Monday, June 1, 2015

Shoe Dresser

I love my girlfriend to death, but she does have a ton of shoes.  Luckily Ana White has a great solution for this - a shoe dresser!

You can see her posting by clicking here.

Using her plans as a guide, I began designing my own in SketchUp.

With my plans complete, I went out and bought the lumber I needed.

Next I began measuring and making crop marks for cutting...

...which I primarily did on my table saw.

Once all the pieces of wood were cut I began making pocket holes in all the wood pieces I needed.

First I made the drawer fronts using pocket screws.

For the uneven parts of the joints, I used a hand planer to smooth it out.

Next I made the pocket holes for the body of the dresser.

Then I began assembling it.  The body is pretty much a large frame at this point.

Next I put the body aside and went back to work on the drawers.  In order for the drawers to swing out, I needed to round off the sides.

I traced the sides and cut them out with my jigsaw.

Then I added more pocket holes.

Then I sanded the curved edges.

Next I began assembling the drawers with pocket screws.

When both drawers were done, I laid the whole thing flat and attached the middle board.

Not too bad so far.

Next the drawers needed backs, so I cut some thin wood with the miter saw.

I attached the backs with glue and brad nails.

There's a small gap above each drawer that I need to fix.

To fix that I bought 2 more pieces of wood.

I also bought one more larger piece of wood to make a nicer top.  But the board is too wide. I trimmed it on the table saw.

Then I routed the edges at the router table.

Lastly I attached the new top with screws.

Then I took those 2 boards from earlier and routed the edges.

I attached those boards to the tops of each drawer.

Now when the drawers are attached there are no gaps!

In Ana White's version she uses dowels as hinges for each drawer.  I opted to use actual hinges.

3 hinges for each drawer.

Next I marked positions for knobs on each drawer and drilled holes.

Then I attached the knobs.

Looking good!

Now it's time to tackle each drawer.  When it opens, it opens all the way.  I don't want this.   I need something that will keep it open about half way.

So I decided to use some belts that I have.  These fabric belts usually come with shorts that I buy, and I don't care for them.  But I think they will work well for this project.

I cut the belts with a pair of sharp scissors.

Then I began attaching them to the drawers using screws and washers.

When the drawer is pulled out, the belts keep them from opening all the way.

With all the excitement of working on the drawers, I forgot to finish working on the frame - specifically the bottom.  I need the whole dresser to be higher, so I began cutting some scrap wood I had...

...then drilling pocket holes into each piece.

I assembled a front and sides for the bottom.

I attached the bottom to the rest of the dresser using pocket screws.  I added some blocks to the bottom corners for extra stability using glue and brad nails.

Now it has a bottom - but it could look a bit nicer.

So I cut some more wood trim and attached it with more glue and brads.

For the last bit of construction I drilled some pocket holes into one more board.

I then attached that board to the upper back of the dresser.  This board will be used to mount the dresser to the wall.

Next I decided to test it all out.  I moved the dresser to where it's final home will be, against a wall in my bedroom.

I attached the dresser to the wall using screws.

The screws hold it in place nicely, especially when the drawers are open.

I placed some shoes into each drawer to further test the strength of the whole thing.

And the dresser works quite nicely!

But I'm not done yet!  I still need to do a bit of sanding, filling, staining, etc.  While bringing the dresser back into my workshop I noticed that the frame wobbles a bit.  This is because the frame is quite light compared to the swinging drawers attached.  Before I proceed with sanding and filling I need to strengthen the frame a bit.  I cut some scrap wood with my miter saw.

Then I used those pieces with screws and glue to strengthen the corners.

It was at this point I saw why the frame was wobbly - the middle shelf had broken.  I couldn't re-screw the piece since the screws were ripped out and the holes were stripped, so I used more wood to try and reinforce the area better.  Not the best way to handle it, but I didn't want to disassemble the whole thing and start cutting new wood, etc.  As bad as it look on the back, it is not noticeable from the front.

After everything was reinforced and the frame was strong, I applied wood filler to all the parts that needed it.

When the filler dried I gave the whole thing a thorough sanding.

Then I cleaned it up and prepped for staining.

Then stain was applied.

Once the stain dried I applied some satin clear coat.

When the clear coat dried, I reattached the handles and began sanding.

Once everything was sanded and smooth I gave it a thorough cleaning.

Then I moved it back to the bedroom and attached it to the wall.

I placed some of my girlfriend's shoes inside - something I'm sure she'll reorganize later.

I also threw some nic-naks onto the top (something else my girlfriend will most likely reorganize).  I'm done!

This thing holds about 12 pairs of shoes side-by-side.  Depending on your shoe size you could probably fit more - especially if they're flat shoes or sandles that you can stack on top of each other.

This was a project I've been wanting to make for quite a while.  It looks nice and matches the rest of our bedroom furniture.  It also saves floor space in our closet, where the shoes once were.

Thanks for reading!

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