Need some guidance building my first dresser.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by Alonso posted 07-28-2009 10:05 PM 14954 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3260 days

07-28-2009 10:05 PM

As the tittle says, I need some help/guidance on how to build my first dresser.

Basically I need to know what’s the best wood to use on this project, I have no preference I just need to know the kind of wood that will look great and will last many years, maybe a source for the wood could be helpful, since there’s no many lumber yards close by (not that I know) just some HD’s and all they carry is Poplar and Red Oak. I’m located in Norwalk CA if anyone knows of a lumber place close by please let me know.

Also what’s the best finish I can apply to that specific wood?

Any other tip/technique that I should know will be very helpful.



-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

6 replies so far

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 3463 days

#1 posted 07-29-2009 03:12 AM

The wood is whatever you like for a supplier google hardwood lumber and norwalk ca there is reel lumber im not sure if they are near you. as for finish you will have to look at the other jocks projects made from the wood you pick and ask them what they use. I hope this helps good luck


View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3347 days

#2 posted 07-29-2009 03:36 AM

Well, as a beginner I always gear to making my “firsts” in pine because I won’t cry so hard if I screw it up. As such, applying a wood conditioner, then gel stain, then varnish… does the trick for me.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#3 posted 07-29-2009 03:38 AM

any wood that you would like to play with. hardwoods would take better abuse. maple, cherry, oak would be a good start.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#4 posted 07-29-2009 04:13 AM

I thought about it more- and mtkate has a good valid point… since this is a first – it might be easier to work on softer lumber – in which case, pine, or poplar might be better choices!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3507 days

#5 posted 07-29-2009 04:41 AM

what purplev said. cherry is prone to blotching though if you don’t use a wood sealer first before finish. it adds character but some don’t like the effect. but there is nothing much prettier than a fine cherry chest of drawers. it also depends on the style. shaker used clear pine alot. more traditional furniture in maple, cherry and walnut, and mission-arts and crafts in white oak stained and glazed dark. personally walnut is a bit to dark for me and has wide open pores. an oil finish is easy but leaves no protection. you have to pay special attention if you use oil on an open pored wood. seal first. oil is fine if you top coat with poly or something similar. one other item, you will probably use some type of veneered plywood for the sides, so be careful in matching the woods for finishing.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 3966 days

#6 posted 07-29-2009 05:21 AM

I built my first dresser with cherry and maple. I absolutely love working with cherry. Love the smell of it, look of it. It’s easy to work. For me, it’s much easier to work compared to oak or pine. I used boiled linseed oil (BLO), followed by blonde shellac and wax finish. Personally, I like the natural look of these types of basic traditional finishes and enjoy applying them. I do try to select boards that have consistent color and nice grain that works together and sometimes it comes out nice.

Like other’s have said, I’d look around, especially on here, and see what types of wood and finishes you like for a dresser. Another factor is what is available locally. Cherry, for example, is really affordable in NY, but may not be where you live.

Good luck!

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics