A Square Deal (23)

Pillow blocks mortised and fitted to the corners:

The dust panel is not installed, just sitting there to get a visual.

Close ups of the pillow block corners:



And 4:

Tomorrow will be consumed with fitting the dust panels to the pillow blocks, and roughing out drawer parts. Here are a couple of views of the drawer, which is my adaptation of the NK style into a no-glue format:

The runners are to be lignum vitae.

The front features wedged through tenons:

I’m still ironing out the details of the drawer runner supports – should be done in another hour or two.

All for today, thanks for your visit! On to post 24 if you dare!

3 Replies to “A Square Deal (23)”

  1. Looking great! The wedged through-M&T are very unique compared to the usual dovetails. What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of each, just aesthetic? Also I'm not familiar, what is NK style?

  2. Siavosh,

    great to receive your comment and questions. I covered the topic of NK drawers a while back in a post in the Mizuya design series (https://thecarpentryway.blog/2012/11/mizuya-5.html). The NK method involves attaching an L-shaped runner to the lower outside of the drawer, which holds the side of the drawer away from the carcase, reducing friction, and improves the durability of the drawer by virtue of a larger wearing surface under the drawer side. They are generally made as a glued-up construction, as are virtually all drawers I have come across.

    I wanted to see if it were possible to design a sturdy and long-wearing drawer which could be put together with joinery only, and use no glue. That is the reason for the through tenons instead of the dovetails.

    I would in fact prefer not to use through tenons on the drawer front, however the alternatives – sliding dovetail or blind wedged 'hell' tenons – have other drawbacks I chose to avoid. I think the design I have come up with should work well. The drawer itself will not be demountable like the rest of the side table, given the wedged through tenons, so it falls one step short of what I feel is the ultimate in construction, however it gets most of the way there.

    I seek to build without metal fasteners or glue in emulation of classic Ming Chinese furniture, which was joined using extremely hard woods, and was often demountable for easy transport. By 'without' I mean 'as little as practically possible'. There are places where a screw or bolt is the sensible choice.

    Let's face it, modern civilization is simply not possible without glue and metal fasteners. That said, it's not that I think glue or metal fasteners are evil and should be avoided – they are wondrous things in their own right – however if the Chinese furniture makers of the 16th and 17th centuries could make their enduring masterpieces without glue or screws (probably by necessity more than anything else), then I want to explore just what is possible in that regard. From a perspective of 'how to make things', taking away a reliance upon glue and screws forces one to improve their joinery, and to consider it much more carefully.

    If you choose not to use glue it does narrow down options in joinery, and does restrict the possibilities for artistic expression, however I accept that tradeoff. I believe beautiful things can be made with traditional time-tested methods.


  3. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great response. I'd never seen NK drawers before, love seeing different solutions to common problems.

    I totally agree with you on the many benefits of pursuing 'pure' but pragmatic joinery. I'm glad to see there are still clients that appreciate these efforts, above and beyond the basic dovetails that sometimes seem to be considered the end-all of joinery.

    Looking forward to the rest of the build!

Anything to add?

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: