Craftsman Style Double Dresser

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Project by JLYoung posted 573 days ago 2270 views 10 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

16 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


5285 posts in 1225 days

#1 posted 573 days ago

Really nice job on this one, it looks great.

View Dusty56's profile


11644 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 573 days ago

Very well done ! So many fine details : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View a1Jim's profile


112011 posts in 2204 days

#3 posted 573 days ago

Great job very nice dressers

-- Custom furniture

View JoeRPhilly's profile


92 posts in 779 days

#4 posted 573 days ago

I second Dusty, very well done! I really like the design

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 992 days

#5 posted 573 days ago

Interesting concept of the drawer carcass. Don’t think I have ever seen that design before.

Good looking job.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View david38's profile


1058 posts in 970 days

#6 posted 573 days ago

nice work

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 2183 days

#7 posted 573 days ago

Wow that is a good looking project

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View mbs's profile


1435 posts in 1567 days

#8 posted 573 days ago

I haven’t seen one of these before. Nice work! I like your other projects too.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Grumpymike's profile


1058 posts in 942 days

#9 posted 573 days ago

What a beauty, the pride in your work really shows here.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2199 posts in 1785 days

#10 posted 573 days ago

Okay, this is WAY too pretty to have so few comments! Really nice job on a gorgeous piece!

-- jay,

View Kyle's profile


109 posts in 1270 days

#11 posted 573 days ago

Wow, this is really nice. I hope it doesn’t take me two years to build the chest of drawers I’m building. I think I’m about 8 months into it and I’m just getting ready to glue it up.

I really like this… Great job.

-- Kyle

View SawdustSeamhead's profile


17 posts in 601 days

#12 posted 572 days ago

Wow, great looking dresser. I would say it was well worth the wait – turned out gorgeous!

-- Jarred K.

View pintodeluxe's profile


3322 posts in 1440 days

#13 posted 572 days ago

Great dresser, I have not seen dressers with this chest inside carcase design. I like it.
Well done on the dressers. I am just finishing up a pair of dressers, so I can relate to how much work they are.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View woodrookieII's profile


211 posts in 1290 days

#14 posted 572 days ago

Very nice.

I like the way the drawer dividers sit proud of the frame. Nice touch.


View Jero's profile


75 posts in 1613 days

#15 posted 570 days ago

Wow, looks great! Very original design.

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

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