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Forum topic by NBeener posted 10-07-2009 06:12 PM 1330 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

10-07-2009 06:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dresser jointery question

Hi there!

I hope the three-page .pdf doc will open, but will put a Plan B in place, in case.


I already built the storage bench. My wife put on urethane coat #2, this morning.

She loves the piece, though, and has asked me to scale it to make a TV stand/dresser.

So I did (the graph paper sheet. 1 square = 2 inches). The layout and dimensions seem to work out just fine, and I’ve been able to manage a “cut list” from it, but …

The original is built with pocket screws. Does anybody have any recommendations about whether pocket screws are still the right way to go with a much larger version of the same thing? If not, is there a better way to join this project? Though I have limited experience with any of this stuff, I now have a router, a comprehensive set of bits, a jointer, and a PC dovetail jig. I am not afraid, although I AM dangerous ;-)[

Plan B: Here’s the original storage bench:

I simply scaled it to a 5’ high version with a total (including top and bottom panels) of 5 shelves.



-- -- Neil

20 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2994 days

#1 posted 10-07-2009 06:39 PM

Hey Neil
Al ot of people would use biscuits or even screws with plugs ,but I would dado out the sides and glue it up.

-- Custom furniture

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 10-07-2009 06:51 PM

Thank you, Jim.

Would you do the same (dado + glue) for the uprights, too, or does that take too much away from structural integrity?

Also (I’ve bought a big stack of ww ref books, so … I can look into this, but), I presume buying my first dado stack (pant, pant) is easier than doing this sort of thing by router (particularly when I don’t yet have a table for it)??

Thanks again!

-- -- Neil

View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2994 days

#3 posted 10-07-2009 06:59 PM

Hey Neil
You will be fine grooving or rabitting out for the uprights. You can do both with a router if you have the right size bit. A good locking guide makes it easier. Many people use a dado blade in there table saw so if you wanted to buy one anyhow go for it. I like the router approach because I can see were the Dado or groove is being cut.

-- Custom furniture

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2758 days

#4 posted 10-07-2009 07:06 PM

yo with him jim !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#5 posted 10-07-2009 07:14 PM

Many thanks to you both!

My gut tells me I will get the dado stack for the sides, and then use a router+guide for the uprights. Two new skills figgered out.

Once I get started on this thing, I’ll blog it….

-- -- Neil

View Mauritius's profile


96 posts in 2643 days

#6 posted 10-07-2009 07:26 PM

Definitely a good idea to use both the router and the dado for the sake of figuring it out. I think that knowing when to use one vs the other is a huge skill that you can really only learn through experience (I’m getting there…) Personally I’m usually more comfortable with the dado and a TS sled. I have a good router, but setting up the straight edges/guides and making sure tearout isn’t a problem leaves a lot more things that I can screw up.

If I was going to do this (and I’ve never done anything to that scale) I would probably use rabbets for the edges and biscuits for the cross pieces. I tend to pick the most fool-proof method if appearances aren’t a consideration, and you can’t get much more fool-proof than a biscuit cutter.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3636 days

#7 posted 10-07-2009 08:32 PM

I agree with Jim that dado is the best way. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with that skill, I think screws and plugs would be a perfectly acceptable solution.

I cannot see your drawing, but here is an important piece of advice in case you didn’t include it in your design: Add a 3rd set of legs right in the center…. otherwise, you are quite likely to get some noticeable sagging over time once you load it up.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#8 posted 10-07-2009 10:26 PM

Thanks, Mauritius. Thanks, Charlie.

The third leg idea is a great one. I definitely overlooked that. The thought is that we’ll use baskets, and nothing more than clothes will be in the baskets, but … better safe than sorry.

I’m generally not opposed to picking up a new tool (I presume biscuit joiners are the only practical way….), so I’ll have to look at the biscuit concept.

At this point, I’m guessing that there are quite a few right answers and that … whichever looks preferable to me (fear factor, having appropriate tools, picking up a new skill, etc.) is as good a way to decide as any.

Thanks again!

-- -- Neil

View grizzman's profile


7780 posts in 2721 days

#9 posted 10-08-2009 12:20 AM

well it sounds like its under control…so ill leave my 2 cents in the cookie jar…what ever they said and a twist and turn here and there….if ya have any problems…get out the glue and caulk…...glad i could haelp ya out…lol…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#10 posted 10-08-2009 03:38 AM

Grizzman? I was shaky ‘til you chimed in :-)

Thanks, Bud!

I also just “found out about” the mysterious stopped dado. I’ll have to look into that one. Sadly, my wife saw it at the same time as me … and … liked it….

-- -- Neil

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3154 days

#11 posted 10-08-2009 04:01 AM

I think I would go with sliding dovetails.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#12 posted 10-08-2009 04:52 AM

John: After taking five minutes to watch this Fine Woodworking video ON sliding dovetails ...
I believe I may have wet myself just a tiny bit.

While the outcome would be really elegant and nuke-proof strong … I just dunno’ if I could do what that guy just did. I’ll look at some more info on the sliding dovetail, though, and give it some thought.

Many thanks!

[EDIT: I found another site or two that make it look FAR less difficult than I thought, watching the video … ‘specially since I DID buy a P-C dovetail jig!

I panicked. What can I say? ;-)]

-- -- Neil

View davidroberts's profile


1025 posts in 2903 days

#13 posted 10-08-2009 05:45 AM

in life as in woodworking, everything sags. hehe, i just had to say it. a third leg will stop that problem. as my plummer uncle was fond of saying, everything leaks. he thought that was being cute. his wife didn’t. i can’t see your plan set but the popular woodworking plan used pocket screws, which works, but i think they would show too much for your project. just my $0.02. if you cut grooves and rabbets, be sure to account for their measurement. I have been known to cut a panel a half inch too short….., a 1/4” on each end.

ps, Mr. Ormsby suggestion would really look sweet.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2591 days

#14 posted 10-08-2009 06:06 AM

David: Thanks. On the short bench, the pocket screws won’t show at all, but … I tend to agree with you on a 5’ high project.

Very good advice on counting the grooves and rabbets in the dimensions. I’ll modify that scale drawing to account for whichever joins I go with.

I’m going to pull the manual on my P-C 4212 jig (new in box), and see whether/how it would do the sliding dovetails. Maybe….

Incidentally, I tried to re-scan my drawing. It seems much more readable now.


-- -- Neil

View Luke's profile


545 posts in 2711 days

#15 posted 10-08-2009 06:21 AM

I think that if you dado them you will still want a strong back piece to keep everything from wanting to rack left to right. Actually if there is a back piece (plywood) to this, that would be where your strength would come from. You could rabbit that into the backs of the whole project for a real nice fit, then glue and brad. Sliding dovetails would be the best but I certainly could not do them well enough with my setup so I can’t recommend.

-- LAS,

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