A Square Deal (30)

3-0 reached in the post count for this two-table build. Getting there, I think, with the side table….


A few pics to share today. I spent the first while at the shop this morning completing the housed multiple mortise and tenon joinery between the drawer front and sides, and drawer rear wall and sides. Once the parts had been (dry-) fitted up, it was time to see how it all assembled.

This is the basic configuration of parts prior to assembly -the rear wall is joined to the sides, and the runners are mounted on the floor pan:

The sides then slide onto the runners along their hammerhead sliding tenons:

The sides and rear panel assembly now more or less slid all the way to the front:

Now the front panel can be fitted, these are housed multiple mortise and tenon:

Almost home as the front tongue on the floor pan engages the dado on the inside face of the front panel:


A closer look at the through tenons on the front- the mortises are yet to be flared for the wedges which will lock the tenons in place:

The join between the rear wall and a side – here I have partially flared the mortise walls just to facilitate fitting up:

These tenons are way long at the moment, however they still clear the surrounding frame without issue, so nothing to deal with immediately.

Under view of the drawer:

A closer look at the sliding hammerhead connection between side wall and runner:


Another view:

At this point the drawer could be just wedged into place in the cabinet, a bit too tight for sliding operation, but it enabled me to see how the fit of the front panel looked to the surrounding frame members now that the drawer was together:

Another view:

As mentioned in the previous post, I was targeting a 0.01″~0.02″ gap between the bottom of the drawer front and top surface of the stretcher, and on the left side I was sitting at 0.016″:

In case these decimals are giving you fits, note that 1/64″ = 0.015625″

The other side was a hair tighter at 0.015″:

So, just around the target clearance I was looking for -seems like it will fly. I’ll give the top edge of the drawer rather more room, though with a quartersawn drawer front in this material I would be surprised if more than a 1/32″ (0.03125″/0.76mm) clearance would be needed. The sides of the drawer can run clearances of 1/64″-ish each I would imagine.

A look at the back of the drawer nestled in among the wear strips:


The middle of the drawer is fixed to the rear wall using an elongated expansion slot with a wide-head machine screw:

I will extend the slot a bit more yet, but this will do for the moment. This is a fairly standard way of keeping the drawer from sagging in the middle and allowing it to move with seasonal shifts in relative humidity.

A closer look – this fastener is generally used on knock-down furniture – I thought its bronze patina was reasonably close in color to the bubinga and the wide head means no washer is needed and it gives ample support:

A couple more pics of the underside of the drawer just for the heck of it:


I then proceeded to fit the vertical wear strips to the support rails with some countersunk #6-32 stainless Allen head screws:

The drawer fit is still a little on the tight side, however I’ll leave final fitting and adjustment of the drawer until after the cabinet is assembled and all the pegs are knocked in.

One more detail to be fitted were the drawer stops. I forgot about these altogether yesterday when I mounted the horizontal wear strips, however the screw location was exactly the same so no big deal. In the above picture you can just see the shallow dado that has been cut in the end section of the horizontal wear strip, and below, the wooden stop is placed into that dado, the stop itself having a shallow tongue on the underside:

These are fastened by 1/4″-20 stainless button head cap screws, also Allen head:

I detest Phillips head and slotted screws, and would have ideally placed stainless Torx screws, but they are not so readily available so I went with Allen head instead.

The screw slot in the stop is elongated to allow for up to 1/8″ of fore-aft adjustment:

One more look:

The idea is that with the rear panel removed, it would be easy to make adjustments to the fit and placement of the drawer, including the stops.

It was good to end the week by bringing the drawer to a close, so to speak. That leaves just one more piece of construction on this side table, namely the demountable frame and panel assembly which fits to the rear of the piece. I’ll be at the shop tomorrow working on it so we’ll see how far along we get.

Thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way. I guess it might be time to make a move to post 31 now, hmm?

7 Replies to “A Square Deal (30)”

  1. You're making swift progress and it's turning out great. However, I've got to quibble a bit about that knock-down fastener. It just seems glaringly out of of place to me. It may be appropriate in every other way, but its association with cheap furniture is too strong in my mind. I'd much rather see a stainless steel fastener there with a different head style. Perhaps a button head cap screw optionally with a tight fitting washer underneath.

  2. Lars,

    okay, objection duly noted. I was talking with my wife last night about it and was thinking to take a look online to see if I could find a stainless version of the exact same fastener. I looked, and as is often the case, a stainless version of that connector bolt seems to be unavailable in the US. I could find them in England, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan, but then one has to order a box of 100 screws, that sort of thing. Plus those options are all metric fasteners, which I have nothing against, however the other fasteners on the piece are all inch-measure and there's nothing worse than mixing metric and inch fasteners on the same project.

    Looking past what the fastener is generally used for, I see a useful form, perfect for the task. Just because it may be associated to knock down furniture doesn't mean the fastener itself is cheap or 'knock down' – it's not inferior in quality to the other fasteners used on this piece. I like that there is a short portion under the head, against which the slot in the floor pan runs, which is not threaded, presenting a smooth surface. The form seemed just the ticket to me. Button head cap screws, at least the ones I came across, generally seem to be fully threaded.

    Thanks for your comment Lars. I do think about these details and make the best choice I can with the options presented.


  3. Chris,
    What beautiful work and attention to detail! Whoever is getting this is one lucky customer! Absolutely stunning and very well thought out.

    I have a question for you. I am thinking of buying one of the white steel kanna blades from So in Australia. He has the NOS Yokoyama Makoto for sale ($294) at today's exchange rate. I think I saw that you had a Yokoyama blade. Are they as good as So says?


  4. Dave,

    thanks for the positive comment and your question.

    I don't have enough miles on mine yet to give a fair assessment, and I only have one of his models so my experience is limited in that regard. The blade I have is easy to sharpen and can hold a very fine and thin edge. I think in terms of 'cutting taste', it is a winner, however from a perspective of how the plane gets set up, I found the Yokoyama to require the most work to get rid of sori in the blade, and it had a little warp also. The sub-blade was a crappy generic one, and from what I understand he doesn't often make sub-blades. I don't think Yokoyama cares about issues such as blade straightness, etc, but difficulty of set up is one of the reasons, or so I have heard, that Yokoyama planes are not readily available outside of Japan. YMMV of course – maybe I got a bad one, though it is apparently one of his premier models, the VAR White Steel #1.

    If you feel up for the fitting challenge, you certainly can't beat a $294 price. So Yamashita is a good guy to deal with, so no worries there.


  5. Thanks for the detailed response Chris. The amount of thought you put into the smallest details of your work, and the fact that you bother to share all those thoughts with your readers, makes your blog quite compelling.

    I agree with all your resons for using that fastener. It really is an ideal shape for your application. My issue is just that that shape happens to have a bad connotation. Lacking a good alternative, it probably makes the most sense to just let “form follow function” in this case, especially since no-one is ever going to see it anyway.

    However, I did do a bit of looking around for alternatives, but I didn't find much either. Of note, there's a company in the UK that appears to sell stainless connector bolts by the piece. They also sell a “mushroomhead” bolt with a very similar shape, but that looks less like a knock-down fastener to me. Unfortunately, they only have metric threads. Here's a link: http://www.theinsertcompany.com/mushroomhead_connector_bolts_stainless.php

    It is possible to get button cap screws which are only partially threaded, if you buy them long enough. You then have to cut the threaded part down to the size you need. It has since occured to me that a flat head socket cap screw with a countersunk washer might be a better option. Check McMaster part numbers 92538A355 and 90585A041. Unfortunately, they only specify the thread length as '1″ to fully threaded', but maybe they could give you more info over the phone.


  6. Hi Lars,

    I've also noticed the term 'mushroom head' for those fasteners, as sold in the UK.

    In the end, I'm not all that bothered about any perceived connotations that the single bolt may provide for a vanishingly small number of people who would even recognize it. It was the best available option without going to extreme lengths to locate something possibly better. I'm happy to go to great lengths for certain aspects of the project, but spending hours to find the perfect single bolt to secure the back edge of the drawer panel is not one of those aspects. If I thought I was compromising functionality or aesthetics in some way, then it would be a different story.

    Appreciate your feedback.


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