• Advertise with us
Project by Tomas posted 04-04-2008 05:26 AM 2070 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My nightstands were based on the contemporary dresser design in the chest of drawers book by Taunton Press – Bill Hylton. I will never again make something using loose tenon construction – it took too long to preciesly drill the mortises and make the loose floating tenons. I felt it was a very imprecise process and I wish I had a festool domino or chosen a different joinery technique. This result was also based on design mondifications. I used the same depth as the contemporary dresser but when I got to the drawer slides I realized the author used blum slides which are really expensive. Also, I could not see how he got the slides to fit because there was not enough room to attach the slides to the posts – I would have had to attach them to the plywood frames – so I cut dovetailed slots in the posts to support the drawers and then cut wood and pocket-holed them to the front and back to form the drawer runners/support. This created a design flaw because the bottom rail and top rail are inset from the posts but not the two slotted drawer supports. Had I realized this sooner I could have used a stopped dado on the front pieces to inset them from the posts. What I have learned from this is that once I make the decision to modify the plans I need to look at how the modifications will affect the other design elements. I realized I also never want to do loose tenon joinery again.

7 comments so far

View Tomas's profile


50 posts in 4903 days

#1 posted 04-04-2008 05:36 AM

I also forgot to mention I butchered the dovetail joinery on the drawers as well. I used birch for the sides and I used a porter cable dovetail machine – this was my first project with the machine and I did not realize that the machine dictates the drawer height or you will end up with pins that are not symmetrical from top to bottom.

Also, I had a hard time with the fitting of the dovetailed parts – I think I was making the pins too deep because I had to use a rubber mallet to fit the pieces together – which just creates damage to the pieces (splintering, shattering, indentations on the wood – not pretty). It did not dawn on me as I tried to adjust the settings that maybe I was going too deep with the router bit for the wood I was using.

One last thing – I used birch for the drawer sides – I planed this from 4/4 stock. this is my 3rd serious project but it sure was hard on my planer – this is a tough wood. I bought some maple – will that also be as rough on my planer?

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4903 days

#2 posted 04-04-2008 08:51 AM

Looks good to me!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4789 days

#3 posted 04-04-2008 10:49 AM

I think you did a fine job on your dresser.

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4981 days

#4 posted 04-04-2008 10:56 AM

You should be proud to sleep next to something so beautiful. Good job.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4737 days

#5 posted 04-04-2008 01:11 PM

Hi Tomas,

This is a nice looking nightstand. I like the design of the piece. What type of finish did you put on it?

If you have to pound the dovetails together then you have made them too tight. They should fit together snugly but you should be able to hand fit them together.

Birch and maple are fairly close in (1) their appearance and (2) relative hardness so they should machine in similar fashion. I have run several hundred feet of maple, cherry and jatoba through my planer (Delta 22-580 3 years old) and still have the original set of knives in it.

If you want more info on wood hardness here is a link that I have found to be useful:

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4682 days

#6 posted 04-04-2008 04:15 PM

Great nightstands. You should be proud of it.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Tomas's profile


50 posts in 4903 days

#7 posted 04-05-2008 06:13 AM

Thanks for all the comments. As for the finish I used a very light coat of boiled linseed oil followed with garnett shellac – 3 coats or so – I am a novice to woodworking and even a bigger novice on finishing. One day I’ll even try varnish.

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