Chest of Drawers

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Project by balidoug posted 10-14-2012 11:46 AM 4188 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For me, one of the most important aspects of Lumberjocks is the feedback I get from other LJs. My family has always been politely supportive, as well as appreciative of the various projects for which they were the beneficiaries, but a “nice job!” from a fellow woodworker will keep me going for months. So it was with surprise and joy that I received from my daughter a 13th birthday request: a small chest of drawers to fit under her desk. I was especially pleased in light of our pre-Christmas discussion last year, as described in my “feathers project.

The chest is easily the most involved project I’ve attempted to date. Both she and I originally planned a fairly simple and entirely functional affair, but like most of my projects: “the tale grew in telling”.

First, the legs of the table are splayed, and I wanted the chest to fit, so working with clean, right angles was out. Not normally a serious problem, I know, but I did wish I had not spent high-school geometry class drawing little flip-movies in the margins of my text books.

When a friend found a piece of Suar that exactly fit the fronts-pieces I was confronted with a second challenge in that I needed the grain to match up, but my measuring skills are still wanting. (I recall the time my son and I reacted with delight to my measuring him at two meters, until moments later it occurred to both of us that he was a head shorter than me, and I’m only 5’11”.)

Whenever I complete a project the errors and the flaws jump out at me like the animatronics on a fun-house ride. This one is no exception; but even so I’m quite pleased with the result, and she’s delighted.

Which leaves me with one, nagging uncertainty: As I mentioned above, she has just hit her teens, and although politely appreciative of past projects, she was very enthusiastic about this one …. Am I being set up?

Made by hand

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

24 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30646 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 10-14-2012 11:58 AM

Not only is it incredibly beautiful, looks very well done.

Although daughters usually know how to work dads (I say from experience) it’s probably not an intentional setup. With every accomplishment you achieve, then the the thought becomes “I wonder if he can build this ” . So we create the expectation that we can build whatever the dream up. Luckily dads are as good as they are!

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Brandon2012's profile


26 posts in 3419 days

#2 posted 10-14-2012 12:12 PM

What is Suar? I looked it up and is seems to be a city, back in the medieval times. What kind of wood is the face? Looks very nice.

View shopdog's profile


582 posts in 4728 days

#3 posted 10-14-2012 02:14 PM

Very well done.
Great use of a beautiful piece of wood.

-- Steve--

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3433 days

#4 posted 10-14-2012 02:28 PM

very nice chest,that’ll be around for your daughter to use for many years to come.i’m the same way when i get done with a project the flaws jump out at me also.seems like more flaws than good on each piece for me.keep up the good work!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Woodstock's profile


265 posts in 4530 days

#5 posted 10-14-2012 02:37 PM


When I get stumped on a unknown wood name I have never hard before, I usually enter the name of the wood plus adding “wood” to a Google search. Just to weed out the false positives such as the medieval city you found. I can usually (not always!), find a usable description in the first 5 – 10 items listed.

Such as “Suar wood” gave me this link that was listed at #4.

This typically gets me enough info to satisfy my curiosity, such as this beautifully figure front.


-- I'm not old. Just "well seasoned".

View Boxguy's profile


2901 posts in 3510 days

#6 posted 10-14-2012 04:00 PM

First to the woodworking. What a beautiful project. Making angled dovetails is quite a challenge. How lucky that such a nice piece of Suar came your way when you needed it. That really highlights the piece and sets it apart from being just utilitarian. (Much to John Stewart Mill’s chagrin.) What did you use for drawer slides? What is the wood on the sides and top?

Now, the other issues. Making mistakes is unimportant. Learning from mistakes is all important. Pros make mistakes too…they are just make different mistakes and are much better at covering them up. That is why they are pros.

Your daughter is lovely. Of course you are being set up, but being set up with love is seldom a bad thing. Hope your son is doing well in his studies.

-- Big Al in IN

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4085 days

#7 posted 10-14-2012 05:32 PM

Boxguy said it well! Very nice piece, and your daughter will always be proud of it. The mistakes are character of creation and human input otherwise you can buy a file, not of this character or quality.

Measuring is necessary and I’ve made mistakes even after measuring three times and sneaking up on it. LOL!

Are the drawer pulls handmade?

Wonder what the piece would look like if they had a tone and color silimar to the drawer fronts?

It is a piece I wish I had made. :-)

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View joshtank's profile


224 posts in 4216 days

#8 posted 10-14-2012 05:58 PM

wow! looks great! it’s those little details that make it better, splayed desk legs etc.

-- Josh - Jacksonville, FL -

View Ralph's profile


167 posts in 3376 days

#9 posted 10-14-2012 06:27 PM

Nice chest of drawers. Good use of a nice piece of wood. Like the dove tails on the top, nice touch.
To me, the front looks like it is in motions.

-- The greatest risk is not taking one...

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4109 days

#10 posted 10-14-2012 08:38 PM

Nicely done and the wood looks great.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View nwbusa's profile


1023 posts in 3529 days

#11 posted 10-15-2012 12:19 AM

Really a nice job, the front panels look amazing.

-- John, BC, Canada

View balidoug's profile


524 posts in 3721 days

#12 posted 10-15-2012 01:12 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Brandon2012, Suar is also known as raintree:

I have used it in several projects. The sapwood is milky and soft, the hardwood much as you see. It it very prone to tear-out, but very pretty.

BG, I quite agree about learning from my mistakes. Just wish I could find another way to learn! Still, I’m pretty happy with this one.

Doc, the drawer pulls are handmade, and, in fact are also suar (though a different board). Interestingly, the lighter components of the frontspieces were pretty much the same color as the pulls until I applied the first coat of BLO. The face grew dark immediately, the handles stayed pale. I toyed with the idea of staining the pulls, even to the point of trying to imitate the grain pattern, but decided I preferred the contrast.

-- From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. Immanuel Kant

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3933 days

#13 posted 10-15-2012 01:36 AM

Wow! That is some gorgeous wood and you did a great job on this one. I imagine the splayed legs added a whole host of challenges but your finished chest looks perfect. Another candidate for ‘dad of the year’.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Sodabowski's profile


2401 posts in 4076 days

#14 posted 10-15-2012 08:11 AM

Well. Maybe you scored the side boards a bit deep when tracng for the dovetails, but appart from that very ultra minor must-know-it flaw, I don’t see anything wrong with this piece. All the opposite actually. The front is a pure stunner and the contrasting pulls look great.

Handmade by daddy wins once again ;)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Jim Abbruzzese's profile

Jim Abbruzzese

19 posts in 3430 days

#15 posted 10-15-2012 11:30 AM

The grain and colors on the drawer fronts made your project jump out on the LJ Projects page. Just gorgeous.
The fit to the desk legs looks quite good from here.

Well done sir!

-- Jim,

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