I'm building a cedar chest. I have all the glue ups done, the panels completed and have already attached the front and back to the ends using locked rabbet joints. I would like some advise on attaching the bottom. Since there could be some wood movement across the bottom, I didn't think it would be a good idea to rabbet the bottom and glue it to the front/back/ends. If there is significant wood movement it could potentially break the side to end corner joints? What about using wire brads? Another idea would be to drill or rout out some elongated holes in the bottom and then use screws? Am I making this way more complicated than it really is?
John in Arizona (temp here is now reduced to a slow simmer
Usually, the bottom panel sits loose (i.e. not glued) in dados that run around the inside perimeter of the side panels and is installed during the glue up. Since youv'e already glued the sides together, options are limtied. You do want the bottom to float to prevent what you've described. Option 1
Add cleats at the bottom of the sides (on the inside). Then do one of the following:
(a) On the bottom panel, add a slotted hole at the center of each edge. Slots should be oriented perpendicular to the edge. At the 4 corners, add an oversized hole. Use oversized pan head screws in each of the 8 holes, or a regular head screw with a fender washer.
(b) Don't put any holes in the bottom panel. Drop it in and secure with 1/4" x 1" trim at the bottom (on top of the panel). Fasten trim only to sides. Option 2
Using a router, cut a rabbit at the bottom of the sides (cut from bottom of chest on the inside). You will need to temporarily clamp something to the sides to give the router some stability. This will need to be a realatively deep cut using a rabbiting bit. You'll be using it like an end mill (differently than it was intended) but it should work. This cut should be at least 1-1/2" deep (assuming 1/2" thick bottom). Drop bottom in and then add cleats around perimeter. Fasten cleats only to the sides. Option 3
Any of the above with modifications (e.g. rabbit the edges of the bottom panel).