|Project by JerseyTiger||posted 07-14-2015 01:30 PM||2372 views||17 times favorited||9 comments|
This is my first woodworking project. My wife and I are expecting our first child within the next month, so I thought I would make use of all the tools I’ve been buying since we moved into our first home together (and perhaps somewhat, maybe just a little bit, justify my purchase of these tools to my wife), and build a dresser/changing table for the nursery. I like the idea that the dresser will be appropriate for a person of any age and the baby can keep the furniture as it grows up. It may go out of style, but it won’t fall apart.
A few people have posted their builds of the same dresser here on lumberjocks, such as this one.
I made a few modifications to the plans from Makely Home, most notably building the drawer boxes with lock rabbet joints, and changing the legs a bit. I also opted for higher quality wood.
The carcase is made from high quality veneer core 3/4” birch ply and edge banding, and was assembled with pocket screws and glue. The pocket screws worked remarkably well. The box was dead square (within a 1/16”) after initial assembly and I didn’t need to use any clamps in the process, which is useful because I do not have any clamps long enough to span the entire dresser (57”). I’m guessing this was dumb luck and it won’t work as well the next time.
The drawer fronts and base frame are black cherry and are assembled with pocket screws and glue, and mounted to the carcase with screws alone. I had a heck of a time breaking down the leg blanks with my table saw. Since I don’t have a jointer, I made a straight line ripping jig for “jointing” the blanks (and the drawer fronts). I had to flip the leg blanks and cut from both sides since my table saw blade wouldn’t cut all the way through on one pass. I then made a lousy tapering jig for the taper. The 1/2” ply for the taper jig base warped a bit when I applied clamping pressure with two toggle clamps I used. The next taper jog I do will be with a 3/4” ply and better clamps. I ended up doing most of the real jointing and cleaning up of the tapers with a stanley 4 1/2 plane clone. I’ve never really used hand tools before so that was something of a learning experience with fixing up the plane and sharpening it and not screwing up the legs all at the same time. It may not show through in the photos but the legs came out smoother than any sandpaper can manage. I’m kinda sad that the best parts of the dresser have to be hidden under it and against the floor.
The drawer boxes are 1/2” baltic birch and 1/4” birch ply for the drawer bottoms. The joints are the simpler kind of lock rabbet joints. I ran those on a table saw with a dado set. I also cut grooves for the drawer bottoms with the same dado setup. While I’d like a prettier joint, and I’d like to try my hand at some dovetails or finger joints, for simple dresser drawer boxes mounted on slides I think the lock rabbet joint is plenty strong enough and should last a lifetime.
I installed the drawer boxes first, then attached the fronts at the end. The fronts are attached with glue and screws. The screws were just used for precise holding while the glue set, so I could get the best alignment of all the faces from the front. Given the difficulties of installing the slides (what a nightmare), the boxes are all slightly out of alignment so I corrected the visual impact of this by making sure the faces were aligned properly relative to each other and the carcase.
Except for the legs, which I bought as blanks from www.woodsbygwgreen.com, all the wood was purchased from a local lumber yard, Mr. Roberts of Barrington, New Jersey. The slides are KV TT100 slides. The pulls are bronze edge pulls from cabinetparts.com. I would have preferred to put in notched hand holds in the drawer faces, but my wife wanted pulls so here we are.
The white paint on the exterior is Benjamin Moore Advance in chantilly lace. I put on a coat of oil based primer first, then two coats of the Advance, then applied S.C. Johnson’s paste wax. The drawer faces and base were finished with Watco Danish Oil, then five coats of Minwax rattle can lacquer.
While not pictured here, I also built a removable frame to sit on top of the dresser to use it as a changing table, and to enclose the changing pad.
All in all, I’m glad I was able to see this thing through to completion. It seemed like it would be a lot easier and take less time at the beginning, but it ended up a couple of months of intermittent nights and weekends. It was also a nice excuse to put the basement shop in working order.