A Square Deal (32)

A new installment in a continuing series. Recent posts can be found in the ‘Blg Archive’ section to the right site of the page.


Demountable Panel, Continued….

As mentioned in the previous post in this thread, after making a frame and panel version of the demountable rear panel assembly, I decided that a different form of construction might be better. After remaking the part as a ‘slab’ with double-mitered breadboard ends, I realized a few further refinements could be made so I elected to make it for the third time.

This one came out as planned – here, I’m dressing the top edge to fit the opening:

Trial fitted in the opening:

Right side:


The rear inner corners had some material removed to fit around the rear of the drawer stops:

Another view:

The breadboard end is fixed with a tongue from end to end and a central through tenon, which will be double wedged later on.

With the panel more or less where it needed to be, I could make the mechanisms to hold the panel in place. These start with two tiny mortises in each breadboard end:

A view from the other side shows the housings to accommodate the clips:

This picture shows two clips after fitting – one started, and one fully inserted:

Then I had to make two more tiny mortises in each leg to receive the clips:

Mortising done, I could refit the panel and make sure the clips engaged as they should:

Left side:


I believe I will shave another hundredth of an inch out of the jogged up section of the panel’s lower surface to achieve a slightly better fit yet of the panel to the surrounding framing. Right now the panel is a just a skoosh tight in the opening, leaving me a final shave with the plane.

‘Skoosh’ – there’s one of the few words in the English language which is borrowed from Japanese and doesn’t relate to food or combat arts. The Japanese loan word is ‘sukoshi‘, BTW.

A view from the inside shows the panel fitting around the drawer stop:

The other side:

This panel is thicker than the previous (and initial design) so it overlaps the stretcher slightly on the inside face on the interior of the cabinet – hence the shadow line visible in the above two shots. The panel’s lower outside arris will be chamfered yet, and I’m not too bothered about it, but it would have been a little better to have the panel and stretcher meet flush. This detail is on the inside of the cabinet after all, completely unseen, but it is little details like this I can chalk up to ‘lessons learned’.

One of the main reasons I’m putting this drawer and demountable panel system in this small side table is it is a dry run for larger and more complex constructions, like the sideboard I spent a bit of time designing last year. It’s a prototype of sorts in respect to the drawer construction system – a ‘proof of concept’ if you like. So it is not surprising that little details like this overlap become apparent upon construction. It would have been better if I had redrawn the rear panel in my CAD program before fabricating and I hopefully would have caught the detail there. I could choose to remove some material from the back of the panel, but I hardly think it is worth the bother.

I will be fitting a couple of pieces down the inside face of the legs to serve as backstops for the demountable panel, so that it won’t be depending solely upon the clips to keep position.

A view of the drawer placed in the cabinet, relative to the rear demountable panel:

And a last one showing the view from the demountable panel side:

The interface between the clips and their housings will be eased so as to make them more obvious and to allow a tool, like a small thin screwdriver, to enter and prise the clips out.

Let’s see, that leaves me with just a few details to take care of now. Next will be the ebony double hammerhead keys to be fitted to the table top corners, some work on the side panels and chamfering of various parts, and the fabrication and fitting of the bronze leveler feet and drawer pull knob. And then finishing. Then it will be time to repeat much of the process with the coffee table build. So a few more posts to come yet in this series –  hope you’re not getting lost in the details!

That’s for your visit to the Carpentry Way. Another post awaits: 33

8 Replies to “A Square Deal (32)”

  1. Those clips are most elegant. I like how they “feel” like a joinery construction yet also take on our notions of a fastener due to their demountability.

    I've recently learned that certain Japanese braiding stands were commonly designed to allow disassembly via keyed mortise and tenon joints. In that case, the key wedge secures a traditional joint, where the clips here might be thought of as removable tenons.

  2. John,

    thanks for sharing about the demountable joinery used on kumihimo stands – most interesting! Glad you like the clips. I've done it on a few pieces now, including the garden lantern project (the removable screen on the lantern head to give access to the light bulb) and a bookcase (for the rear panel assembly). Seems to work well so far. I first saw it used on a Ming-era furniture piece.


  3. Hi Chris
    I like the way you did the Miters on the Rear Panel, at their outside edge.
    That should stop them going out of alignment at the edge.
    Nice solution to the Removable Panel.
    Gordon Millar

  4. Gordon,

    yes, running the stub tenon up through the miters on the breadboard ends was one of the changes I made between version 2 and 3. Thanks for noticing and sending your comment.


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