probably using a domino there (I think I've got a 4mm thick domino, so surely that's ok in 14mm wood??) although if there's a better solution? A halving joint?

Making all ply carcasses, and then putting a rimu face on isn't an option, as that won't allow me to show the box joint I want.

The ply I'm using it's high quality, although I doubt it's as good as Baltic Birch - we can't get that here. However, it is void free.
 

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that's what I just tried to say...
 

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How about the idea of cutting the fronts as usual but then taking a piece of the stock, cutting the fingers on the end, gluing it to the front and then cutting it flush to the back of the front after the glue is dried - you could cut the fingers in the stock, cut off a short piece and then cut the next set of fingers, repeat until you have 10 "stubs". Make the drawer complete out of the 14mm plywood and attach the fronts to them. This would also let you cut the dadoes for the carcass rails in the drawer sides as you want, and would also have the plus that the end of the dado wouldn't show. The alternative would be to cut strips the width of the finger joint and glue them into the spaces in the end of the drawer front, kind of tedious and fussy though.
Sometimes a picture is worth a couple hundred words...............
 

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I was a little short with my last post (needed to go somewhere).

Make a box with box joints all around from good plywood like 1/2" Baltic Birch. Then attach a piece of your good wood to the face side of the box to make the drawer front. It can overlap the drawer opening, be half lapped, or flush with the opening, depending on your choice and the size of the box (needs to be a little shorter or longer depending on the style of the drawer face ). When the drawer is closed, only the good wood will show. When the drawer is partially or fully open, the box joints and plywood sides will be seen. Instead of box joints, they could be dovetails, butt joints or box joints, but for drawer strength, the box joints and dovetails are the strongest here.

I have attached drawer faces to drawer boxes that were built using either dovetail joints or box joints. By attaching a separate drawer front to the pre made drawer box you get a chance to better align the drawer front to the opening. I usually use double sided tape between the box and face board to temporarily secure them, and then pull the drawer open and drive a few screws from the inside to permanently join the box and face. Leave the center area clear of screws so you can drill for the handle, if it is desired. The handle bolts will further secure the drawer box to the drawer face, but you will likely need to purchase longer bolts than provided with the handle. Counter boring the handle holes from the back will allow you to use the supplied bolts, but takes more time. The choice is yours.

Charley
 

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I posted this in another thread... ooops...

build a 4 sided plywood drawer...
add the face w/ box jointed returns in the shape of a U that fits over the plywood drawer/box and hide the ends of the glides...
no butt joints needed...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
More good ideas -thanks guys - I'll run with one of these once I've trialled a few. Will post a pic of it when finished.
 
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