Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Re: Quartersawn drawer sides
Response To:
Quartersawn drawer sides ()

Sgian Dubh
Wiley, dovetailing tangentially sawn fronts to quarter sawn sides can lead to significant discrepancies in the shrinkage factors. If the drawer is tall the differential shrinkage between the side and front could, in theory, cause splitting and other problems in the side pieces when the front swells. In practice I’ve not come across this setback with my own work, but I have seen antiques where failures of one sort or another have occurred.

In the UK quarter sawn oak is a traditional material for drawer sides, as Bill Tindall and others have mentioned. Teamed with tangentially sawn American mahogany fronts the shrinkage factors for both are about the same, ie, from 30%- 0% MC in both timbers, 5.3% shrinkage for radially sawn English oak and 5.1% for tangentially sawn mahogany. It’s worth considering these shrinkage factors when you’re making choices about your drawer making material, especially if the drawers are tall. Slainte.

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