Dresser: Planning & Purchasing

Published Friday, November 8, 2019 by Bryan

Over fifteen years ago, friends lent my wife a dresser that their children had once used. When we moved into our first apartment, and she recovered her own dresser from her parents, the lent dresser became mine (our friends were adamant that they did not want it back). It has functioned well. The case is solid, the drawers open and close just fine, the drawer bottoms hold. Being a children's dresser, though, it has never quite been able to hold all of my clothing. So, my next big project is to replace my child-size dresser with a gentleman's chest.

The dimensions are also relatively huge: approximately a foot wider and six inches taller than what I've been working with. That, in itself, should solve my space issues. I've chosen the chest style, because I think the cabinet to one side will work well for stacking sweaters, which are my main overflow item today.

I hadn't yet settled on which species of wood to use when I visited the lumberyard. The bed in the same room is maple. The mahogany in my coffee table was nice to work with. Alder is a nice, slightly less mainstream choice. After picking through the stacks at Aura Hardwoords, I settled on cherry. They had a few pieces with some very nice looking figure, and also a large selection of relatively clear 10 inch+ by 10-foot planks in 5/4.

One hundred board-feet of cherry planks for the drawer and cabinet fronts. Three sheets of 4x8-foot cherry plywood, for the back of the cabinet and the bottoms of the drawers. A stack of 9x48-inch baltic birch plywood for drawer construction. Not only did I have to borrow a trailer and towing vehicle, but I also had to rearrange my shop to fit it all.

The chest will be eighteen inches deep. Two sections of ten-inch plank need to be joined to fit that width. Sorting the planks to find untwisted, unchecked sections of the right lengths, and ranking the figuring for top versus front versus side was a physically tiring edition of the Towers of Hanoi game, as I stacked and restacked the pieces.

After some time acclimating to the shop conditions, cutting began...

Categories: Woodworking