Craftsman Style Double Dresser

  • Advertise with us
Project by JLYoung posted 01-26-2013 04:34 AM 5974 views 11 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just completed this double dresser for our master bedroom to match the rest of the bedroom set, (see my other project posts). The dresser is red oak with a varathane “mission oak” stain and three coats of wipe-on poly.

It took me quite awhile to arrive at a design for this dresser but I feel comfortable saying it’s my very own design. I took some inspiration from some google image searches for this style of furniture but it wasn’t until I visited the Thos Moser showroom in Freeport Maine where I saw their american bungalow dresser that I was inspired by the idea of suspending the dresser carcase inside an external framework. This enabled me to build each carcase separately as a pretty straight forward shaker style dovetailed box with graduated drawers. Though I modelled the project in google skecthup, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. This project took be two years to complete. (Evenings and weekends with lots of other projects in between. So as one carcase was built, I finished it and lived with it for awhile. Though they functioned well, the were missing something aesthetically. Once the two carcases were installed into the external frame, it really came together nicely.

Each of the dresser carcases is joined using hand-cut dovetails at each corner. The web frames that support the drawers are connectedd to the side panels via sliding dovetails. Each of drawers is made with hand cut half blind dovetails at the front and through dovetails at the rear with 1/2” thick solid ash drawer bottoms. All of the secondary wood is white ash, including a frame and panel back for each dresser.

I encountered a couple of stumbling blocks with this project that I overcame that might serve as a warning to others:

1. I started this project in early spring and glued up all of the carcase panels and flattened them. I put them aside leaning against a wall and sitting on my shop’s concrete floor thinking I’d get right back to them. Then my wife gave me the green light to fence in my back yard. The oak panels sat there for a few months and when I finally got back to them, they had a serious bow in them. I tried getting the bow out by wetting down the concave side and clamping them flat to my bench with stickers and though it did work to an extent, it didn’t take all of the bow out. I ended up clamping a strongback across each panel to straighten it out as I cut the dovetails on each corner. Once the dovetails were assembled it took the bow right out at the corner but left a bit of bowing in the center of the panel. I got rid of this my hand planing the sides but in retrospect, I should have driven a screw from the drawer runners into the case sides. This would have pulled everything into alignment.

2. Due to having built this piece in three separate stages over two years, I struggled with the finish. I should have written down the steps I took for the first piece so I could replicate it later. Sanding oak to a higher grit on one piece versus the other or not adding the same number of coats of stain can create some visible discrepancies.

3. I had a real hard time routing the sliding dovetails in the case sides. I built a jig for my router with two fences to capture the router (which has a flat spot on it’s round base) but the darn router still wobbled. I think this was due to trying to hog out all of the 1/4” deep x 3/4” wide dado in one pass with a 3/4” wide 14 degree router bit. I should have hogged out the majority of the material with a straight bit first.

16 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


7066 posts in 2863 days

#1 posted 01-26-2013 04:36 AM

Really nice job on this one, it looks great.

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3952 days

#2 posted 01-26-2013 05:14 AM

Very well done ! So many fine details : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View a1Jim's profile


117459 posts in 3842 days

#3 posted 01-26-2013 06:41 AM

Great job very nice dressers

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View JoeRPhilly's profile


174 posts in 2416 days

#4 posted 01-26-2013 12:45 PM

I second Dusty, very well done! I really like the design

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 2630 days

#5 posted 01-26-2013 02:16 PM

Interesting concept of the drawer carcass. Don’t think I have ever seen that design before.

Good looking job.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 2608 days

#6 posted 01-26-2013 03:04 PM

nice work

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3821 days

#7 posted 01-26-2013 04:06 PM

Wow that is a good looking project

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3205 days

#8 posted 01-26-2013 04:34 PM

I haven’t seen one of these before. Nice work! I like your other projects too.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Grumpymike's profile


2368 posts in 2580 days

#9 posted 01-26-2013 11:01 PM

What a beauty, the pride in your work really shows here.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3423 days

#10 posted 01-27-2013 12:07 AM

Okay, this is WAY too pretty to have so few comments! Really nice job on a gorgeous piece!

-- jay,

View Kyle's profile


109 posts in 2908 days

#11 posted 01-27-2013 02:53 AM

Wow, this is really nice. I hope it doesn’t take me two years to build the chest of drawers I’m building. I think I’m about 8 months into it and I’m just getting ready to glue it up.

I really like this… Great job.

-- Kyle

View SawdustSeamhead's profile


19 posts in 2239 days

#12 posted 01-27-2013 03:44 AM

Wow, great looking dresser. I would say it was well worth the wait – turned out gorgeous!

-- Jarred K.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5855 posts in 3078 days

#13 posted 01-27-2013 03:49 AM

Great dresser, I have not seen dressers with this chest inside carcase design. I like it.
Well done on the dressers. I am just finishing up a pair of dressers, so I can relate to how much work they are.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View woodrookieII's profile


273 posts in 2928 days

#14 posted 01-27-2013 01:18 PM

Very nice.

I like the way the drawer dividers sit proud of the frame. Nice touch.


View Jero's profile


79 posts in 3251 days

#15 posted 01-29-2013 07:20 PM

Wow, looks great! Very original design.

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics