Isaac

Sideboard Design

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Last year just as I was about to begin building a sideboard, my wife sidetracked me with a major project building a boat crib for our new daughter. Now I'm finally getting back around to the sideboard, and thinking of a different design. This is the rough design I've come up with so far in sketch up.

It would have slider doors and a section of drawers. I'm thinking of building it with cherry and perhaps using maple for some accents, which might include kumiko (which I will not be modelling in sketchup for obvious reasons). Right now, the cabinet is about 54 inches wide, with the top extending out about 6 inches more on each end. 

A few things I'm thinking about:

  1. Should the slider doors be able to slide in front of the drawer section, or should the face of the drawers be flush with the outer panel door? 
  2. What do you think about the legs extending through the top? Will they be a nuisance or broken off? Would I be better off making them flush or not showing through at all? Also will this cause a wood movement issue, assuming the top is solid material? 
  3. What about making the top float above the cabinet with a gap between?
  4. Thoughts on how high should the skirt be above the ground?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also don't worry, I'm not married to anything here, just tossing around ideas. 

Sideboard.thumb.jpg.87a25b28e0402d1d90d71ac1b81c551b.jpg

 

 

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It looks pretty good so far. Just my opinion, but on your questions:

1. I wouldn't have them slide in front of the drawers, provided you can get them open enough to access everything in the shelving space. It would force you to significantly recess the drawers and I don't think it would look as good.

2. I wouldn't bring the legs through the top. If you want to have them be through but flush, then I think that's fine. I think they'd get in the way of using the top.

3. You could float the top if you want, but I don't think the piece needs it. You would also need to essentially build a sub top for the sliding doors and cabinet to work with anyway.

4. Not sure on this one - I don't know what it would traditionally be.

I'll be interested to see your final design.

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1. I like the idea of a nice clean front with the sliding doors covering the drawers which would be accessible when you slid the door out of the way. Is this what you were thinking? If you have the drawers flush with the front my opinion is they would look better in the center but that could limit interior space.

2. I would not do the legs through it's a neat idea but i think it would just get in the way. Yes it would create movement issues. But if you want the through tenon look just fake it and inlay an end grain square. or run it all the way through and cut it off flush both sides.

3. I don't know that the style works for a floating top but idk you'd have to model it and make your own decision it could look awesome.

4. I like what you have there but it depends on if you are trying to match a style exactly or do something of your own style. I don't think there is a wrong answer. My mom has a piece from an amish collection that sits flush to the ground.

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1. I don't think the front of the drawers should be flush with the front, but I agree with SawDust that to slide the doors in front of the drawers would mean recessing them too much. 

2. I think the legs going thru the top creates a big wood movement issue. You have frame and panel sides and these sides are attached to the legs, your movement of the top will not match the movement of your sides based on the cross grain orientation. Now, I do like the idea of the legs coming thru the top if they are flush. But I'd only do that if you have solid wood side panels. The grain orientation of the side would then match the top and the movement would be in sync. 

3. I wouldn't do a floating top, but I'd do a long/significant bevel on the underside of the top. 

4. Agree with Nut, what else is in the room. If no conflicts I think your design would look nice with a little higher skirt than what is traditional. I think a higher skirt would make the piece look less heavy, a higher skirt would give this design a lighter appearance.

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Not sure why the wood movement issues are any different between legs extending beyond the top or being flush. Either way you will need to plan for it. While having to slide the door out of the way to get to the drawers can be a pain, I think it looks better, and unless you really need the depth, I don’t think the setback is an issue—you will only see it when accessing the drawers. I like the height of the skirt in your model. Good luck. 

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15 minutes ago, Barron said:

Not sure why the wood movement issues are any different between legs extending beyond the top or being flush. Either way you will need to plan for it. While having to slide the door out of the way to get to the drawers can be a pain, I think it looks better, and unless you really need the depth, I don’t think the setback is an issue—you will only see it when accessing the drawers. I like the height of the skirt in your model. Good luck. 

Perhaps I wasn't clear in the way I stated my comment. My point on wood movement was not referring to whether the legs went thru the top or not, I was referring to the construction of the side panels attached to the legs. Frame and panel construction would limit the movement of the top. 

I also stated I liked the idea of the legs coming thru the top IF the side construction was solid panel. 

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1. I think having the doors slide in front of the drawers would look neat. It would also give you complete access to the storage on the left without half a door in the way at all times.

2. I agree with Bmac on the significant bevel on the underside of the top but with the ends extending out further than the front, not sure how that would look. Definately don’t like the legs thru the top.

3. I also agree with Bmac on the higher skirt and for his reason. It would also aid in sweeping or vacuuming under it. I like the leg style. 

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Thanks for all the thoughts guys. A lot to think about. I will certainly follow up when I have some time to tweak the design. Will hopefully journal the build as well.

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I would also go with a subtler contrast between the frame and panels.  That harsh contrast will get old after a while.  Something like the contrast between, say, white oak and ash - that tends to work well on larger-scale projects.

 

The general rule I live by is that the larger the scale, the smaller the contrast.  Tiny bandsaw box? Contrast it up, that little thing needs to yell to be noticed. Desk organizer?  Have fun.  Even small details like handles, pulls, inlay, dowels, and so on look great with sharply contrasting woods.  But a massive piece of furniture is already visually demanding enough without having a checkerboard-level display of contrasting species.  It gets overwhelming.

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The top is frame and panel?  If so, then movement won’t be an issue, or if the top is plywood.  But if the top is solid wood, it will move. 

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I wouldn't put the legs through the top.  Climactic movement aside, the idea of a sideboard is a place to put your dishes so that the dining table isn't cluttered.  Legs poking through the top would be a hindrance.

While the sliding panels going in front of the drawers may look neat, it's an accident waiting to happen and doesn't gain all that much in terms of access unless you mean both doors being to slide that far.  In that case I agree with the others who felt it would cause the drawers to be too far recessed and I think it would loose it's novelty after a bit, especially after about the third time you dinged a sliding door on one of the drawers that wasn't closed correctly.

To the other points, not sure I have an opinion.  If you're going to have an open space under the cabinet then it should be large enough not to get your foot stuck in, but perhaps small enough that your new kid doesn't go crawling underneath and upset the apple cart.

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2.  I really like the look of the legs above the top.  As others have said, it could create movement issues in a solid top.  One option is to mortise in small squares of wood in the top to just make it look like the legs are extending through. You get the look without the structural issues (though I'm sure some would find this approach distasteful).

 

4.  To me the skirt height seems awkward.  As few inches higher and you impart a light, elegant feel to the case.  A bit lower, and you create a feeling of weight and stoutness.  Check out the buffet I just completed recently as a non-sketchup example.  In this case, the skirt is 4" from the ground.  My buffet and your share a lot of similar design elements, so it may give 6ounsomw more ideas.

As others have said, maple and cherry will contrast really significantly down the road.  Make sure you want that combination for the long run.  I went with Walnut and bubinga, where the contrast will actually lesson over time as the bubinga darkens.

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