Solid Cherry Dresser

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Project by Mainer904 posted 12-31-2018 06:19 PM 1165 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I want to start by apologizing for this being a bit lengthy. I have been getting into woodworking over the last couple of years, accumulating tools and experience along the way. My interest has mostly been driven by my children. I wanted them to have nice furniture that they could hand down to their own kids (or at least last their lifetime) that had some significance. I’ve made some bookcases, a bookshelf headboard, and an assortment of nice decorative boxes. I have tried to challenge myself a bit more each time. This is by far the most challenging project that I have tackled to date (and I’m in no rush to top it). I made mistakes through the project, but corrected or hid them well enough that only I will ever know they are there. I think we can all relate to that.

I have gotten so much information from browsing the forums here. There can be a lot, especially for someone just starting out. Thanks to all who helped without even knowing it.

So here it is…..

The dresser is based on Mike Pekovich’s design from Fine Woodworking. His design was a smaller cherry dresser, so I re-engineered parts of it to fit what I was trying to accomplish. I based the updated dimensions on a solid maple dresser that I got when I was a kid (which looks brand new still at 32 years old and has been handed down to my oldest). The dresser is all hand-picked cherry with soft maple as the secondary wood. I hand-jointed all of the boards. I used half-blind dovetails to attach the bottom and top to the sides, and sliding dovetails for the horizontal and vertical stretchers to connect the sides and top to bottom. These, in turn, are connected with cross-lap joints. The runners are in 1/8” deep dados and are soft maple, mortised and tenoned to the stretchers (glued in front and free-floating in the back for expansion). All of the dovetails (except the sliders) are hand-cut.

Overall dimensions are 50” (w) x 33.5” (h) x 19.25” (d). The carcass itself is 48” x 28.5” x 18.5”

I tested a couple of different finishes and liked the color of Waterlox and the consistency of Arm-R-Seal. Ultimately I went with both. For the finish, I wiped on about 5-7 coats of Waterlox, and after it dried, I wiped on a few coats of Arm-R-Seal Gloss (I liked how it felt compared to Waterlox). I did 2 more coats for the top since it’ll get the most abuse. After that was dry, I put on 2 more coats of Arm-R-Seal Satin for the top, front and drawer fronts.

I topped the inside and drawer sides with Renaissance Paste Wax. Everything glides beautifully.

One thing that I love about it is that every row of drawers has continuous grain from left to right. It was a challenge to find boards wide enough and flat enough to accommodate the taller drawers, but it paid off. My favorite feature though is that under every drawer on the right, my daughters and I signed and dated the dresser with a hand-print in paint. I sealed them with gloss lacquer. This way there is more history to it when it gets handed down.

From the time that I started dimensioning the lumber to the time I completed took me about 9 months. And it was worth every minute.

8 comments so far

View GreenSuiter's profile


8 posts in 1194 days

#1 posted 01-01-2019 12:47 AM

Great attention to detail. It will without a doubt last many lifetimes.

View MadeinMT's profile


299 posts in 3440 days

#2 posted 01-01-2019 01:53 PM

I build furniture for the same reason. Well done.

-- Ron, Montana

View gsimon's profile


1327 posts in 3393 days

#3 posted 01-01-2019 04:53 PM

beautifully done – congrats

-- Greg Simon

View Julian's profile


1667 posts in 3970 days

#4 posted 01-01-2019 05:27 PM

Very nicely done. Cherry is a great looking wood.

-- Julian

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5131 days

#5 posted 01-02-2019 03:16 AM

Nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

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

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17571 posts in 3898 days

#6 posted 01-02-2019 03:39 AM

Terrific build, congrats!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Mainer904's profile


2 posts in 1533 days

#7 posted 01-03-2019 02:13 PM

Thanks, everyone!

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5131 days

#8 posted 01-05-2019 11:23 PM

Mainer, Nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

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

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