|Project by mitchota||posted 355 days ago||1020 views||2 times favorited||11 comments|
Moving along with making some furniture for my bedroom, a dresser was up next. I decided to make a chest of drawers for my fiancee’s Japanese dance clothes. I debated making a Japanese style tansu, but I wanted to use the joinery techniques that I already knew and I didn’t want to have to spring for all the metal hardware that it would have taken to properly make one.
I took a Shaker-styled design to this chest, and I built it out of birch plywood and solid #2 pine from the orange Borg. I didn’t want to make some edge-glued panels on this project and so I went with plywood for the main case parts, the bulk of the top, and the drawer boxes. My original plan was to make this with oak plywood and solid oak, but they didn’t have any oak ply when I went to buy the material, so I had to make an executive decision on the materials. The plus side of that decision is that I must have easily saved a fair bit of money.
Construction wasn’t too much of a challenge except for the drawer fronts, which stemmed from my lack of ability to select proper stock. The drawer fronts and all the trim parts are made of solid #2 pine. I liked the look of having some knots on the surface. I think it adds some nice character. Drawer joinery was done with locking rabbets—I don’t have a dovetail jig and I do not have the hand tool skills (or tools) to properly make hand-cut dovetails.
On this project, I got to work on my finishing skills more. Being that pine and birch ply can be notoriously blotchy when staining, I went the route of treating the wood, coloring with a water-based aniline dye, and then using wipe-on poly for the protective coats. I used glue sizing made from Elmer’s Glue-all diluted with water (1 part glue to 5 parts water) first. The dye was the Pilgrim Maple color of J.E. Moser’s Aniline Dye Stain. The wipe on poly was homemade using Ace Great Finishes semi-gloss polyurethane thinned with mineral spirits in a 50/50 mix. I used water-based Varathane satin poly for the insides of the drawer boxes. I’m hoping that will be durable enough. The final color really turned into a surprise because when I put the dye on, it was a sort of drab brown, but when I put the poly on top of it, it turned into a honey gold that looked great.
I glued up a panel from the drawer fronts I messed up along the way, and so the next thing I’m making for my room is my nightstand. I have to get a couple more pine boards to put that together. I think I’m going to follow the same plan I used for the poplar nightstand I made recently. But before that, I have to make a shop project. As a result of my complaining about the lack of quality of stock, I was in the market for a planer. I was looking at a fairly cheap planer while I saved up for something better. My fiancee had other ideas and got me a DeWalt 735 as a late birthday present. So now I need to make a mobile base for that.
I’ll probably need a little more plywood to put together the mobile cart for my planer, but that’s going to be the next thing I make. Have to clean up the garage a little first, though. My shop always turns into a disaster area during the course of projects…