|Project by JLYoung||posted 01-26-2013 04:34 AM||3305 views||10 times favorited||16 comments|
I just completed this double dresser for our master bedroom to match the rest of the bedroom set, (see my other project posts). The dresser is red oak with a varathane “mission oak” stain and three coats of wipe-on poly.
It took me quite awhile to arrive at a design for this dresser but I feel comfortable saying it’s my very own design. I took some inspiration from some google image searches for this style of furniture but it wasn’t until I visited the Thos Moser showroom in Freeport Maine where I saw their american bungalow dresser that I was inspired by the idea of suspending the dresser carcase inside an external framework. This enabled me to build each carcase separately as a pretty straight forward shaker style dovetailed box with graduated drawers. Though I modelled the project in google skecthup, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. This project took be two years to complete. (Evenings and weekends with lots of other projects in between. So as one carcase was built, I finished it and lived with it for awhile. Though they functioned well, the were missing something aesthetically. Once the two carcases were installed into the external frame, it really came together nicely.
Each of the dresser carcases is joined using hand-cut dovetails at each corner. The web frames that support the drawers are connectedd to the side panels via sliding dovetails. Each of drawers is made with hand cut half blind dovetails at the front and through dovetails at the rear with 1/2” thick solid ash drawer bottoms. All of the secondary wood is white ash, including a frame and panel back for each dresser.
I encountered a couple of stumbling blocks with this project that I overcame that might serve as a warning to others:
1. I started this project in early spring and glued up all of the carcase panels and flattened them. I put them aside leaning against a wall and sitting on my shop’s concrete floor thinking I’d get right back to them. Then my wife gave me the green light to fence in my back yard. The oak panels sat there for a few months and when I finally got back to them, they had a serious bow in them. I tried getting the bow out by wetting down the concave side and clamping them flat to my bench with stickers and though it did work to an extent, it didn’t take all of the bow out. I ended up clamping a strongback across each panel to straighten it out as I cut the dovetails on each corner. Once the dovetails were assembled it took the bow right out at the corner but left a bit of bowing in the center of the panel. I got rid of this my hand planing the sides but in retrospect, I should have driven a screw from the drawer runners into the case sides. This would have pulled everything into alignment.
2. Due to having built this piece in three separate stages over two years, I struggled with the finish. I should have written down the steps I took for the first piece so I could replicate it later. Sanding oak to a higher grit on one piece versus the other or not adding the same number of coats of stain can create some visible discrepancies.
3. I had a real hard time routing the sliding dovetails in the case sides. I built a jig for my router with two fences to capture the router (which has a flat spot on it’s round base) but the darn router still wobbled. I think this was due to trying to hog out all of the 1/4” deep x 3/4” wide dado in one pass with a 3/4” wide 14 degree router bit. I should have hogged out the majority of the material with a straight bit first.