Laminating Curved Drawer Fronts

      Furniture makers discuss techniques. October 28, 2005

I will be building a curved drawer dresser out of walnut in the near future. I will need to laminate the drawer fronts with resawn walnut. Is it better to resaw now, and put cuts into a tight stack to prevent twisting, cupping, etc and cut later when drawers are needed? Is it possible to layer in another secondary wood, hidden top and bottom by narrower walnut cuts, to reduce waste? Drawer front will be approx 36" wide.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor A :
I also am learning to do bent laminates with hard woods. I find cutting, planing and sanding the wood with a drum sander just before it goes in the bag is best. I also find that many 1/8” to 3/16” thin strips are better, as spring back is less likely to happen.

From contributor B :
To contributor A: If your resaw the stock , then thickness plane it, why would you want to sand it? I might sand the outside face of the bunch, but I wouldn’t sand on the joint faces.

From contributor A :
I find that when you simply plane without sanding you get more visible glue lines. I used yellow glue and found that even when planed very smooth the lines are still very visible. I recently did some bent laminated work in cherry and I tried yellow glue again, but was unhappy with the result as there was some spring back and the lines were not invisible, which is something I'm strive for. I decided to try urea glue, and, as it is brown, the glue line would have been even more visible. I decided to come up with the tightest fit possible. I went down to a friend’s shop where there is a drum sander and ran each piece on both sides. The results after the piece came out the bag were acceptable. Now I plane and then drum sand before I put the piece in the vacuum bag.

From contributor B:
To contributor A: That’s interesting, I wonder why it works that way? Maybe the fuzz on both sides of the joint combine?

From contributor C:
Once upon a time the masters would take a seasoned timber, square it up, draw the curve and cut out the number of draws they needed. Then they would plane and fancy veneer the face. The English in the 19th C would draw the curve out on flat stock, cut out all the pieces and laminate. Then they would veneer the face and back.

From contributor D:
Get the book Chests of drawers by Bill Hylton, published by the Taunton Press. It contains a detailed section on the topic

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor E:
In my experience, pieces that are a little less than 1/8 are better to use in a round. I use two of my desired wood on the outside, but these will be a bit bigger than1/8. On the inside I will use poplar, these will be a bit smaller than 1/8 for bend ability. And I use lots of clamps. Show the piece that you’re the boss and this is how you want it to be. Lastly, keep them in the mold for long as you can.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: Custom Furniture

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2018 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article