Learn about Life in the 1920s

How to Make Several Different Types of Cabinet

A Match-box Cabinet.

This is useful for the storage of small articles, such as stamps, pens, seeds, needles, and a number of other minor things which easily go astray if put in a drawer with larger objects.

The best boxes for the purpose are those used for the larger Bryant and May matches. Select only those boxes of which the tray moves easily in the case.

The cases should be stood on end on some flat surface while being glued together. A box or drawer with truly square corners is useful for assembling them in; if they are packed into one corner they cannot slew about. Press the boxes together while the glue is setting.

Now glue the back ends of the cases (from which the trays should have been removed), and press them against a piece of thin card. When the glue is dry, apply some more with a small brush to the back angles inside the covers, to ensure a good hold on

MATCH-BOX CABINET FIG. 27. - Match-box cabinet.

the backing. Trim off the card to the outline of the pile. Select for the front end of the drawer that for which the wood is doubled over. Paste outside the end a piece of white paper, whereon words and be increased if the insides are neatly lined with thin paper.

For "handles" use boot buttons, or loops of thin brass wire, or brass paper clips. To give the cabinet a neat appearance you should cover it outside with paper of some neutral tint; and if you wish it to be stable and not upset when a rather sticky drawer is pulled out, glue it down to a solid wooden base of the proper size.

A Cardboard Cabinet.

We now proceed to a more ambitious undertaking -- the manufacture of a cabinet for the storage of note-paper, envelopes, labels, etc. The only materials needed are some cardboard and glue; the tools, a ruler and a very sharp knife. For the marking out a drawing board and T-square are invaluable. The cardboard should be fairly stout, not less than 1/16 inch thick.

Begin with the drawers; it is easier to make the case fit the drawers than vice versa.

Mark out the drawers as shown in Fig. 28. The areas AA are the front and back; BB the sides. The dotted lines indicate the lines along which the cardboard is bent up. The sides are of exactly the same length as the bottom, but the front and back are longer than the bottom by twice the thickness of the cardboard, so as to overlap the sides. (The extra length is indicated by the heavy black lines.)

DRAWER TEMPLATE FOR CARDBOARD CABINET FIG. 28. -- Drawer of cardboard cabinet marked ready for cutting.

Measure and cut out very carefully to ensure all the drawers being of the same size. Lay a piece of card under the thing cut to avoid blunting the knife or damaging the table. When the blanks are ready, cut them almost through along the dotted lines. Use several strokes, and after each stroke test the stubbornness of the bend. When the card is almost severed it will bend up quite easily. Note.-- Bend as shown in the inset C; not the other way, or you will snap the card. If you should be so unlucky as to cut the card through in places, paste a strip of thin paper along the line before turning up.

The four flaps are now bent up, glued together, and covered outside with paper. This part of the business is easy enough if a small square-cornered wooden box be used as a support inside at each angle in turn. It is advisable to glue strips along all the bends both inside and outside. The external strips should be flattened down well, so as to offer no loose edges. Compare the drawers, and if one is slightly wider than the rest, use it to guide you in making the measurements for the case.

The sides and back of the case are cut out of a single piece. The sides should be a quarter of an inch deeper than the drawers to allow some overlap; the back slightly wider than the drawer. As each drawer will be separated from that above it by a shelf, allowance must be made for the shelves, and also for a twentieth of an inch or so of "play" to each drawer. To keep on the safe side leave a little extra stuff to be removed later on.

Cut out the bottom to fit inside the back and sides exactly, and a sufficient number of shelves of precisely the same size as the bottom. Attach the bottom to the sides and back with internal and external strips. When the glue has set, place the guide drawer in position, and lay on it a piece of thin card to cover it over. This card is merely a removable "spacer." Along the side and back edges of the shelf stick projecting strips of stout paper. When the adhesive is dry, turn the strips round the end at right angles to the division, glue them outside, and lay the division in position on top of the "spacer."

Place the second drawer and shelf in like manner, and continue till the top of the cabinet is reached. Then mark off and cut away any superfluous card. Glue the top edges, and stand the cabinet head downwards on a piece of cardboard. Trim off the edges of this, and the top is completed, except for binding the corners.

Then attend to the outside back corners of the case, and paste strips in the angles under the shelves. The strips should be forced well into the angles.

For handles use brass rings let sufficiently far through the fronts of the drawers for a wedge of card to be slipped through them and stuck in position. The appearance of the cabinet will be enhanced by a neatly applied covering of paper.

A Cigar-box Cabinet.

At the rate of a halfpenny or less apiece one may buy the cigar boxes made to hold twenty-five cigars. These boxes, being fashioned by machinery, are all - at any rate all those devoted to a particular "brand" - of the same dimensions; they are neatly constructed, and their wood is well seasoned. Anyone who wishes to make a useful little cabinet may well employ the boxes as drawers in the said cabinet (Fig. 29).

Each box should be prepared as follows:-Remove the lid and paper lining, and rub all the paper binding off the outside angles with a piece of coarse glass paper. This is a safer method than soaking-off, which may cause warping and swelling of the wood. Then plane down the tops of the two sides till they are flush with the back and front, and glue into the corners small pieces of wood of right-angled-triangle section to hold the sides together and the bottom to the sides. To secure the parts further cut a number of large pins down to 3/4 inch, and drive these into the sides through holes carefully drilled in the bottom. Finally, rub the outside of the drawer well with fine glass paper or emery cloth till the surface is smooth all over.

The Case. - If mahogany can be obtained for this, so much the better, as the wood will match the boxes. In default of it, a white wood, stained, will have to serve. The two sides of the case should be prepared first

CABINET WITH CIGAR BOX DRAWERS FIG. 29. - Cabinet with cigar-box drawers.

Wood 3/8 inch thick is advised. Each side is 1 inch wider than the depth (outside) of a drawer from front to back. (Whether the drawers shall slide in lengthways or flatways is for the maker to decide.) The length of a side is calculated on the basis that the drawers will be separated from one another by runners 1/4 to 5/16 inch deep, and that a slight clearance must be allowed for the drawers to slide in and out freely. In the first instance cut the sides a bit too long. If it be preferred to insert the bottom between the sides, the length must be increased accordingly.

The runners are cut out of the box lids, and planed till their top and bottom edges are parallel. Their length is 1/4 inch less than the depth of a drawer. To fill up the spaces between the drawers in front you will need some slips of the same depth as the runners, and 3/8 inch longer than the drawer, so that they may be let 3/16 inch into the sides of the case at each end.

Affixing the Runners. - This is a very easy matter if a wooden spacer, slightly wider than the depth of the drawer, is prepared. Having decided which is to be the inside face and the forward edge of a side, lay the side flat, and apply the spacer with one edge flush with the bottom of the side, or as far away from it as the thickness of the bottom, as the case may be, and fix it lightly in position with a couple of tacks. The first runner is laid touching the spacer and a little back from the edge to give room for the cross-bar, and fastened by means of short tacks, for which holes had better be drilled in the runner to prevent splitting. The spacer is now transferred to the other side of the runner, and the second runner is fastened on above it; and so on till all the runners are in position. The square should be used occasionally to make sure that the tops of the runners are parallel to one another. The other side having been treated in like manner, any spare wood at the top is sawn off.

The notches for the front cross-bars between drawers are cut out with a very sharp narrow chisel.

The Top and Bottom. -- Make the top of the same thickness as the sides; the bottom of somewhat stouter wood. If the bottom is cut a bit longer than the width of the case, and neatly bevelled off, it will help to smarten the appearance of the cabinet.

When fixing the sides to the bottom and top get the distance correct by placing the top and bottom drawers in position, and insert a piece of thin card between one end of the drawer and the side. This will ensure the necessary clearance being allowed for.

The Back. - Cut this out of thin wood. The top of a sweetstuff box-costing about a halfpenny -- will do well enough. It should be quite rectangular and make a close fit, as it plays the important part of keeping the case square laterally. Bevel its back edges off a bit. Push it in against the back ends of the runners, and fix it by picture brads driven in behind.

The front bars should now be cut to a good fit and glued in the notches. This completes the construction.

Drop handles for the drawers may be made out of semicircles of brass wire with the ends turned up. The handles are held up to the drawer by loops of finer wire passed through the front and clinched inside.

The finishing of the outside must be left to the maker's taste. Varnishing, or polishing with warmed beeswax, will add to the general appearance, and keep out damp. The total cost of a ten-drawer cabinet ought not to exceed eighteen pence.

A Tool Cabinet.

The wooden cabinet shown in Fig. 30 is constructed, as regards its case, in the same way as that just described, but the drawers are built up of several pieces. The over-all dimensions of the cabinet represented are as follows: Height, including plinth, 25 inches; width, 17-3/8 inches; depth, 10-1/2 inches. The drawers are 16 inches wide (outside), by 10-1/8 inches


FIG. 30. -- Large cabinet (a), details of drawer joints (b, c, d), and padlock fastening (e).

from back to front, and, reckoning from the bottom upwards, are 3- 1/4, 3, 2-1/2, 2, 2, 2, 2, and 1-3/4 inches deep.

The construction of the drawers is indicated by the diagrams, Fig. 30, b, c, d. The fronts are of 5/8-inch, the sides and backs of 3/8-inch, and the bottoms of (barely) 1/4-inch wood. The grooves should not come nearer than 1/8- inch to the bottom edge, or be more than 5/16 inch wide and deep. The possessor of a suitable "plough" plane will have no difficulty in cutting them out; in the absence or such a tool the cutting gauge and chisel must be used.

The back piece of a drawer has 1/4- inch less height than the front, to allow the bottom to be introduced. The ends or the bottom are bevelled off towards the top edge to fit the grooves, so that no part may be above the grooves.

Glue should be used to attach the sides of a drawer to the back and front in the first place, and nails be added when the glue has set. As an aid to obtaining perfect squareness, without which the drawers will fit badly, it is advisable to mark out on a board a rectangle having the exact inside dimensions of a drawer, and to nail strips of wood up to the lines on the inside. If the parts are put together round this template they will necessarily fit squarely.

Divisions. - If the drawers are to be subdivided in one direction only, the partitions should run preferably from back to front, as this enables the contents of a compartment to be more easily seen. Where two-direction division is needed the partitions are cut as shown in Fig. 31. All partitions should touch the bottom, and be made immovable by gluing or nailing. It is a mistake to have so many divisions in a drawer that the fingers cannot get into them easily.

Wooden knobs for the drawers can be bought very cheaply of any turner, or suitable brass knobs at any ironmonger's. Take care that the knobs are in line with one another; otherwise the general appearance of the cabinet will suffer.

DRAWER DIVIDERS FIG. 31. - Divisions of drawer notched to cross each other.

Lock and Key. - If a cabinet is intended for storage of articles of any value it should be provided with lock and key. One lock will secure all the drawers if attached to a flap hinged on one side to the cabinet, as shown in Fig. 30 a, to engage a catch projecting from one of the drawers. A special form of lock is sold for the purpose. If the single flap seems to give a lop-sided effect, place a fellow on the other side, and fit it with sunk bolts to shoot into the overhanging top and plinth. If you wish to avoid the expense and trouble of fitting a lock, substitute a padlock and a staple clinched through the front of a drawer and passing through a slot in the flap (Fig. 30, e).

Alternative Method. - The fixing of the front bars can be avoided if the front of each drawer (except the lowest) be made to overhang the bottom by the depth of the runner. This method, of course, makes it impossible to stand a drawer level on a level surface.

Telegraphic Apparatus >>>>


List of Chapters in this book: Sawing Trestle | Joiner's Bench | Bookstand | House Ladder | Developing Sink | Poultry House | Bicycle Shed | Rifle Target | Cabinet Making | Telegraphic Apparatus | Electric Motor | Alarm Clock | Model Railway | Reciprocating Engine | Slide Valve Engine | Model Steam Turbine | Steam Tops | Model Boilers | Quick Boiling Kettle | Hot Air Engine | Water Motor | Model Pumps | Kites | Paper Gliders | Model Aeroplane | Scientific Apparatus | Rain Gauge | Wind Vanes | Strength Tester | Harmonographs | Automatic Matchbox | Wooden Workbox | Wrestling Puppets | Double Bellows | Pantograph | Silhouette Drawing Machine | Signalling Lamp | Miniature Gasworks