Guiding Principles

In the early days of The Wood Whisperer Guild we used to have live chat sessions where we’d pick the next guild project. Back in 2010 I remember starting a “chant” of sorts in the chat room: chest of drawers! chest of drawers! chest of drawers! It took hold, and Marc did build a chest of drawers. I was always intrigued with this method of using center guides as shown in Marc’s design. Even back then I knew I wanted to try this method. I reviewed the video a few times just to make sure I had the process down.

But, first things first: I had to install the drawer bottoms. This was a relatively easy task with the exception of one drawer. I must’ve had a mishap during glue up causing a slight interference. Good thing I practice hybrid woodworking.

Next up was to create the center guides. I had plenty of maple scrap so I milled it up and got my dado stack ready for action. I’m still not real good with the dado stack; it requires a level of precision I’m just not accustomed. I’m not a dial caliper woodworker, but I got it close enough for government work. The tricky part was getting the grooves cut in the small pieces without having them lift up or me ending up in the ER. I reached out to IG community and got some good advice from Ben Strano over at Fine Woodworking. Here’s how I did it:

Now I had the strangely difficult task of installing the guides. Referencing Marc’s method, I shot a few pin nails in the drawer back to stabilize the piece. I didn’t want to risk the pins coming up thru the 1/4″ bottoms so I only pinned them in the back and then got creative with clamping. The smaller drawers weren’t too bad as I could repurpose the cut offs from the legs to act as clamping cauls. However, the larger drawers had me resort to power tools for help. See the pics below.

As is par for the course on this project, I had one more diversion. The middle drawer couldn’t accept center guides because the substructure didn’t allow for it. Therefore, I had to make some thin filler strips to function like typical drawer runners.


Center guides were a no-go but side guides will work

Lastly, I tuned up each drawer so it moves smoothly in its cavity.

This brings you blog readers up to speed. Next up is selecting hardware and figuring out what I want for the top.


About Shawn Nichols

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

2 Responses to Guiding Principles

  1. tombuhl says:

    For my last chest of drawers I routed a groove in the drawer bottoms. For the guides I used one solid piece (per drawer) glued into shallow rabbets in the web frames front and back. Tight fit, no pins required. Sort of a half-lap joint.

    I like the look of your dresser. Nicely done, Shawn.


    • Good idea Tom. I’ll keep that in mind as I plan to build a dresser for my other daughter at some point (many moons from now!). Glad to see you’re liking the way it’s shaping up. I’m hoping to put out another post this week asking some design questions so stay tuned.


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