Nailing back to a cabinet
#11
I posted this thread a while ago labeled "Lonnie Bird's Secretary"

I started on mine in Feb. 2012, just getting to the upper case, nearing completion. Providing other things don't pop up with a higher priority. My question is when attaching the back on the case. What have you done to secure the panels and still room for the wood to contract and expand? I'm thinking elongated holes with sheet metal self tapping screws.

Any better ideas? I'm open for suggestions.


I received several suggestions and comments. All appreciated. But I got thinking and probably 12 - 15 years ago I built Norm's Irish Hutch and just nailed the back and haven't had any negative actions from it. If pine doesn't move I don't think walnut will either.

So I'm leaning to doing the same on the secretary.

This darn project keeps getting pushed to the back burner.

Thanks
Jim
Jim
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#12
Not being overly familiar with the design, I'm guessing you are concerned about the back panel itself moving? You could leave 1/16" on each side and I'm sure nails will allow for movement. Sheet metal screws in elongated holes are probably overkill. But they will work.

Another possible solution would be a captured slot on each end. That will cover the gap and you could simply attach with screws in the middle. It doesn't even need to be a concealed slot - surface trim, like that used to hold a glass panel, will work.

For what it's worth, when I was in graduate school they used to do antique shows at the GMU field house once a year or so. As pretty as many of those pieces were, the backs were always a complete mishmash of different pieces, different stains, different species. So I imagine anything you've proposed will be overengineered perfection compared to "true to the period" style.
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#13
(01-15-2022, 09:16 AM)FS7 Wrote: For what it's worth, when I was in graduate school they used to do antique shows at the GMU field house once a year or so. As pretty as many of those pieces were, the backs were always a complete mishmash of different pieces, different stains, different species. So I imagine anything you've proposed will be overengineered perfection compared to "true to the period" style.

Interesting. Thanks for posting

Jim
Jim
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#14
I almost never nail things because it's more irreversible than using a screw.  But either would work for the back boards.  When I've done cabinet backs with boards I either use a T&G or splines to avoid visible gaps and leave 1/16" between the boards.  I've done this with white oak without an issue so you should be fine with walnut.  

John
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#15
I’d use ***** lap or separate bead boards. You could use 1 screw in each board at top and bottom of the board but place it in the middle of the board so each board can move left and right with expansion and contraction. I don’t think elongated holes will be necessary but I would leave some room on each carcass side of the rabbet for movement. I would not use sheet metal screws if it were mine. A nice, small straight slot brass screw—countersunk, wouldn’t detract like a sheet metal screw. I’d nail it before SM screws.


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#16
Agree with separate boards, I use lap jointing along length & scraped in bead, use real small gaps & nails. cute trick I picked up from Jeff Headley. standard flat head nail touched to grinder or belt sander (grind sides of round head flat, when hammered in, looks like vintage cut nail, reveal showing skinny rectangle.
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#17
I assume that you are not restoring an antique, but building something new. If so, I like using a plywood back housed snugly in rabbets. With this, you don't need to be concerned with seasonal movement, the plywood will add stiffness to the piece, and nails or screws will work just fine. You could even glue it if you wish (I have done this when the back will be exposed).
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#18
Made shiplap for the back of my handtool cabi et, hard to see, but I cut a small 45° chamfer on the corners to dress it up.

Ed

   
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#19
I used shiplap for my tool cabinet. For utility shop cabinets, I've used stapled 1/4" ply. Tongue & groove boards could also work, given you make the grooves a bit deeper than the tongues to allow for expansion. Any nails used should be in the middle of the board. If you make the boards narrow enough, you won't need more than one nail on the top and one nail on the bottom.

I have a tool cabinet I made from cherry. I used poplar for the drawers with spalted maple drawer fronts applied to the poplar drawer carcase. I made the tool cabinet in the high desert of southern California. I moved to St. Louis for a couple of years. When I unpacked the tool cabinet, my drawers were solidly stuck. It never occurred to me I'd move to a different climate where humidity would cause expansion. Fortunately, I had the shiplap back boards, so it was easy enough to remove the back and persuade the drawers out with a mallet. I ended up planing the drawers to provide enough clearance.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill
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#20
You want it the easy way or the hard way, and that's the question to answer.

Walnut ply or ply stained walnut as Willyou said if you don't want to see more delay.

Shiplap etc. if you want a more fancy back.

Nails are fine with ply.

Simon
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