Shaker 7-Drawer Lingerie Chest in Maple

  • Advertise with us
Project by HorizontalMike posted 01-29-2013 06:10 PM 11760 views 17 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always enjoyed the older simpler wooden furniture of the late 1800s and early 1900s, so this Shaker Style 7-Drawer Lingerie Chest caught my eye quickly as I scanned through my 25yr collection of Wood Magazine. Plans can be found here, if you don’t have a copy of the March 2009 Issue.

This DIY Dado Jig helped me cut/route straight, perpendicular, and EXACT width dados in my 3/4in (AKA 23/32in) Maple veneer plywood. You just place a piece of the board or plywood that you are using, snug it up and tighten the knobs—done. I sized all of my dust panels to match the 23/32in ply for consistency, then used them to ‘set’ the jig to the width of the dado I needed. In previous projects I had used the TS to cut dados using just the .125in kerf blade to varying degrees of success. At least one dado on each previous project would end up too loose, hence the Dado Jig was needed to standardize my dado cuts. It works great.

The instructions in the plans are pretty straight forward, though not owning a biscuit cutter forced me to consider other options for joining the case. I chose to cut full length dados in the legs for the 3/4in plywood sides. Had to remember to cut the sides 1/2in wider to accommodate this change, but no big thing. What I liked about using a dado here is that it ‘hides’ the edges of the veneered ply so that helps prevent any separation/peeling as this thing ages.

Plans also called for cutting ‘glue control’ grooves in a couple of the laminate pieces that are glued to the ply as well. I thought that was a nifty idea and it worked out well.

After test fitting all 8-dust panels to the sides several times (as seen below), I enlisted the better half to help me do the actual glueup. BOY! Am I glad I had help with this step! That is a total of 16 dados PLUS 8 floating tenons that needed to be glued up and clamped ALL AT ONCE, or at least very very quickly! We almost failed to get things together in time. Actually, we had two joints that had not quite bottomed out and ‘set’ before we could clamp everything down. So the sides bowed out by ~1/16in about a third down from the top. Not really noticeable, but I know it is there. What a close call…

Cutting and joining the drawers were straight forward. My joining skills are still a work in progress and at this stage I did NOT won’t to try and tackle dovetails. I ended up using double dados (below) for joining the drawer fronts. Not as razzle dazzle, but they do work. Yeah, I was a bit sloppy with the shellac, but we are just coming up on THAT challenge ;-)

I had always wanted to try out Shellac on a project, and this happened to be THE project that I thought best suited Shellac. To me Shellac and Shaker just seem to be the natural match for each other. Maybe it is just me… Anyway, not knowing anything about Shellac application, I think I set myself up for quite a challenge. I chose an ‘amber’ Shellac (Zinnser Bulls Eye - Amber) . FWIW, the amber Shellac, being darker, seems to act as a surface stain or coloring agent, and that means that it will show, blotch/streak, if you do not get an even coating applied.

I also chose to brush apply the Shellac, and wow is THAT a challenge in and of itself! Below, you can see just how much I was ‘streaking’ in my early attempts with the brush. Boy was I happy to see @ScottinTexas start a forum topic on Shellac as Final Finish? . I have to apologize to Scott because I think I ended up hijacking his thread with all of my questions. I also want to thank all those who contributed their expertise with their suggestions. Other than not spraying, I think I tried them all. After, tiring of my brushing results, I tried applying with a pad. First by folding up a Scott paper towel, that worked much better than the brush had,... And then I ended up cutting up an old T-shirt to make a pad. The T-shirt worked the best of all. At this point I also learned/experienced that I was NOT applying enough Shellac fast enough. The cotton pad allowed me to lay down much more Shellac at a faster rate, and it showed by eliminating much of the streaking that I had been experiencing. Don’t get me wrong, I still had some streaking, but at a much reduced rate.

Next came all of the sanding and buffing. After several back and forth PMs with @A1Jim and some great advice, I managed to #1—NOT sand through any of the Shellac, and #2—use a power buffer on all the larger flat areas, that saved my arms quite a bit of work!

You can see that even with all of my buffing with Johnson’s Paste Wax (JPW), both with my 9in power buffer and with brown grocery sack paper (used as an ultra high grit = +3000), I managed to get a pleasing gloss to come out. I probably could have spent even more time buffing and buffing, but the biggest thing I did NOT want was to buff ‘through’ the entire Shellac finish and be forced to start over.

Thanks guys! I would not have had such a good result without all of the LumberJocks whose advice was so timely.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

52 comments so far

View JBWoodWorks's profile


55 posts in 3838 days

#1 posted 01-29-2013 06:23 PM

Beautiful! I should make my daughter one, being a teenager she has more clothes than some small countries but always seems to need more.

Great Job!

One more comment, did you try cutting the shellac with alcohol? Right out of the can it is pretty thick.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7852 posts in 3594 days

#2 posted 01-29-2013 06:26 PM

Yes indeed. I used 1 Shellac to 1 1/2 DA.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3839 days

#3 posted 01-29-2013 06:30 PM

It’s awesome, Mike! Thanks for the descriptive write-up! I love this design and this will go to favorites.

-- jay,

View madts's profile


1934 posts in 3020 days

#4 posted 01-29-2013 06:42 PM

Very nice mike. I am now trying the shellac.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3839 days

#5 posted 01-29-2013 08:00 PM

BTW, being a lingerie chest, I’m sure you are looking forward to storing lot of your lingerie in it. Is their room for “accessories?” ;)

-- jay,

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


770 posts in 3953 days

#6 posted 01-29-2013 08:25 PM

Elegant piece! And the knots you left in the sides add to its character. Very well done!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View pintodeluxe's profile


6082 posts in 3493 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 08:27 PM

Great chest, that is quite a project. I am just finishing a pair of dressers, and am always amazed how much work case goods are. There’s just no way around it, a good project takes time.

I used shellac for my drawers, but sprayed clear shellac, so I didn’t encounter any streaking.
Thanks for sharing your nice project, especially the extra pictures.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View a1Jim's profile


118016 posts in 4257 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 08:32 PM

Beautiful this chest turned out great Mike, super job. Nice photo work up too.


View shipwright's profile


8496 posts in 3478 days

#9 posted 01-29-2013 08:58 PM

Nice job Mike.
... next up French polish….???

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View HorizontalMike's profile


7852 posts in 3594 days

#10 posted 01-29-2013 09:27 PM

Wow, I don’t know Paul… If I do some French polishing it will need to be on a much smaller piece/scale. That said, I am running out of places for furniture sized projects, so moving to some smaller projects looks very likely in the near future. French polishing… maybe. ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 2929 days

#11 posted 01-29-2013 09:44 PM

Mike, you are the master with a router. Those drawer lock joints are more complicated than you give yourself credit for. I really like the chest and the write up. Where did you get the drawer pulls? they match perfectly.


View Jason's profile


660 posts in 4189 days

#12 posted 01-29-2013 09:49 PM

You keep Wood Magazine copies in your lingerie chest too?! Huh, small world or what?

In all honesty you did a great job with it. Should serve you well storing whatever for years to come.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View ChuckV's profile


3288 posts in 4207 days

#13 posted 01-29-2013 10:27 PM

Great job Mike. Congratulations on a fine build.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Druid's profile


2204 posts in 3476 days

#14 posted 01-29-2013 10:29 PM

Nicely done Mike. Hope she likes it for many years to come.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View kenn's profile


813 posts in 4400 days

#15 posted 01-29-2013 11:07 PM

That is a great job, one question though. Did Shakers wear lingerie? ;)

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

showing 1 through 15 of 52 comments

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