Boy's Maple & Mahogany Dresser

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Project by Patrick Jaromin posted 11-30-2007 04:56 PM 6465 views 30 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed/built this dresser for my son Sean born last January. Clearly I needed something a bit more masculine for my son than the butterfly dresser I built for Annalise. I had previously completed a couple projects featuring genuine Mahogany and thought a combination of Mahogany and Maple might be nice.

One of the reasons I absolutely love SketchUp is that it’s so incredibly easy to whip up a design concept, that I actually draw most projects twice. First with little regard to construction or any real practicalities—just free design, primarily concerned with aesthetics. Then I’ll redraw the piece more carefully—and in this case I drew it piece by piece as I would actually construct it. I prefer the surprises happen in the virtual rather than cutting actual hardwood. All that said, I still managed to cut the top too narrow. This lead to the addition of a back rail that I actually prefer over the original design. I guess we can call this a fortuitous mistake…or perhaps it was a sub conscience design decision! :)

The primary design choice that I struggled with was the attachment of the legs to the carcass. I couldn’t decide if I should cut a rabbet in the legs and set the carcass into them, or should I simply attach the “walls” to the whole legs? The former seemed sturdier, but I couldn’t help but think I’d wind up with a gap somewhere between the leg and the side. Also, as I was tapering the legs, I worried that a deep rabbet would weaken them significantly at the bottom. In the end, I decided to join the legs to the sides without a rabbet—by using a combination of biscuits and pocket screws. This feels very solid to me and the top acts as a sort of trestle for the carcass…so I think I’m good here…at least until he becomes a 6’, 200lbs fullback and decides to sit on it. Hmmm. What do you think?

This shows the legs with the opposing biscuit slots…for some strength, though primarily for alignment during glue up. Screw pockets were cut in the sides to reinforce this joint.

Here’s the glue-up of the top, with visible Mahogany splines in the corners…

I was also very concerned about the wide beveled maple edging around the top. I hadn’t mitered such a wide/thick piece before and felt certain that they wouldn’t come together. Thankfully, I was very wrong. By some miracle I managed to get the corners nice and tight. It helps that there were only 3 sides.

The mahogany was finished with a red mahogany stain topped with a “American Cherry” gel stain. The top coat is a satin water-based poly.

If you’re interested, there are more photos detailing the construction at my blog.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

21 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5561 days

#1 posted 11-30-2007 05:12 PM

Gorgeous work! Welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View squeak's profile


3 posts in 5254 days

#2 posted 11-30-2007 05:12 PM

I like what you’ve done . I have tried the sketchup program without much luck . I’m glad to see someone can get great result from it .

View rjack's profile


110 posts in 5197 days

#3 posted 11-30-2007 05:14 PM

I want to get better with Sketchup. I think your approach to design really make sense. I really like the contrasting woods. Are the 3 little squares on top simple inlays or do they serve some other function?

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

413 posts in 5175 days

#4 posted 11-30-2007 05:27 PM

Thanks, all!

SketchUp takes some effort but for me it’s the easiest CAD software there is. The “follow me” tool makes short work of intricate moldings which I’ve used for bar rail and door moldings in the past (I’ll post those at some point). I saw a really cool blog entry this morning by Brad_nailer detailing how to use it to draw a raised panel door.

Roger – Yeah…just decorative inlays. Since I did the butterflies on my daughter’s crib/dresser, I figured I needed to do something for my son as well. Since I wanted a simple, modern and masculine look for the piece, I settled on the squares. I used curly maple and oriented the grain diagonally on the outside 2 and vertically in the middle piece for interest. I echoed this pattern of inlays in the crib I built for him (which I’ll post in the near future).

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View mot's profile


4928 posts in 5379 days

#5 posted 11-30-2007 05:54 PM

Patrick, that’s a pretty impressive piece. Thanks for posting construction detail as well.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5503 days

#6 posted 11-30-2007 06:55 PM

pretty impressive indeed. A beautiful piece of furniture that he’ll have forever

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5442 days

#7 posted 11-30-2007 08:13 PM

SMACK! That is a nice looking piece!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View toyguy's profile


1780 posts in 5180 days

#8 posted 11-30-2007 08:38 PM

So pretty…...... nice job.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 5217 days

#9 posted 11-30-2007 08:57 PM

I would love to do work like that some day. Beautiful job. That will be an heirloom to be treasured for many generations.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5193 days

#10 posted 11-30-2007 10:46 PM

Very nice indeed Patrick.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5435 days

#11 posted 12-01-2007 04:17 AM

Gem of a piece. Thanks for letting us get a look at it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5325 days

#12 posted 12-01-2007 06:07 AM

beautiful dresser. mahogany and maple together gives it a modern look.

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

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5348 days

#13 posted 12-01-2007 02:40 PM

Very striking look. Great job Patrick.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 5248 days

#14 posted 12-01-2007 03:15 PM


-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View RobG's profile


71 posts in 5165 days

#15 posted 12-09-2007 02:46 AM

Really great work!!

-- Woodworking is Life. Anything before or after is just waiting.--S. McQueen sort of

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