Harvey Ellis Nightstand #1: Intro

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Blog entry by DBrown52 posted 02-02-2015 03:32 PM 2143 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Harvey Ellis Nightstand series Part 2: Legs »

My wife and I will soon start building our dream home in the country. When it’s completed, we’ll be absent both quality furniture to fill it and spare cash to buy any. It’s quite the dilemma. Fortunately, she likes the Stickley/Craftsman style and I have a nice stack of cherry. The plan is for me to build a bedroom set to replace our current collection of hand-me-downs and discount pieces from the meatball place.

We did some looking and both agreed that we liked the Harvey Ellis collection best. The long-term (emphasis on long) plan is to build the iconic 9-drawer dresser, a matching lowboy, and a pair of matching 3-drawer nightstands. I’ll tackle the nightstands now and save the big pieces for when the move is complete.

I did all my planning in SketchUp. Please send me a message if you’d like the file and I’d be happy to share it. As an aside, I cannot overstate the value of learning SketchUp: it’s fantastic. From the rendering, you can see I stayed fairly true to the original design, only softening the arches and adding some rails to the side panels. Why mess with history?

I’ll break this blog up by the various components (legs, rails, etc) but it’s not necessarily the order in which things are done. Presenting things completely linearly gets confusing, so please consider this a reference guide on the build rather than a set of instructions. And woodworking doesn’t pay the bills in this house, so excuse me if the time between entries is weeks, rather than days.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the blog. There are FAR better woodworkers on this site than me, but I think we all have something to share and contribute.


6 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3165 posts in 2406 days

#1 posted 02-03-2015 12:48 AM

Dave, I agree that Harvey Ellis designs are excellent to emulate. You and your wife have superb taste in furniture. I look forward to seeing your progress.

-- Art

View Mean_Dean's profile


6881 posts in 3296 days

#2 posted 02-03-2015 01:08 AM

A very ambitious project plan! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View DBrown52's profile


65 posts in 1879 days

#3 posted 02-03-2015 08:01 PM

Thanks fellas. I have about six hours in it so far, just getting the boards cut up and milled down to S4S and gluing up the thin side panels. That kind of work really eats up time. I’m excited to start with the actual woodworking soon. But a stack of surfaced cherry sure is pretty!

View handsawgeek's profile


648 posts in 1544 days

#4 posted 02-17-2015 04:20 PM

Hi, Dave,
Nice, ambitious project. I will definitely be following this series. Have fun!

-- Ed

View CaptainSkully's profile


1601 posts in 3707 days

#5 posted 03-26-2015 09:35 PM

Excellent choice! I made the gentleman's chest a few years ago along with some night stands and a matching headboard. It was a very rewarding project. I look forward to seeing your progress. FYI, my dresser takes two healthy, full-grown men to move. It’s very heavy and cumbersome. I bought a pair of arm forklift straps that I permanently store under the dresser for when I absolutely have to move it. Good luck!

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DBrown52's profile


65 posts in 1879 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 04:28 PM

Cap, I saw your gentlemen’s chest when I was “researching”. It’s very well done and was a big inspiration for this project, so thank you for sharing it.

I love the idea of two men and dedicated straps straining to move a piece of furniture. Reminds me of a great quote by Frank Lloyd Wright on well-built pieces: “I have been black and blue in some spot, somewhere, almost all my life from too intimate contacts with my own furniture.”

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