Unstable Dresser Help

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Forum topic by Scott posted 01-07-2016 01:59 AM 1436 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 1592 days

01-07-2016 01:59 AM

I’m in the process of building my wife a Cherry dresser. I got into wood working about a year ago. This is the first major project I’ve tackled. I just installed the legs onto the carcase of the dressed. I notices that the legs aren’t perfectly true as it rocks a little bit. I would say about 1/8”... What would be the best way to correct it? Hand plaining the high spots? Or should I install some pads so they don’t scratch the hardwoods and make one thinner than the others? Thanks in advance and I’m sorry I’m such a newbie!

Attached is a picture of it right now. It has an arch in the front and straight side legs

12 replies so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1324 days

#1 posted 01-07-2016 02:22 AM

Everything I have ever made rocks, it drives me mad. I am going to start making all things with three legs, much more stable!

In any case, when the four legged creature rocks, get it on something flat, get it leveled as best you can with a wedge under the short leg. To figure out what is the minimum needed to bring the other legs into the same plane, use a compass with a pencil or similar set to the height of the highest leg from the flat surface. Scribe the three long legs to this height with said compass, then cut them down as needed. This should eliminate the rocking.

As far as cutting them down, would probably depend on how far off they are. I have had some that only needed a few swipes with a plane, I have had to cut off 1/8 – 1/4”, then plane the saw cuts smooth. Whatever it takes.

Looks like a noce job otherwise, so pat yourself on the back for this one, and show us when it’s done!

-- Learn Relentlessly

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1139 days

#2 posted 01-07-2016 02:35 AM

that is a good looking dresser and a great first project.

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2861 days

#3 posted 01-07-2016 02:40 AM

Wait until you install it in place. Usually I find when the drawers get filled up they will usually self level. If not have some felt pads. If it is on carpet it will take care of itself.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3198 days

#4 posted 01-07-2016 06:00 PM

Is the floor level? My question in response for your question. The legs might be the same but are the other pieces, top to bottom, the same? IMHO, as a novice WWer, there are several small variables that come into play.

View HokieKen's profile


7560 posts in 1375 days

#5 posted 01-07-2016 08:49 PM

Nice looking dresser! I’m with jumbojack and Knothead, there are lots of reasons it may be rocking. I’d leave it alone until you get it in place, get it loaded and let it acclimate for a couple weeks. If it’s still rocking then, I’d follow your own idea and add a few felt “slider” pads to the offending corner to shim it up. If that doesn’t work out, take your block plane to the bedroom and fix it in place. Just my $.02

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2751 days

#6 posted 01-07-2016 09:03 PM

Yep – +1 for Jack and Knothead. Wait until done and filled. Bet it will settle.

I’d be more concerned that all the drawer openings are totally square and ready to accept drawers. Nothing worse than a sticking drawer due to a carcass movement.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View bondogaposis's profile


5150 posts in 2588 days

#7 posted 01-07-2016 10:49 PM

That should be the last step. Finish it up and put it in place, the floors where it will go may not be level either. Then make your adjustments.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Scott's profile


116 posts in 1592 days

#8 posted 01-08-2016 03:49 AM

Thanks for all your advice! I’ll hold off and see how it is after I get it finished.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2244 days

#9 posted 01-08-2016 02:00 PM

I’ve had good luck using these things over the years. The black spacers can be removed and/or use different thickness washers to adjust rocking furniture as necessary.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5234 posts in 2730 days

#10 posted 01-08-2016 02:16 PM

I think the part about your floor not being flat is part of the problem, shift it around a little and see if it changes. I wouldn’t do anything until it’s in place.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1636 days

#11 posted 01-09-2016 12:04 AM

Use leveling legs, like what washing machines have.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2912 days

#12 posted 01-09-2016 12:25 AM

If you put it on carpet, the back legs will sit on the tack strip while the front legs will sink into the pad so the leveling legs might work best. They are not expensive. You would only need two. Put them on the front.

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