Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Long Dresser

For the past few months I have been repopulating my new home with furniture.  One piece that I was holding off on was a dresser, since I am not too experienced with making drawers.  It's about time I become so!

For the size, I measured my existing dresser - which is now part of my guest room.  I then designed a basic dresser in SketchUp.

Like almost all my stuff, I plan on making this look quite rustic.  I then bought the wood needed.

I began by cutting the large boards first with my circular saw and guide.  These pieces will make up the carcass of the dresser.

I then drilled some pocket holes...

...and attached the pieces with pocket screws.

With the carcass together, I began work on the inner supports.  These were made with some 4x1's, cut to size with the miter saw.

Like the carcass, these were assembled using pocket holes and screws.

I had trouble getting the supports in while the carcass was together, so I disassembled the carcass to make it easier to attach the supports.

Once the supports were in I reassembled the carcass.

Next I started on making the face frame.  These were made from 3x1's cut to size with the Miter saw.

Like everything else in this project so far, the frame was assembled using pocket holes & screws.

Once the frame was complete I placed it on the front of the dresser.

The frame needed only minor readjustments to make sure everything was level.

Then I attached the face frame to the body using glue and brad nails.

Then I began sanding.  I used my belt sander...

....orbital sander....

...and mouse sander.

Recently I made some silly signs for my back yard.

For these signs, I purposely left a number of deep scratches in the wood so that the stain would really pick up on them after sanding. 

 The outcome was so neat that I decided to do the same thing for this dresser .  So while using a super coarse grit sand paper on my belt sander, I left several deep cuts and imperfections in the piece.

Once sanding was complete, I began making the drawers using leftover and new materials.

All the pieces were cut to size using my circular saw.

Since cutting and assembling the 6 drawers will take some time, I decided to apply wood filler to the body of the dresser.  Once I finish with the drawers, the filler should be dry enough to sand.

Once all the pieces of the drawers were cut, I assembled one drawer using pocket holes and screws.

The first drawer fit perfectly in the dresser.

Then I went ahead and made the remaining drawers.

The drawers needed bottoms...

...which I made by cutting thin plywood with my table and circular saws.

Then the bottoms were attached to the sides using glue and brad nails.

Then I sanded the piece once the filler dried, again leaving imperfections to enhance the look once stained.

Once sanding was complete, I clamped on some boards to the top.

I then drilled holes and screwed the new top to the body.

I trimmed the sides with my circular saw and guide.

Then I gave the top a good sanding. Again, I purposely sanded against the grain to produce some scratches - which will look cool once stained.

Next I used my router to trim the edges of the bottom of the drawers to make it level on all sides.

While I had my router out, I routed the top of the dresser to give the edges a nice look.

I used some thin pieces of particle board that I had...

...to start making tracks for the drawers.  This was no easy task since I had to nail and glue these in by hand - my brad nailer and staple gun could not fit inside.  Not having correct sized nails also made this difficult, so I used longer nails, and hammered them in at an angle.  

While the tracks dried I added wood filler to the top.

Once the tracks dried the drawers slid in and out nicely, but the further out each draw went, the more it would tilt downwards.

To fix that I screwed a small block of wood at the back of each drawer.

The drawer on the right has the block and comes out straight.  The drawer on the left has not block and tilts down.  Since this worked well I put blocks on the backs of each drawer.

When the filler on the top dried I sanded with my orbital sanders.

I still need to buy wood for the front of the drawers, so while I waited I decided to take out the drawers and put the main part on a tarp.

Then I stained it with a new, darker stain.

This stain looks great!  It's pretty dark, but also lets the wood grain show through nicely.

All those scratches and rough sanding I did earlier show through nicely as well!

Once I finally got the wood for the fronts of the drawers I cut them to size with my circular saw.

I marked the center points of each board.

Using the center points I aligned the handles I bought...

...and made marks for the drill holes.

Using these drill holes, I drilled each piece onto my work table.

Then I used my router to give each piece a nice edge.

Then I drilled each drawer onto the fronts.

I also screwed all the handles in to make sure they fit.  

Next I removed the handles and stained the drawer fronts.

Once the stain was fully dry I sanded everything to make it look more worn.

After a good cleaning, I applied polyurethane.

Once the poly dried I did a little sanding with fine sandpaper and attached the handles.

While the poly was drying I thought to put some blocks on the bottom corners to strengthen them.

These were held in place with screws and glue.

When everything was fully dry I put it in place in the bedroom.

This dresser looks awesome!

My girlfriend wasted no time putting her clothes in the drawers and her shoes on the bottom shelf.

Now that I successfully made a long dresser for my girlfriend, it's time I started making a tall dresser for me!
Thanks for reading!


  1. Great stuff, Tim! One thing I have found handy is to rub a candle along the bottoms of the drawer runners and tracks. They glide much more smoothly and don't wear as much. I recently scored an old chest of drawers about 50 years old and the hardwood drawer sides had worn down about 10mm (that's 3/8" to you! )

    1. Phil, thanks for the advice! I will definitely try that trick! I would love to see your new dresser!