Router Forums banner

Chest of drawers

5688 Views 25 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  TwoSkies57

here are a few pics of the chest of drawers I've been working on. Believe me, the pictures don't do the graftline walnut justice... By the time I got done cleaning up the walnut there wasn't as much as I had hoped. So I took and resawed it, then book matched all but 2 of the drawer fronts. I kinda like how it turned out. The frame is cherry.


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
1 - 12 of 26 Posts
Thank ya Sean..
well folks.. seems like every project has a story *S* Part of this one is that earlier today I meet up with a friend who is just getting started in woodworking. And to be honest, has been just a tad bit annoying with just over 237,233.290 questions to date. But he's a good guy, and well intentioned so we all do what we can do. Today he mentioned to me about a guy about 20 minutes away who has a veneer shop. Well, my ears perked up. Since I decided to do the side panels in a veneer to eliminate any chance of expansion issues this was just the right guy at just the right time. I took a ride out after work, stopped in at his shop and was just blown away. I don't know which surprised me more, the fact I didnt' know about this fella, or the inventory he had on hand!!! (I won't even get into the 50+ year old "billets" of 16x20x60 CUBAN mahogany, drool, drool, droollllllll) anywaysssss.......
He showed me around his shop, his stock area, his whole place, IT WAS A BLAST!!! I ended up buying 4 real nice 10 foot x 12" wide, thick cut pieces of cherry veneer (1/8"). We got to talking and long story short (yeah, right) he told me, cut the birch ply, size out the veneer and bring it into him and he'll take and vacuum press it for me, for nothing. Vacuum pressing flat panels is the absolute best way to go with veneers. so, needless to say, I'm pretty excited *S

so for those interested, the plan is to do both side panels with veneered cherry, to go along with the frame. I have yet to pick out the top wood. I want the drawers and the top to be the focal points of the piece. Hence, sticking with the cherry frame and side panels. The drawer sides are 1/2" maple and the bottoms will be birch ply. The claro graftline walnut really pops. You should see it when its wiped down with just water. As for the finish.. I'm quite honestly, undecided. or to be more honest, just dont' know what to use. Whatever it will be, it will have to be applied by hand. I've picked out a nice antique cherry oil stain for the cherry to darken it up just a bit. I don't want to hide the walnut, so it will most likely just be a clear coat of something, possibly poly, maybe tung oil. I will look into shellacs as well.

some days are just better than others..*S*
See less See more
Ain't that the truth Deb!!! *S*

Just a lil side bar here, If you look at the middle drawers, they appear much darker than the rest of the piece. however, once wetted down, it all comes together nicely....

yep, splines are first, I thought that they really didn't 'fit' the look of the COD. But once the drawer fronts were done, I'm fine with em now, I think of it as one of those little things that kinda get overlooked, but in the end, really add just a lil somethin/somethin to the piece.
Construction really isn't anything special, splines, pocket holes and glue will pretty much be it. and definitely alot of clamps..especially on the draw fronts. as for gotcha's *L* none yet. I'm sure everybody goes about things just a lil different so I'll just say I started with the legs. 100 percent sure they were all 4 identical. All of the drawer supports were cut to 'exact lengths and assembled square. Alot of tappin, checkin, tappin and double checkin and then clamping. In my opinion, the first drawer support was critical. True left to right and front to back. Once that was accomplished everything else above it was a piece of cake. I used 1/4" ply for spacers cut to the correct height. Since the COD drawers go from largest on the bottom, to smallest at the top, I just had to recut the spacer after the preceeding drawer support was put in place.
Drawer fronts were all cut a little oversize so I could get at and "fit" em properly with a lil block plane.

cut the veneer to length last night and decided it was just a little to 'wavy' to attempt to glue up with with a vac. press. So I ordered some veneer conditioner to relax the wood before I cut to fit. I'll take a few more pics for those interested...

Thanks to all for the nice comments *S*
See less See more
well, finally getting ready to deliver the chest of drawers to my grandson. *S*.... Lets see now, its only been six months in the making...Man, the older you get, the faster it goes. Ran into a few bumps along the road, but nothing that couldn't be handled or at least delt with! Biggest problem I had was that the drawer fronts (1/8th inch clairo walnut veneers that I cut and the drawer backs (black walnut) decided that they all wanted to warp, cup, twist or any combination of the three on me big time. Im not exactly sure why, but the obvious answer is that the wood simply wasn't dry enough. Live and learn as they say. I will be keeping an eye out for a good moisture meter now!!! One veneer had to be completely replaced and as luck would have it, it was the only piece that I had enough wood to make two pieces. So I just hand planed it down, and put on the new piece and life is good again.
Drawer construction is pretty straight forward using drawer locks supported by walnut dowels. I went with dowels just for something a bit different. I do like the look and am pleased with how they turned out. but honestly, looking at the finished project dovetailing is defiantly the way I should I have taken. I think dovetails would have added that 'extra' touch.
The side panels are thick veneer curly cherry over 1/4" bb ply. This was my first attempt at good sized panels and veneering. Talk about sweating bullets. *L* but it turned out better then I could have hoped. Seams are flush, and the veneer went down perfectly flat. I don't recall who told me about veneer relaxer??? I do recall it was a member and I'd like to give em a great big thanks. the stuff worked just great! Even on thick (1/16") veneer. A half gallon of this stuff and a spritzer bottle will last most of us a lifetime.



See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
bout the only thing left to talk about is the top. there is an old saying that goes: "there is no accounting for taste" so some may like this, some may not. I will say that this is in my opinion the nicest piece of woodworking that I've done to date. The pictures do NOT do it justice. Long story short, a while back, I stopped up at a not so local lumber yard. Horizon Wood Products in Ridgeway Pa. Looking for a piece of crotch walnut for the dresser top. They had nothing that I could really afford and started looking for a plan "B". Each month they have a "Item of the month". A few months prior to my going up, they had 4 pieces of Pin Knot clustered cherry. A customer only wanted 3 and so they had the 4th left over. I can only imagine how the 3 looked *S*. Horizon made me an offer I could not refuse of the odd piece. 8'x18-22"x2". I went for it. took it home and cut the board into 2 four foot section. Resawed one of the halfs. I had to pick and choose how I cut the veneers (1/8th") in order to get the maximum number of clusters in each piece. This turned out to be an awful lot of work. I had to hand saw every thing after taking a few passes with the TS to give me a 3" kerf to work with. Once sawn I then had to hand plane to thickness since this stuff seemed to want to clog up the sandpaper in my drum sander like nothing I've ever pushed through it before. Just a good excuise to give my new LV low angle smoother a run for its money. When it was all said and done, I was most pleased with the results.
The finish schedule was pretty straight forward.
Top: 3 coats of poly followed by 4 coats of wipe on poly
Drawers: poly and wipe on poly. HUGE mistake, not taking an applying a sealer prior to the poly. The clairo just sucked up the first several coats of poly. I was pretty amazing actually. You never would think that it would suck it up like a sponge. Drawer interiors were all done with no wax shellac.
Carcass/Panels: Frame (cherry) and side panels (curly cherry veneers) sand down to 400 then:
Zinzer Bullseye "wax free" shellac: one hand rubbed application. Applied liberally with a cotton rag and then 'buffed' it out with clean cotton rags. I used this as a seal coat but was totally surprised with how nicely it brought out the grain on its own.
2nd and 3rd coats were minwax Gel Stain: Cherrywood 607. Both applications were done with a balled up cotton t shirt, Lightly applied, let to dry then quickly buffed down.
4th coat was on panels only: Minwax Gel Stain: Mahogany 605. lightly applies as before then buffed down with cotton rags.
5th thru 8th topcoats were minwax wipe on satin poly. I really hated to use a poly on this piece, but given its intended use, it was the best choice. A lacquer would have been the ticket!!!

then with some of the scraps, I decided to make a picture frame to go with the top..
so....hope ya like ..


<<<you'll have to excuse the dust in some of the pictures...been a busy weekend...>>>


See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1

Looking great! Thanks for the information; it helps!

Thanks Cass, not much 'how to stuff', that woulda just taken too long...Like most things, it was just one big learning experience that I enjoyed thoroughly. *S*
I have a real passion for highly figured and deep grained woods. I would say your project is simply spectacular! Sometimes gloss finishes really don't work well on furniture but your finishing made everthing about that chest just pop! It's the kind of piece you just want to spend a long time looking at. AWESOME!
Thank You Deb.. *S*. I appreciate the kind words..
The clairo walnut is just spectacular.. no doubt..I just wish everyone could get a real
feel for how the pin knot cherry top looks. As for the finish, I'm with you.. not a big high gloss guy, often it just gives the piece a kind of plastic look. Since this is for a four year old, wild man,, it needed some protection *LOL* I think the flash gave it more of a gloss look than it actually has. I used a satin finish on everything.

I have a real passion for highly figured and deep grained woods. I would say your project is simply spectacular! Sometimes gloss finishes really don't work well on furniture but your finishing made everthing about that chest just pop! It's the kind of piece you just want to spend a long time looking at. AWESOME!

Thank ya James!!!
*S* Thank you for the kind words Jerry!!! very much appreciated, indeed...*S*

As for your brother-in-laws thinking.............
Hmmmmmmmmmmm says I.. I can understand where repeated coats of a satin finish would actually "haze" after repeated applications. Hence, using a gloss to maintain the clarity then finish with the satin. Interesting idea. I've done alot of reading of late regarding finishes and finishing and never heard that. It does make sense to me. Definately something to remember. thanks for the tip!!

If you get the chance, give shellac a try. I used Zinzeer clear/blonde w/wax on the shooting board I just made. Gave the wood a rear nice glow. Easy a pie to apply, doesn't smell things up at all. Quite a pleasure to work with...
Nice Job Bill I like how you book matched the drawer fronts. This will be a heirloom piece for generations to come.

thank ya Dan.... *S*

from the looks of it, their will be two heirloom dressers out there now. *S*.. Great job with the maple dresser on your part..
1 - 12 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.