The Wine Sideboard – Casework and Drawer Design Poll

Dry-fit casework -Front

Dry-fit of Carcass

A quick update on progress on the Wine Sideboard I presented a few days ago. In the last 4 days, the rough lumber was milled, dried overnight, and then re-milled to near-final dimensions. The parts were laid out and panels were glued-up for the ends, center panel and bottom. The top will be purchased later, since the original piece intended for the top ended up getting used for thinner panels after  a split developed after resawing it.

The case construction began with the dadoes in the sides to accept the bottom panel, then the top rails were cut to length and dovetailed to keep the ends from pulling apart.  The rear has one larger dovetail, while I cut two smaller tails in the front rail (not shown). The top rails will also be used to fasten the top, using countersunk screws in the front, and countersunk screws in slots in the back rail to accommodate seasonal movement in the top .  This ‘shouldn’t’ be necessary, since the top, sides and rails will move together since the grains all run lengthwise, but I’ll likely do it to be sure.

top rails dovetailed to case

top rails, dovetailed to case

In the back, the case sides and back are rabbeted for 1/2″ hardwood plywood, while the top rail, rear rail from the web frame and the center divider are set in flush to the inside edge of the rabbet so the back will butt against them (and may be fastened, nails? screws?)

Web Frame, Dryfit, dovetailed top rails

Dovetailed top rails, rabbet for back on bottom and sides

The web frame, which will support the drawers, and holds the top of the center divider, is assembled with mortise and tenons, to be glued in the front rail, but floating in the rear, and the runners sit in dadoes in the side panels, and will float as well.  The kickers for the drawers will be added after the face frame is installed since they will sit lower than the top rails. (this is subject to change, I haven’t committed to NOT doing it now…yet)

Ganged Front Scallops and template

Ganged Front Scallops and scallop template

The last part of the carcass that MUST be built prior to starting assembly are the scallops.  I started bymaking a template (both to use to pattern route the final shape repeatably, and to use to test the bottle spacing and clearances). To simplify, I chose to build the full length, as if they would span the full width of the case, then cut them in half, so they can be installed individually into each side of the case.

The scallops will be tenoned and mortises will be let into the sides and center divider and the scallops sandwiched between the end and center panels, on both sides of the center divider.  The bottom scallops will be different than the upper three, to allow for storage of Magnum and non-standard bottles, so will have slightly wider bottle spacing, and will hold fewer bottles as a result.  That template has yet to be cut (anyone have some magnum bottles I can use to test?)

To make these, I found the quickest way would be to gang all like parts together, mark them using the template, rough cut them on the bandsaw and then use the template and a bearing-guided pattern bit to clean the cuts and make them identical.  In a test of this method, I noted that this oak tended to tear out, so the direction and aggressiveness of cut and will be critical.

Rough cut Scallops

rough cut scallops

Finally, before I get much further, I need to finalize some design decisions.  Specifically, I need to determine whether to make the drawer fronts using continuous grain (the top board, below) or bookmatched, either from the plainsawn center of the board (the two boards below) or the riftsawn portions (top or bottom, behind).  The approximate height needed is that of the front board (the space above the web frame and below the top rail in the first photo below).

I won’t say which way I’m leaning, but please VOTE HERE or  you can do so below, and/or use the comment/reply form below.

Drawer design choices

Drawer Design Choices: continuous grain (top) or bookmatched (bottom) to fit in the space below. The bookmatch could be cut in the plainsawn area or from the riftsawn area of the large boards.

Drawer Front Design Choices
Another look…

Click the Images for a closer view:

About Nick

Nick Roulleau is founder, craftsman, designer, joiner, finisher, floor-sweep and all of the other roles at Mansfield Fine Furniture. A woodworker for more than a decade, Nick started the company with the goal of filling the need for heirloom-quality furniture hand-made from premium woods. Every piece is designed to suit the customer's needs and desires, hand-picking each piece of wood, and built one piece at a time, using both modern and centuries-old traditional methods to yield furniture to last for generations.