Author Topic: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest  (Read 7978 times)

rococojo

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The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« on: October 10, 2008, 11:38:58 AM »
Question,How would the top of the chest in the attached picture been made? The chest is 68" tall so I assume it would be visible.
On a period chest, (68" tall, for example), The sides are carried through by 2" at the top.
The top carcass is housed to the sides, with a staggered blind ¾’long mortise joint.
 A front & back insert pieces is mortised at both ends, then fixed with screwed to the carcase.
 The sides are then housed into the top board, (just as top carcass is housed to the sides)
 It having a 2" overhangs to front & ends, which is then molded.
 After gluing up.
 A 1-1/2" concaved mould is run around the top edge, and fixed with cut brads, on the concave.
 Note: The concave of mould being veneered to hide the fixing brads, and add decoration.

« Last Edit: December 22, 2008, 07:28:52 PM by rococojo »

Adam Cherubini

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a pioriod chest
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 12:09:04 PM »
Jo,

Having a bit of a language problem.  Are you asking us or telling us?  And not sure what you mean when you say "housed" in this instance.

Pieces I've seen that look like this are usually a single carcass.  Grain runs vertically on the sides.  The top and bottom join the sides with dovetails joints.  Bottom will alwasy be through dovetails concealed by the base molding.  This sometimes necessitates a filler piece to rise the lowest drawer above the molding.

The top is sometimes through dovetails, sometimes half blinds.  I seem to think the through dt's are a Chester County PA  practice.  In Philly, halfblinds would be more typical. 

The drawer dividers were attached with sliding dt's into the carcass sides.  The corners were sawn out of them and the corner column and sometimes a filler piece was added there.  This varies in Philadelphia pieces I have looked at. 

I hope I am answering the question you are asking.  There may be an exploded view of a chest like this in Jeff Greene's fine book "American Furniture of the Eighteenth Century"

Cheers

Adam

rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a pioriod chest
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 01:47:58 PM »
Hi Adam, the housed or Housing Joint = a Trenched Joint with short a Tennon added, I was replying to an earlier post? That was asking how the top would be fixed secretly,(No nails) I was stating my way of Cabinetry,this is how I would do, to achieve this goal, if one asks for an answer, I try to answer wisely, not Tell, just Inform, sorry if I offended. Whilst you are correct with Ordinary carcase work, dovetails at all corners, trenched in shelves (or Housed) etc.
 but how do you secretly fix your Top as shown in the example.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 01:52:37 PM by rococojo »

MikeWenzloff

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a pioriod chest
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 02:48:51 PM »
You ask "How..." and if you would be asking me, it would be with either through or HB DTs.

I think a question is *why* attach the top "secretly"? Doesn't seem to have been done often in the period from what I have seen. I have seen some where a stopped sliding DT was used. I doubt unless I was attempting to replicate a certain piece that way that I would bother doing it that way.

I think for myself, the same goes for the trenched/stub tenon idea. Unless I was replicating a piece made thatta way. I wouldn't do it.

Here's why. I think the top would have zero (or little) attachment strength, being utterly dependent upon the glue bond. Once the glue begins to embrittle (assuming hide glue but even modern glues) then the top would be left to separate or break further away fromt he sides due to seasonal warpage.

Do you have period examples that used trenched tenons? Or is this theoretical?

Take care, Mike

rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 07:27:50 PM »
This is the question?
If the plan states that the top is on view (polished), as this one indicates. Then that is a very good reason for constructing it in this way, No other reason.
A fault thread can be found with most things, as the maker the decision is with you, which Joints are used, the original poster said how was it done?
 Just take for example?
 A secret slot screw joint? (H in attachment) that is used, so no visible fixings are showing, it may twist? It will usually, but we have to keep the customer happy. End
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 07:57:25 PM by rococojo »

rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 08:30:35 PM »

Hi Mike, I cannot take any credit for the design of this joint, I attach a design of a stopped end (B left) the joint follows this example.
 Just a thought! If I needed more strength, (glue failure), I most probably would: Fox Wedge, the front and back tennon’s.

MikeWenzloff

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2008, 12:31:44 AM »
Hi Rococojo,

Yep, if a plan calls for it or one can see a piece that does not have obvious through joinery then there is a need.

It seems to me that sliding DTs would be the most obvious means for a non-through joint in lieu of an example built using other means.

I think the examples are not typically used for joining a top to carcass sides. I hesitate to say they were never used as Scandanavian work of at least the late 1800s and early 1900s Modern furniture did used both rebated tenons and slotted screw joins for tops to carcasses.

Just uncertain English furniture of earlier periods would have been made that way.

I have made a few drinks cabinets using tenoned rebates. These were all early Scandanavian designs. I never did trust the original means (the rebated tenons) and so fox wedged a couple. Pretty fussy means and obviously one has only a single chance to put it together. I sweated a lot during glue up.

Other Scandanavians used sliding DTs in the early 1900s and that was the method I used even when the original didn't. A much better connection. Easier in the long run to make a stopped sliding DT.

Krenov used the rebate and tenon method on a couple pieces iirc. At least a few early students of his did. But the scale of the pieces is much smaller.

Take care, Mike

rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2008, 03:48:44 AM »
Mike, This is where you and I differ somewhat, you agree if a plan states, its made  that way? Well that is the only correct solution? If you agree it’s correct.
 Other wise a adjustment is required to the plan.
 Now it seems to me, you’re a follow-me-leader, if you are copying an example. Well I stand on my own on this.
 Not if it’s incorrect.
 I ask of advice if its need, then move forward,and tweek as I go.
 You also mention Mike the Scandanavians quite frequently, well this design is French inspired.
 I as Chippendale did in his day, take the good & try to make it better (if possible) in my day.
No one give any praise at first? it has to be won.
 Chippendale’s workshop was torched in 1755, but he stood tall, and collected his witt's, believing his day would come; otherwise there was no point. 


MikeWenzloff

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 06:21:07 AM »
I think that while I am more than willing to copy dead guy's stuff, there were certain things I chose not to do something as they did because I did not trust their method.

In Scan stuff, there is some things built cross-grained, for example. Weak and prone to breaking. Those things I chose to make differently--as did some of their peers. I do not consider changing something inherently wrong like this incorrect when others of the same period did it "better." Yes, it is "wrong" in the sense the piece I chose to replicate did it another way. But it wasn't "wrong" in the sense I chose another more appropriate means to accomplish the same design aesthetic.

I have a couple books of furniture made in the southern US that show tops that were doweled to the carcass sides. Most all in these books constructed that way had tops that had cupped and showed gaps at the join. I plan on someday making a couple of those pieces. I won't copy their method of top attachment. I also do not feel my change will be inauthentic to the period as other pieces accomplish this join elsehow. It is inauthentic to the particular pieces, I admit that. That is a change I will gladly accept any criticism over.

Should I even build a Chippendale or French piece that shows a rebated/tenoned top/carcass join, I would still choose a different means of attaching the top. I don't mind making something better than dead guys.

All the best.

Mike

rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2008, 06:56:22 PM »
Hi Mike, you eco my feelings exactly with your common sense approach, but the question I was answering in this new post, was how that top was secretly fixed in his photo, as it was not apparent, and no x-ray available.True there are other joint that could be used, other my example, but I picked the most obvious for that, Period, Day (The Mortise & Tennon joint). That was not to state another way could not be used? Havens-for- bid.

All my best
Joseph

« Last Edit: October 11, 2008, 07:00:48 PM by rococojo »

MikeWenzloff

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2008, 07:32:57 PM »
Hi Joseph--your last post is the most clear as to the *Why* of the original question and that there is an example. Isn't communication over the internet great?!

Still don't know what original piece we are attempting to discuss. If it is the Penn. chest in your first post, there is no way of telling from the photo as to its construction.

The molding is applied. If one didn't want through DTs to show on such a short piece, one would have used half-blind DTs and the molding would cover them on the sides. From the few books I have on the period it seems that is the primary way it would have been done.

From the back, the only place one could see the join of the top and sides, it would mearly look as if they were butt jointed. Unless the side molding was removed one could not determing whether the construction is as you propose or if they were HB DTs.

Interesting to think about. Thank you for posting.

Take care, Mike

msiemsen

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2008, 09:01:54 PM »
My experience with a Pennsylvania Chest like the one in the photo is the same as Adam's. All the ones I have seen were dovetailed top and bottom and the dovetails hidden by the moldings. I would be very surprised to see it done any other way on a period piece from that area.
Mike
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rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2008, 04:41:23 AM »
Mike + Mike, are you looking at this image?or your memory of this Pennsylvania Chest,  This top board is 7/8" thick,and is over shooting the ends by 2+" at each end, so there is NO way any kind of Dovetail Known to man(or woman) That could be used.

 End  Joseph

MikeWenzloff

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2008, 06:13:35 AM »
What appears like overhang is the applied molding.  All of it. At least on a period example.

I don't know who made the one in the picture. Did you? Or is a picture of a period one or one made by a contemporary maker?

If this wasn't made by you using the construction you are advancing here, and if you have another picture of the 3/4 view or full-side view, I think you'll find the molding on the sides show face grain, not end-grain. Therefore it would prove it is applied molding.

Take care, Mike


rococojo

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Re: The secret jointing of the Top of a period chest
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2008, 11:27:15 AM »
Mike, first I didn’t make this piece, so I attach a sketch, of constructing this my way, remembering the top is polished, no apply molding would be polished? As a crack would appear front & 2 ends, unless it was veneered to mask the joint’s, but that would be bad design in my book. I leave deliberately the way its screwed or doweled together, Because that is down to each maker?