Shaker Style Dressers

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Project by TheQueTip posted 05-09-2010 04:37 PM 4029 views 24 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built these two dressers to replace a pair of old pine dressers that I have had for 20+ years. They are shaker style dressers built from mahogany and soft maple (interior frame and drawers built from soft maple and exterior surfaces from mahogany)

Joinery construction is mortise and tenon and interior frame construction (i.e., white maple) was done with the Kreg pocket jig. The rear panel is 3/8” soft maple cabinet grade plywood cut to size to fit a rabbited opening. The drawers are built from 1/2” soft maple dovetailed via a Leigh jig, while the drawers faces are made from mahogany. (To do it over again, I would do half blind dovetails on the fronts and through hole on the rears)

The drawers run on maple drawer guides that that have been well sanded and polished with paste wax. While the the drawers are finished inside and out, the bottom outside 1/2” of all the drawers only contain two coats of sanding sealer (Taped off prior to starting the final finishes). This was done to avoid a ‘sticking’ situation that would result from the friction of the finished drawers rubbing against the drawer guides. (The bottom 1/2” of the drawer is the area that travels on the drawer guides)

To avoid drawer racking due to the use of wooden drawer guides, there is ‘very little play’ between the sides of the drawers and the guides. The lack of a finish on the bottom 1/2” of drawer, tight clearances, and the paste wax makes for a very smooth movement of the drawers.

The maple drawer panels are natural (no dyes or stains), while the mahogany is finished with a Potassium Dichromate oxidation process. (Mixing ratio was 16oz of water to 1 tablespoon of PD) Solution was left on surfaces for about 1 minute before being wiped dry. NOTE: PD is very toxic…... Use safety equipment (respirator, gloves, protective eye wear, etc) prior to applying

Final finsh consisted of two coats of tung oil applied to all mahogany surfaces (via a foam brush) and then 3 coats of latex based semi gloss polyurethane (applied via HVLP spray gun).

I am happy with the way they turned out and are much nicer than the old pine dresssers that they replaced!

-- TheQueTip, Killeen Texas - All tools I've purchased from Harbor Freight eventually became a hammer.

22 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3682 days

#1 posted 05-09-2010 04:42 PM

Absolutely beautiful.

-- -- Neil

View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4085 days

#2 posted 05-09-2010 04:46 PM

Wonderful dresser, a super build.

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 05-09-2010 05:04 PM

Wonderful design and finish on both of the dressers…I like the hardware as well ! : )
I’ve never heard of the “PD” before …what does it do to the wood ? Is that what produced the color of the Mahogany ?

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

View blackcherry's profile


3343 posts in 4331 days

#4 posted 05-09-2010 05:05 PM

Well done and wonderful color tone, thanks for posting…BC

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4607 days

#5 posted 05-09-2010 05:08 PM

Beautiful color, fantastic execution.

Great job on a couple of new family heirlooms!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Woodwrecker's profile


4232 posts in 4083 days

#6 posted 05-09-2010 05:45 PM

Wow, definitely one of the nicer posts in a while.
Masterful work.
Those are going to be beautiful 20 years from now!
Thank you for showing them.

View TheQueTip's profile


118 posts in 3738 days

#7 posted 05-09-2010 05:50 PM

Thanks for the kind comments.

Dusty56, Potassium Dichromate is used in laboratory and industrial applications. Specific areas of use are in film development, tanning of leather, silver testing, and wood staining. I think it brings out the color and grain to a very deep, rich appearance. (It gives mahogany that ‘old, seasoned look’.) It is one of David Mark’s most commonly staining methods for mahogany. The color of the mahogany was mostly created from the PD, but the tung oil also added some richness to the look.

-- TheQueTip, Killeen Texas - All tools I've purchased from Harbor Freight eventually became a hammer.

View Dusty56's profile


11852 posts in 4196 days

#8 posted 05-09-2010 05:54 PM

Thank you for the feedback on the PD…they are beautiful dressers !

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

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 4337 days

#9 posted 05-09-2010 06:26 PM

Very Nicely done…the finish is exceptional! Great looking shop too… very neat and tidy!

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View gul's profile


400 posts in 3470 days

#10 posted 05-09-2010 07:47 PM

Simply awesome!

View ktremblay's profile


8 posts in 3450 days

#11 posted 05-09-2010 08:10 PM

Great work!!

View Hallmark's profile


432 posts in 3614 days

#12 posted 05-09-2010 08:44 PM

Excellent work, I think they’re keepers.

-- Style is simple, but not my execution of it.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4282 days

#13 posted 05-09-2010 11:47 PM

Beautiful dresser. Excellent job and craftsmanship. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14181 posts in 4491 days

#14 posted 05-10-2010 12:37 AM

awesome … I love them

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View jcoulam's profile


57 posts in 3908 days

#15 posted 05-10-2010 01:21 AM

Great job, those turned out beautyful. I love the finish the PD really makes a rich deep finish.

-- Jeff Coulam, Lakeway Texas

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