Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Dust Panel Question

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Dust Panel Question

    In the next couple of months I am going to start the first piece of bedroom furniture for my wife and I. The set was featured in various issues of Wood magazine during the first half of 2009 (shaker style). The set includes two style of dressers with each having dust panels between the drawers. What I would like to know is what is the purpose of a dust panel? In researching a bedroom set not all dressers called for dust panels. It seems like a lot of extra work and materials that doesnt appear to be 100% necessary. Basically I will need to make a frame and panel for every drawer.

    I fully intend to stick to the plans and make them but I would like to understand the purpose of them and why some dressers have them and some dont.

  • #2
    Re: Dust Panel Question

    This may be a trick question, but is it not to keep the dust out?

    In a house with forced air heating (ie most of those in the US, as opposed to radiant), the ducts in the floor would blow dust straight into the bottom of your wife's lingerie chest.

    The repercussions of that far outweigh the cost and effort involved in preventing it from happening.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Dust Panel Question

      One purpose of the panel is to keep dust accumulation and wood dust (think wood runners for drawer slides) from falling down into the drawer below. It may also constrain the drawer contents from falling out or popping up.

      In some construction, the frame of the panel may also be a design feature to prevent racking or else wise provide more stability to the carcase, keeping the upright pieces from bowing (which could real raise havoc with the drawers!). The front edge may also be a means of supporting the face frame pieces. The panel itself may be the feature that keeps the drawer below from tipping when pulled partway out. A solid board could also be used as long as all cross-grain and wood expansion issues are accounted for.

      Without seeing the design, it is impossible to tell whether they are a needed construction facet or not.

      With today's filtered air conditioning, less use of fireplaces and wood stoves, less days with the windows open, tighter seals on doors, around windows, etc, the accumulation of dust in most houses is significantly less. When you open a drawer now, the vacuum does not pull in all the stuff that used to be in the air. Shaker furniture was known for its quality in a time far before modern HVAC.

      JMTCW

      Go
      Last edited by Gofor; 02-01-2010, 08:35 PM.
      Practicing at practical wood working

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Dust Panel Question

        I may have a different take on the answer (but still, it really IS for dust). When my wife and I were first planning for our upcoming marriage (1967), we started looking at furniture and of course, asking people we knew what were the quality features to look for. Back then, furniture (and just about everything else) WAS made in America!

        Things like dovetailed drawers and "dust covers" were considered absolute essentials on the list of features. There really wasn't anything in the way of composite stuff like chipboard, waferboard, and MDF used in the furniture market as I recall. Faux-wood plastic laminates were on the scene, but moldings and other decorative trim would, at worse, be made of cheaper wood species that were stained to look like walnut, mahogany, etc. Back then, a cheap wood might be oak, and it was sometimes found stained to look like walnut, which was very popular at the time. Veneer over a hardwood core or on furniture-grade ply was quite common too, but usually only on furniture that was clearly marked as "veneer", because the designer/manufacturer was seeking that in the design.

        Bottom line was that there were simply things that "must be done" if a piece was going to sell, even from a somewhat less-expensive store. (While I'm sure there are experts and veterans who will bring more knowledge to the subject, that is how I remember it... and at the time my carpentry knowledge was limited to studs and rafters and sill plates. )

        So, dust covers were there... and I'm not so sure it was considered to be an unnecessary expense; but, a common feature in all but the cheapest bargain-basement items.

        As drawers slide in and out, the glides (most often hardwoods at the time, IIRC) wear and likewise produce some element of dust or debris over time, and without the "dust cover" it falls into the drawer below. Similarly, clothes or whatever in one drawer may have a tendency, again over time, to produce dust, lint, etc. In addition, just the environment in the household produces dust, all of which will find it's way into a drawer. As you remove your belongings from the upper drawers, dust settles and finds it's way to the lower drawers and without dust covers, the bottom drawers are like the last refuse.

        The dust cover does NOT prevent accumulation, but it does restrict it's flow to the lower drawers; and a good dresser or bureau has dust covers. Remember, that the most often used items are in the upper drawers and the less used items are stored in the lower drawers (that was the conventional thinking of the time, I believe). So, you wouldn't want to pull out your winter sweaters or your July-only swimsuit and find several months of accumulation on it.

        Even our cheap bedroom suite from Sears had dust covers and dovetailed drawers!

        Today, unless you spend a small fortune you won't find dust covers, or even full-height drawer sides. Dovetails are only found on "crafted" furniture and it's almost impossible to find solid hardwood on anything affordable. (He!!, even "pine" is often a veneer over MDF!) I recently looked at a bedroom suite with drawers clearly labeled as "dovetail contruction"... but the front of the drawer is clearly stapled to the sides, as is the backs. A bit of looking discovered that the two guides, underneath the drawers were in fact "dovetail" shaped to fit their nylon glides. (Amazing what manufacturer's get away with in advertising.)

        I hope this helps,

        CWS
        Last edited by CWSmith; 02-01-2010, 08:58 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Dust Panel Question

          Thanks for all the good info, just what I was looking for. I hope to start this project soon and will post pics when I am done.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Dust Panel Question

            FWIW, If cost is part of the equation, there is nothing wrong with using a secondary (cheaper) wood for places like the dust panels or any other part that will be hidden from view during normal use.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Dust Panel Question

              amajors has a good point,

              Like many hidden components, if your construction is a more costly species you don't need to use it for every component. Drawer sides, backs, support structure, etc. are usually something other than, say "Walnut".

              And of course, dust covers are in all probability a sheet material. Personally, I'd probably look at a good grade of Luan (subfloor ply), which can be sanded and finished as needed and would, I think, easily fit the bill. (But, I have yet to look at building a chest of drawers.)

              I hope this helps,

              CWS

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Dust Panel Question

                + 11 or should I say 2 on both of CWSmith's posts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Dust Panel Question

                  The dresser is going to be made with cherry but I do plan on using a different type of wood for the parts that wont be seen (soft maple).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Dust Panel Question

                    Keep something very basic in mind. The Shaker style was developed in an age when dust was dust (like trail dust blowing in through the glassless windows). The design is true to the age in which it was developed despite being somewhat unnecessary by today's standards.
                    Do everything F.A.S.T. Flat, Accurate, Square, True

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X