Baby's First Furniture #3: Finished Dresser/Changing Table

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Blog entry by Bob_B posted 01-20-2008 05:46 AM 5920 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The lumber yard Part 3 of Baby's First Furniture series no next part

Well it was my plan to update this blog as this project progressed, but life is a little crazy right now. Those of you with kids know what I’m talking about. I don’t actually have any yet, but getting ready for this one has added an extra level of busyness I didn’t account for.

We had a baby shower last weekend and my wife was pushing to at least have one of the 2 pieces of baby furniture done for that weekend (the other being the crib). Fortunately, I was between jobs (carpenter/cabinetmaker) so I put aside a week and a half to get this piece done. Finished it the morning of the shower. Woo Hoo!

As I mentioned in a previous entry, I planned on using mostly 4/4 Sapele Mahogany, but All I could get at the mill was 6/4. After quite a bit of jointing, re-sawing and planing, I was able to get the Sapele a consistent 11/16. It turned out to be a more economical use of the wood, but was a lot of extra work. I should note that on boards that were wider than 6” (the max re-sawing capacity on my bandsaw) I had to rip it to 6” or less first, then re-saw it, then glue it back together. A PITA, but worth it to keep the look of the wide boards.

Here’s a few pics:

Just the Carcass – Secondary wood is Maple.


Drawer Joinery Detail – Drawer lock router bit pinned with Mahogany dowels.


Detail of beading around drawer.

Shot from the side – I just love the grain.

Each row of drawers was made from one long board so the grain looks continuous. Actually the top 2 rows were made from 1 board (resawed) and the bottom 2 rows were made from 1 board. It made for a really nice effect.

The finish was borrowed from our old pal Norm Abram. A 5 step process and worth every minute.
1. A coat of Minwax red mahogany stain
2. A coat of wax free shellac
3. A oil based neutral paste wood filler
4. A coat of walnut get stain (walnut just because I had it on hand – I tested it first and it looked good)
5. Several coats of minwax wipe on Poly (semi gloss)

I LOVE the finish. In person, the wood looks like it’s 3” deep. I’ve never had a finish come out this good.

The last part of this project is a frame that goes on the top to steady a changing pad and the necessary lotions and “Stuff” that you need to change a baby (obviously I still need to figure out what these things are, huh.) It’s attached in the back and can easily be removed once diapers are no longer in the picture. (can’t wait for those days).

Well, that’s about it. I’d love to hear your feedback. I’ll be sure to post pictures of the crib when it’s done, and possibly another blog entry then.

Thanks for reading,

-- Bob B - Warwick, Rhode Island

9 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#1 posted 01-20-2008 05:47 AM

Very nice. Excellent execution.

The drawers are fantastic.

I love mahogany. Is it African?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4065 days

#2 posted 01-20-2008 06:37 AM

Wow! That came out great!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3903 days

#3 posted 01-20-2008 11:33 AM

Very well done. The craftsmanship is apparent.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4189 days

#4 posted 01-20-2008 11:54 AM

wow, indeed!! THis is stunning

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3825 days

#5 posted 01-20-2008 03:17 PM

Be careful. With a changing table that nice, the baby may poop all the time just to get close to that piece ;)

Seriously, great looking work! I’m going to have to remember that finish you used, because it looks great in the pics!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Bob_B's profile


29 posts in 4075 days

#6 posted 01-21-2008 01:52 AM

Thanks for all of the great comments. It was a project I wasn’t too enthusiastic about because it’s essentially just a bunch of boxes, but looking at the finished product, I’m glad I took the time to do it right.

Thanks again.

-- Bob B - Warwick, Rhode Island

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4328 days

#7 posted 01-21-2008 05:35 PM

What a beautiful piece of furniture.

That’s what I call the work of a true craftsman.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Charlie2's profile


8 posts in 3422 days

#8 posted 03-06-2009 08:38 PM

Thanks for posting Norm’s finishing process. I saw the episode where Norm used it, and I really wanted to try it, but I didn’t get that episode recorded. (I thought it was being DVRed but the technology outwitted me again.) I’ve been looking for the recipe ever since. What’s kind of interesting is that I really wanted to use it on this project I’m working on right now, and I’m about to start the finish. I was browsing Lumberjocks the other night, and Bang!, there it was. The interesting part is that my project is a baby’s changing table… Spooky, huh?

-- Many things in this life can be taken from you. Your integrity is not one of them. It's yours until you give it up... Steve, Bakersfield, CA

View jeh412's profile


129 posts in 3404 days

#9 posted 03-06-2009 09:48 PM

Great looking “bunch of boxes,” Bob! That’s a piece that will become a treasured heirloom. I’m working on a crib and changing table as well. Due date May 1 and the mom-to-be (my daughter-in-law) is getting antsy for me to deliver. She even bribed me with a box of my favorite Girl Scout cookies the other evening…

-- John, co-owner Sawdust 'n Stitches

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