Progress and Setbacks

After getting some great answers about design ideas on the dresser top, I had a bit of a physical setback. On the day the post went live I was attending swimming lessons for my girls. With five minutes to go in her class, and five minutes before her older sister’s class started, my youngest got out of the pool jumped cross-legged and said, “Daddy, I have to go potty.” Classic little kid stuff. On the way back from the restroom she was shivering and shuffling her feet so I thought I’d be the hero dad and scooped her up to quickly get her back to class. I took two steps with her in my arms when I found myself slipping on the wet pool deck. I proceeded to fall flat on my back and right elbow cartoon-banana-peel style. I heard some crunching noises and I couldn’t take a breath. My immediate concern was my daughter who was completely unphased by the entire event. I, on the other hand, fractured two ribs, bruised my arm and shoulder, and couldn’t get a good night’s sleep for about a week.

It sucked.

But I’m feeling much better now. Still, it cut short my already limited shop time. Fortunately, I was able to think through things on the top. I read some articles, referenced my library, and reread the suggestions from social media. I’m extremely happy with where I landed (no pun intended).

I opted to keep the overhang “small” but when I incorporated the subtle curve, to mimic the legs, I had to bump it out more than the “small” amount I showed before. It was a great compromise. I asked for help on the under bevel and Tom Buhl gave excellent advice, which I incorporated (thanks Tom!). I tried a few different values but ended up with a 1/4″ flat after making a test piece from scrap cherry. The mock up literally took 3 minutes with a jack plane.


Test piece in progress

Feeling confident, I beveled the underside of the top’s front edge. From start to finish, this process only took twenty minutes with hand planes.

The next day I went down to work on the curves. I made a mockup in cardboard but it really wasn’t helping me visualize things. I opted to just go for it on the real top. I had extra length so if I didn’t like the way it looked, I could try something else and still have room to spare. I busted out the jig saw and my new rasp from Woodpeckers (more on that later) to make short work of the initial curve.

That Woodpecker rasp is a beast. I’ve never HAD to take off this much material before by hand and I’m so glad for this impulse $17 purchase. Shaping the top at 65″ x 20″  over at the spindle sander was a non starter. The coarse, medium, fine, method was at work for only about 15 minutes. The one downside is that I nicked my finger using the rasp – I think I’ll put on some nitrile gloves next time.

After the curve was 90 degrees to the top, I moved on to the curved under bevel. I used a scribe for marking out the 3/4″ step back and altered between my jack plane and the rasp.

With one side done, I was able to put the top on and really gauge the reveals, and the overhang, and the feel of the piece. But it was late so I called it a night. The next evening, I went back downstairs to finish up the other side. After some tricky measuring (that I couldn’t capture on camera), I checked and double checked my measurements and fired up the jigsaw again.

Here it is set on the carcase and ready for my wife to come down and inspect. Her word(s), “wow.” That’s high praise.

The next task is installing the hardware and getting everything prettied up for finish. I feel so close…


About Shawn Nichols

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

7 Responses to Progress and Setbacks

  1. tombuhl says:

    Blood, the classic maker’s mark.
    Looks like you are in the home stretch.
    “Wow,” indeed. Your top treatment pulls it all together. At least from the perspectives shown, the overhang is spot on. Nice work.
    Sorry about the ribs, Shawn.


  2. The chest looks great! Glad to hear you’re feeling better! My wife recently cracked her ribs as well by…coughing! She developed bronchitis, and was coughing so hard that the coughing actually cracked her ribs. I think the worst part has to be that you can’t even do anything for cracked ribs. Just take some painkillers and wait since there’s no way to immobilize them. Very limiting as to what you can do and frustrating indeed.


    • Ugh! Sorry to hear about you wife Bob. It’s so painful to laugh, cough, or sneeze. I literally didn’t sneeze for a week. It must be something inherent in the body to protect you. My mind must’ve went on vacation for a second when I sneezed and I had to sit down. Maybe you can suggest she think through some design ideas for your next project; I heard it helps. 😀


  3. The chest looks great and that chamfer is the perfect compliment. Sorry to hear about the injury although apparently it was just what you needed to step back and see what this project required.


  4. Pingback: Love Thy Neighbor | While The Glue Dries

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