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Sweet Chest of Drawers Build #1: In over my head?

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Blog entry by Kyle posted 11-26-2012 03:11 AM 1505 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Sweet Chest of Drawers Build series Part 2: More wood and some rough dimensioning »

I’ve been living in Washington since 2008 and when I moved out here, I bought a crummy little dresser from a garage sale. That dresser is falling apart and it’s about time I got something to replace it. I wanted something solid, heavy, beautiful, and made of real wood. Since I’ve started woodworking the only piece of furniture I’ve built is a coffee table and a couple of smaller projects that aren’t furniture. Why would I take on the challenge of a chest of drawers when I’ve never built anything like it and have no experience building anything like it? Why, because I’ve never built anything like it and have no experience building anything like it, of course. I bought the initial batch of wood and began building back in April of 2012 and it’s now November 25th, 2012, today.
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The reason it’s taken this long to get to where I am is because I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m 30 and going through college to get my Nursing degree with a full time job in an operating room, and time to play with fun tools is minimal. I’m not done with this chest of drawers yet and I decided to start this blog because I’ve been itching to share the build with the community that has been sharing with me. I’m pretty far on this project but there’s still a ways to go and I plan on catching you guys up.
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I bought a bunch of sapele from a hardwood store in Olympia, WA, called Hardel’s. That’s the best place to go for me without driving over an hour away, so they get all my business when it comes to exotics. Throughout this process, I’ve made a couple trips because I don’t know how much wood I’ll need for this. As of today, I believe I have enough. I have a whole bunch of sapele for the carcass and a bunch of poplar for the inside. I’m not sure what I’ll do for the drawer sides at this point but I do have some stuff that I’ll share with you in the future.
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This first batch of pictures is what I initially bought. It’s certainly not enough for what I plan on building but it’s a good start. The boards with the best figure will obviously be used for the drawer fronts.


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I made a really silly drawing of what I’m after and tried to make a cut list. The funny thing about the cut list is that it’s so far off in measurements that all I really look at is the picture. I made the cut list and the day I made it was probably the only day I ever referred to it. This has a been a, “figure it out as I go,” kind of project. I know what I want it to look like, and now I have to figure out how to make it look like what I want. At this point, all I know is that I want it to be about 4’ tall, 18” deep, and about 36” wide. We’ll see how this turns out.
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Can you read it clearly? I can’t really either. It’s more of a poster in the garage rather than a plan. The dimensions are very very very rough.
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So up to this point the plan is to build this baby frame and panel style with sliding dovetail drawer dividers and everything else are just details. How I’m going to accomplish this is probably more of a mystery to me than you guys since you all have a lot more practice than me. Being my second piece of furniture, hopefully I’m not throwing my money away and ruining some gorgeous wood. We’ll see how this goes. I can confidently say that I will definitely make this harder than it should be. Are you guys in?

-- Kyle



4 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9894 posts in 1271 days


#1 posted 11-26-2012 06:27 AM

Kyle, I’m with you. How you doing the sliding dovetails? You a ‘lectric tool guy, i.e., routah?

Beautiful wood, BTW. Never heard of sapele before!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View derosa's profile

derosa

1556 posts in 1488 days


#2 posted 11-26-2012 06:29 AM

Good luck with this, I’ve needed to start on a pair of them for a long time and even bought the wood about the same time you did, mine aren’t even on the horizon. Try not to think of it as throwing your money away, think of it as the ongoing cost of an education. Learning is expensive and sometimes it means throwing good money at something to get the experience.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Kyle's profile

Kyle

109 posts in 1296 days


#3 posted 11-26-2012 06:37 AM

Thanks guys

Smitty—I’m a little bit of both. I’ll be doing the sliding dovetails with a router though. About the sapele, when I told the guy at the store that I wanted some, I learned very quickly that I was pronouncing it wrong. I kept calling it suh-pell but I guess it’s pronounced suh-pay-lay.

Derosa—However this chest of drawers turns out, it’ll be put to use. Thanks for the well wishing. I hope you guys can enjoy what I’ll be putting together.

-- Kyle

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1178 posts in 1276 days


#4 posted 12-13-2012 01:42 AM

Wear a mask when cutting this stuff the dust is very fine. I sucked in a little too much and got funky for a day or two. You may have no problem, but Im gettin on in years and little things that never used to bother me, slap me around now. Youve got a nice pile of lumber there. Sapele mills really nice and the grain is very attractive. I hear it pronounced around here anyway SA-Pee-Lee

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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