Dresser: Feet

Published Thursday, January 23, 2020 by Bryan

While I could leave the case of this dresser flat on the ground, elevating it slightly has some advantages, like being able to pull out the bottom drawer without it running into my foot. How it is elevated offers different tradeoffs. If elevated with a skirt that spans the front, then dust gets hidden away, and the base gains some rigidity. If elevated with feet, a small additional storage space is gained.

I think inch-thick solid cherry shouldn't need much extra rigidity, and I can't argue with a place to kick my slippers. So, I'm going with feet, and aiming for a "modern" look.

I do think this dresser is going to be heavy, so I want a wide footpad to distribute the pressure. I started by glueing two inch-thick scraps together, to form a short two-inch thick board.

I kept the design basic otherwise. The foot is basically rectangular, with front and back parallel. The sides are leaned in the same direction, with the outside edge closer to 90º than the inside edge. The base of the foot is a square, and the sides taper up to a slightly elongated rectangular top.

I oriented the grain of the wood to be inline with the outside of the foot. This helps avoid an easy shear line that could chip off the acute outer edge. I also eased all the exposed edges with a sanding block at 45º as an additional precaution.

I glued and screwed the feet onto the bottom of the dresser. It's an endgrain-to-long-grain joint, so not the strongest. Most of the time the strength of the joint won't matter, because the stress on the feet will just be the weight of the dresser pushing on them. Securing the feet in this manner is mostly insurance against knocking them off while moving.

Normally for a glue-up like this, I would clamp the piece in position and pre-drill screw holes. Starting the screws through one piece then helps align everything once the glue is in place. This method was too awkward for this piece, though, so I fell back on a similar trick using wire brads. First I nailed two brads about halfway into the feet. I used wire snips to clip the exposed end of the nail to a point about a quarter inch above the top of each foot. I then placed the feet where I wanted them and pressed those "pins" into the base board. Pulling the pins out of the base board again was easy. Once I had glue spread over the mating faces, I located the pins back into the holes they made, and squeezed on the clamps without worrying about the glue making things slippery.

Once the glue had dried, I drilled and counter-sunk holes for screws. I used a sliding bevel set to my target angle to align my drill by eye. The screws are canted in opposing directions, with the idea that this would better support a knock in any direction.

Now the feet are permanently attached. I've done this before glueing the case together, because it's going to be difficult to access the bottom of this dresser in my tiny shop after glue-up. This will also reduce the area that I need to protect from the cement floor.

Categories: Woodworking