Small Dresser - Harvey Ellis

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Project by edapp posted 04-10-2019 12:49 PM 1014 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This small dresser is the final piece for our master bath renovation that began about two years ago. Although I plan to redo the medicine cabinet/mirrors to match the pieces visible in these pictures.

I started in late January with a scale drawing, which I usually do on a project of this scale.

Naturally changes were made as the project moved along but the overall scale of the dresser was important as it needed to fit in a small space in our bathroom. It is shallow (15” deep, 16” top) and narrow (22” wide drawers) but still a useful size for clothes or other items.

The legs have a double taper, which I rough cut on the bandsaw then ganged up and ran over the jointer and eventually made a few final passes with a hand plane.

This project let me test out my new router table/lift that I got around Christmas time. A slot cutting bit was a joy to use for the frame and panels vs using the tablesaw like I always have. Side panels were glued up first using dominoes to joint the rails and stiles. The front and rear stretchers were joined to the legs using sliding dovetails, blind on the front legs. This was a first for me and I really enjoyed this process. I need a better dovetail bit as there was a lot of tearout, but none of this can be seen in the final product.

Biscuits were used to support the internal web frame (rather than dominoes, so that I could slide the frame rails in from the side after the case was assembled).

Drawers were assembled using through domino tenons. First time doing this and really like it. 1/2” Pre-finished maple plywood sides, 1/4” pre-finished for the bottoms which can be found throughout the bathroom. Expensive but I love using this stuff and had some sheets leftover. I left the plywood edges exposed, which doesn’t bother me as long as it is good quality plywood with no voids or splinters.

The finish used was as simple as it gets, Minwax “Golden Oak” stain and minway semigloss poly. First coat of poly is full strength, second coat thinned 50%.
I have been using arm-r-seal but was out and wanted to get this done. Matches the table in the background just fine.

Thanks for looking.

11 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


3667 posts in 3082 days

#1 posted 04-10-2019 01:00 PM

Great way to finish off the bathroom. I like the loose tenon joint on the drawer box. I sometimes forget that Ellis made pieces without inlays.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View edapp's profile


340 posts in 2164 days

#2 posted 04-10-2019 01:22 PM

Great way to finish off the bathroom. I like the loose tenon joint on the drawer box. I sometimes forget that Ellis made pieces without inlays.

- EarlS

Thanks Earl. One of my long term goals is to be able to take on some of his designs that DO have inlays. He designed some absolutely stunning pieces.

View pottz's profile


9446 posts in 1718 days

#3 posted 04-10-2019 01:40 PM

beautiful dresser,i love how you made the drawers using the domino may have to borrow that idea.great job.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Travis's profile


418 posts in 501 days

#4 posted 04-10-2019 02:37 PM

That’s a beautiful piece! I agree, the loose tenon joinery for the drawers is a refreshing change from the typical dovetails/finger joints. Love the QSWO, too.

-- The plan is wrong; my finished piece is right.

View a1Jim's profile


118047 posts in 4311 days

#5 posted 04-10-2019 02:51 PM

Nice work a great looking piece.


View ohwoodeye's profile


2372 posts in 3887 days

#6 posted 04-10-2019 03:29 PM

It’s always enjoyable to look at an attractive piece of furniture.
It’s even more enjoyable to see it in its final location to get an idea of how and where it will be used.
This piece fits the spot perfectly and accents the room so well.
Great job, Well done!

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4831 days

#7 posted 04-10-2019 03:29 PM

Very pretty. Perfect for it’s intended use.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View sras's profile


5422 posts in 3863 days

#8 posted 04-10-2019 04:11 PM


-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View CincyRW's profile


165 posts in 2385 days

#9 posted 04-10-2019 08:31 PM

Such a solid, simple piece. Well done! I’d say this looks like something you’d purchase at a high end furniture store, but no furniture store has stuff this nice. Very well done – love this piece.

View jeff's profile


1226 posts in 4199 days

#10 posted 04-11-2019 10:26 PM

Nice piece.

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View 489tad's profile


3812 posts in 3745 days

#11 posted 04-11-2019 11:28 PM

Quartersawn wonderfullness! I like it.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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