Design Decisions on the Dresser

Before going into the design decisions, let me catch you up on the dresser:

1. I attached the back. It was more eventful than it should’ve been but it’s done.

It was supposed to look prettier but that's a longer story

It was supposed to look prettier but that’s a longer story

2. I took the plunge and cut up the boards for the drawer fronts. Three perfectly selected boards with four strategic cuts. I hope I don’t screw anything up from here on out…




Point of no return

3. I glued up two pieces of pretty choice cherry for the top. Things are still rough but this was a great way to pass the time while I waited for the 8″ jointer to go in at the NCCW shop.


Top Glue Up



Straight on shot of the dresser with the top dry fit.

Now on with the dilemma. One of the key things I’ve learned in my non-career as a designer is the staleness of 3/4″ material. This is especially true for featured components like a table tops, panels, and legs. If you study historical pieces you’ll find very little 3/4″ material. Many tops were 7/8″ minimum and in the case of the dresser I’m mostly concerned about the top.

Askew shot due to the assembly table being in the way

Askew shot due to the assembly table’s location

When I went to source my top pieces from Keim Lumber, I was pretty much stuck with what they had available. This is one of the problems with being in a lumber desert like I am right now. They had some nice wide cherry but nothing was thick or in the rough. I actually don’t think it looks terrible but I want to beef up the look. What do you think? Maybe some of my woodworking and non-woodworking readers could chime in with advise.

Another shot

Another side shot

And Another

Another frontal from the iPhone

I asked my wife since she has a great design sense and always keeps me straight. The first thing she doesn’t like is the left/right overhang. She doesn’t mind the look itself but she’s concerned our girls, the intended recipients, will run into the overhang. Point taken, and I agree.

I mentioned how much I liked Marilyn’s top on her TV lift on her site and this was my original intent when I designed the top. I don’t think this approach will work with the top I currently have.

I’m looking for your help.

As I see it there are several ways I can go:

1. Trim the overhang to an inch or so and use breadboard ends with thicker pieces of cherry (or a contrasting wood). This might help give some visual weight.

2. Scab on some “matching” cherry to the perimeter of the top and go with a bevel. Hmmm, probably won’t look good.

3. Scab on some poplar to build up the top and apply a simple moulding to cover said poplar. I like this idea but I don’t think the moulding will go with the construction of the case. Specifically, I’m thinking of the way the legs meet the top.

I’m leaning toward choice #1 but the breadboard ends might need to overhang just as much as the current top to look right. That won’t make it past the planning committee. Can you help a brotha out? Please let me know in the comments below.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about this just yet since the next step is to test out the new 8″ jointer while milling up the drawer parts. This will help me immensely since all the pieces are larger than the capacity of my jointer. I really didn’t want to mill up the drawer parts for seven drawers by hand. Thank you Sharing Economy.

More to come hopefully since I’m on the road and have time to think and put my thoughts into electrons.

About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
This entry was posted in The Dresser and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Design Decisions on the Dresser

  1. Hi Shawn,

    I think the Asian flair that the legs give calls for an under bevel, and if it is done at an angle sharper than 45 degrees, a glue line from the added on cherry might not be too noticeable.

    Can’t wait to see how the drawers come out. And congrats on the jointer!



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