Boy's Cherry and Walnut Dresser #1: Designing A New Dresser for Our New Son

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Blog entry by Patrick Jaromin posted 07-30-2008 02:34 PM 4449 reads 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Boy's Cherry and Walnut Dresser series Part 2: Legs shaped, sides assembled and Ouch! »

A few months back, we learned that we were expecting our third child. My wife, the youngest of five kids, is adamant that this child have their very own crib and dresser. Who am I to argue? A couple weeks ago we learned it was a boy – so, I set off to design and build a “masculine” dresser.


My first step was to review some of my favorite projects on I’ve added references to these projects at the end of this post. They’re all excellent…check ‘em out!


With those pieces in mind, I set out to design the new dresser. Here’s my current Sketchup rendering:

The light colored wood represents cherry and the dark, walnut. I spent some time debating reversing the side panels, that is, using walnut for the frame and cherry for the raised panel. This seems somehow more “right” since it more closely echos the drawer/face frame arrangement of the front. Howver, I just didn’t like the look as well. Feel free to tell me if you think otherwise! Also, since I enjoyed the “hand cut dovetail” process so much on the kid's bench project, I figured I’d do a whole bunch of ‘em for the drawers. I’d never really considered using through dovetails for drawers, but I liked the look of them so well on the design references below, I figured I’d give ‘em a try here!

Decisions Remain

I’m still unsure what I want to use for pulls. I’m nearly positive that I will be crafting them in the shop out of hardwood…but I’m still looking for just the right design. Anyone have any ideas? Also, as with most of my pieces, I intend to customize this one with an inlay or two. I’m still unsure of the “what” and “where” at this point. I’m considering a pattern that cuts across a number of drawer fronts—but with the child due to arrive in early November, that may simply be too much to finish in time!

Google SketchUp!

Here’s my SketchUp drawing for anyone who’s interested in playing with it.

I’ve yet to cut my first board and wholeheartedly welcome any suggestions, comments or criticisms (preferably constructive ;) ).


Design References

There are many examples of inspiring design and craftsmanship on Here are the ones I used while working on my design. Thanks, guys!

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(Originally posted at

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

9 comments so far

View Timber4fun's profile


218 posts in 3627 days

#1 posted 07-30-2008 02:57 PM

Great sketchup. That is going to look terrific. You picked some great inspirational projects to work from. I made a canoe. Can you incorporate that into your design? :) I think it is wonderful that you have taken ideas from other LJ members. Kudos to you. I’ll be interested in seeing how it turns out. I could use one of those for myself.

-- Tim from Iowa City, IA

View beaudex's profile


65 posts in 3665 days

#2 posted 07-30-2008 05:42 PM


This is quite a coincidence. I too am build a cherry dresser for my first son. I have been playing with a design I got from an older FWW article. The original set of of plans is very simliar to the one above by MattD. I am trying to make it larger but maintain the nice design lines.

I have all the rough cherry, I had not planned on using multiple species but seeing your design makes me rethink the idea. It would be interesting to see the 2 finished designs and products when we are done.

Cheers, and good luck.


-- Derek Tay, Venerate the Tree Design

View NICUTO's profile


27 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 07-30-2008 08:19 PM

I really like your rendering. it will be a great piece. Something like that is on my “to-do” list but no kids, for me! anyways, as for the side panels i think that you should swap ‘em. walnut frame with cherry panel. it will mimic the layout of the drawers better i think. smaller accent of walnut surrounding a larger section of flowing cherry grain. just my thoughts. good luck on this one. cant wait to see it!


-- Nick, Maine;

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

405 posts in 3859 days

#4 posted 07-30-2008 10:33 PM


Derek – Congratulations! Yes, my wife is insistent that I make these on the ‘large’ side. My first one for my daughter is a bit small and simply won’t contain all of her clothes, even at 2-1/2! I’ll be updating the blog as I go—I’d love to see your piece as well.

Nick – I exported a modified version with the species in the side panels ‘flipped’...


Design alternative with walnut frame and cherry panels

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3740 days

#5 posted 07-30-2008 11:59 PM

I agree with nick . I love both walnut & cherry but in this case the place for the walnut is definatly as an acent. I would consider walnut for the handels. Don’t under build , this is the kind of piece that should never be outgrown.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4117 days

#6 posted 07-31-2008 02:21 AM

Good start. I suggest making the legs the left and right side of the frame like Todd’s. I would also do a flat panel to go along with the arts and crafts / asian feel.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

405 posts in 3859 days

#7 posted 07-31-2008 02:45 AM


Yeah, I’m thinking you’re right about the panel. They may even be a good spot for some simple inlay work.

As for the legs, I wasn’t quite sure how to make the second curve in SketchUp…so I just left it flat in the front. And now you’ve made me admit it. :)


-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View Grumpy's profile


23997 posts in 3878 days

#8 posted 07-31-2008 11:07 PM

Looks great Patrick. I like that design.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3842 days

#9 posted 08-17-2008 11:46 PM

Hi Patrick. This piece is begging for some Krenov style handles IMO. Small and unobtrusive.

-- Scott - Chico California

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