Tag Archives: primary wood

Thomas Walnut Dresser: Dust Frames & Web Frames

I spent the morning with the in-laws having breakfast, but after that I had time to work on the dresser. I worked on the dust frames or web frames. Before I get into the details, here’s a lesson.

A dust frame is a type of web frame. In cabinet making a web frame is the structural part of the cabinet, usually horizontal, between banks of drawers. It usually is not a solid piece of wood (too heavy, too expensive), but is made a bit like a picture frame. It adds rigidity, is used many times to support drawer runners, and is typically made with secondary wood and then faced with primary wood. If the web frame has a solid piece inset then it is known as a dust frame because it keeps dust moving horizontally throughout the cabinet.

Typically furniture is made of at least two woods, primary and secondary. The primary wood is the wood you see, it’s what’s on the outside faces like the top, sides, and drawer fronts. The secondary wood (usually something like Pine) is used for the internal structure, drawers etc.



Here’s the completed bottom dust frames for the Thomas Walnut Dresser. Yes, these are actually web frames because they don’t have the solid piece inset.



Here’s the setup for making the 10 short pieces (that run front-to-back) in the dust frames. The tongue fits into a groove in the long pieces. I have a backer board on the tenon sled, and I use a board on the side to reduce tearout. Those boards, combined with the micro adjust on the tenon sled gave me very clean cuts. I used my dado blade for the cuts.



Running a piece: each piece gets four cuts, and there are ten pieces. That’s a lot of cuts and there is a risk here of getting into autopilot mode, letting the mind wander, and having an accident or making a mistake. I’ve never had a shop injury except for the minor cuts or being sore from standing on concrete.



Here’s the top dust frame complete, sitting on the workbench in front of the bottom dust frame. The top bank of drawers is more complicated on the dresser, so there are more short pieces that run front-to-back. These will get dadoes for vertical dividers between drawer banks, and then they’ll get assembled as a sub frame.

I’m really glad I had enough clamps to do both of these in one day, and I’m glad I have the Jet Parallel clamps – they are super nice.

Tomorrow I’ll use the Beast Master Crosscut sled to square these up and trim them to final dimensions.