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comments (10) October 12th, 2010 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
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Get answers to your design questions. Post them to this blog for a chance to get an answer from one of our experts. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Get answers to your design questions. Post them to this blog for a chance to get an answer from one of our experts.


Designing attractive furniture isn't easy, so it's natural that woodworkers (myself included) get stumped every now and then. Right now, I'm having trouble deciding which boards to use for a bank of small drawers. The bank is about 14 in. high, but all of my Madrone boards are around 9 in. wide and too thin to resaw. I'll end up picking the brain of our art director, Mike Pekovich. With his help, I'm sure I figure out the best solution. And that got me to thinking: Why not offer more design help to our readers? Here's what I can do. Post your questions in the comments section below. I'll look them over and do what I can to help. My hope is to find several that I can send out to our experts (like Michael Fortune, Mike Pekovich, Chris Becksvoort, and Garrett Hack) for answers. I'll then use the question and answer in the Q&A section of Fine Woodworking. So give us your best questions! Here's an example of a past design question that was answered in the magazine.

posted in: blogs, design, furniture, Fine Woodworking, help, Q&A, question

Comments (10)

stevecostain stevecostain writes: Hello,
Last winter I built 8 chairs for my wife and this winter I plan to build a table with 2 leaves. I had originaly planned to build a rectangular table 40" x 54" expandable to 90".
But recently I completed a bed canopy project that required a vacuum press and after gaining a bit of experience with that process I am considering building the tabletop with 2-3" curved sides over 54" and a porportionate amount on the ends.I would build the aprons with a porportionate curve using my vacuum press.
My question is will these chairs "look" right with the table?
I will need to send a picture (don't see a way to do this)

Thanks for listening, Steve Costain
Posted: 10:28 am on November 12th

MKenney MKenney writes: Splinter1,

I checked around with some other folks and I think you're okay laminating another layer onto the store bought top. Here is some advice. First, use the same species. Second, the boards should be approximately the same size. Three, you'll need to figure out some way to get clamping pressure along the entire length of the laminates so that the glue between the layers is tight. I would make cauls to spread pressure. It will take quite a few.

Now that I think about it a bit more, if I were in your position, I might sell the top I have and use the money to make the top I wanted. Much less hassle.

Good luck. Matt
Posted: 2:47 pm on October 14th

Splinter1 Splinter1 writes: Thanks, I really have been putting it off because some say ya and some say no.

Thanks again!
Posted: 4:42 pm on October 12th

MKenney MKenney writes: Splinter1,

Another great question. I think you'd be okay glue up to make the top thicker, but I'll ask around and get some other opinions.

Posted: 2:45 pm on October 12th

Splinter1 Splinter1 writes: I have a question. I am in need (and want) of a new workbench. I love a European style bench but feel a "Roubo" style would suit my work better with the front legs flush with the top. Last spring I gave in and bought a pre-made Hard Maple top: 24" x 60" x 1-3/4" before I decided on the "Roubo". Originally I was going European and adding a wide thick band arround it. Now I am wondering if I could laminate it to make it thicker. The top is of 1-3/4" x 1-3/4" strips of Maple turned so the grain is quartersawn than glued together. My question is; "Can I add the same thing again(glued),under the top to make it thicker?"?? If so it would give it more mass and weight and delete the need for the banding?. Please give me your toughts. I have already spent hard to come-bye cash on the top and vises but can not make up my mind if it would not break itself apart due to wood movement!?.
Posted: 1:56 pm on October 12th

MKenney MKenney writes: Kayaks,

Thanks for the responses. I'll look into it.

Posted: 1:53 pm on October 12th

kayaks kayaks writes: Matt,

There was more than 1 typo in my last comment. The case is going to be 19" deep, not 14". Sorry.

Posted: 12:36 pm on October 12th

kayaks kayaks writes: Matt,

You are correct. The case is 14" deep front to back, and the back wil bbe 1/2" plywood nailed and glued.

Posted: 12:29 pm on October 12th

MKenney MKenney writes: Kayaks,

Good question. Basically, you're asking whether miter joints, reinforced by domino slip tenons, are strong enough to keep the case square, right? The case is 84 in. long and solid wood. How wide (front to back) is it?

Thanks, Matt
Posted: 11:41 am on October 12th

kayaks kayaks writes: Matthew,

I am planning to build an 84" long dresser with 3 rows of drawers flush to the case edges. The case is solid 1" thick walnut and I plan to miter the corners so that no edges are showing. I plan to strengthen and glue the miter joints with with loose tenons ( dominoes) but I am worried that this will not provide enough strength to keep the case square over it's length. There will be one horizontal dust panel and several vertical partitions so I can attach drawer slides. All of the partitions and dust panel will be slip tenoned to allow for expansion. The horizontal dust panel will be dadoes into the case sides, and all the vertical partitions will be screwed into the case and dust panel. There will be 3 sets of short legs, one pair at each end and one pair in the middle screwed to the case bottom. Since I want the drawers to have a tight fit ( allowing for expansion/contraction), the case must be square. Do you think I need to beef up the case construction in the corners to provide more surface to keep the case square? Thanks.

Posted: 11:10 am on October 12th

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