Dresser for Little “C”

Dresser / changing table for my youngest daughter’s new arrival. Top, sides, and drawer fronts made from red oak. Five foot long, 35 inches high, 21 inches deep.

I turned the feet out of 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 oak glue-ups. First I cut the tapers on the bandsaw, the waste was taped back in place to keep a stable surface while cutting the other three sides. Each foot was turned between centers on the lathe using a parting tool to mark the transitions and a small gouge to cut the concave curves. They were sanded while still mounted on the lathe.

Next I made the sides using a frame with a floating center panel. The center solid oak panel was made from a three board glue-up. Rabbets were cut on all four sides that fit in dados cut in the frame pieces. To allow for wood movement across the grain, I cut the head off a 2 inch finish nail and inserted it into holes drilled in the vertical frame members and the center of the panel. This keeps the panel centered within the frame. The edges of the panel were shaped to fit into the tapered grove in the frame sides to prevent weakening the mortise and tenons joining the frame pieces together.

The rear frame of the dresser consisted of two horizontal 6/4 pieces of popular attached with two mortises to each side panel. The front faces of the popular pieces had a 1/2 inch rabbet cut to allow a 1/2 plywood panel to be inset. The plywood panel squared up the frame and provided a structural surface to mount rails which supported the rear of the drawer slides described next.

Next job was to mount the drawer slides. I elected to use 100 pound capacity full extension slides. To support the rear ends of the slides, I cut notches in construction fir 2×4 sized to match the width of the vertical members in the front face frame. These were screwed to the rear plywood panel. On the front face of the rear supports I added yellow pine whose width matched the notches cut in the fir. These pieces provided a solid surface for the screws which secured the rear of the slides.
Additional oak pieces were attached to the rear faces of the vertical front face to provide a fastening surface for the front of the slides. They also overlapped the mortise and tenon joints for some added support.
Temporary blocks were used to locate the front end of slides when they were attached to the frame.

Drawers were made from 1/2 inch plywood sides and 3/4 inch plywood false fronts and rears. Dados to hold the drawer bottoms made from 3/16 hardboard were cut in the sides and front. The drawer rear was sized to set on top of the drawer bottom. The sides were fastened to the fronts and backs with a brad nailer after gluing. To increase the rigidity of the bottom on the larger drawers, a 1/4 inch deep notch to accomodate a 1-1/4 wide inch pine slat was cut in the center of the drawer false front. The slat was glued to the drawer bottom and a screw inserted into the 3/4 inch false drawer front and drawer rear.
A simple jig was made to accurately position the inner slide rail to the side of each drawer. Slide positions were determined to provide about a 1/4 inch of overhang of the solid oak true front above and below the false front. On the large drawer faces, a 1/8 inch wide x 3/16 inch deep groove was cut 1-1/4 inch in from all edges of the true drawer fronts. Fifty cent coins were used to space the true drawer fronts top/bottom and side to side within the drawer openings against the drawer’s false front face. The screw holes for the drawer pulls registered the true drawer front to the drawer. After gluing and clamping, two screws drilled inside the rear face of the false front secured the true fronts to the drawers.

The cabinet bottom panel was made from 3/16 hardboard sized to fit within the bottom of the dresser and to fit flush with the top of the bottom front frame members. Blocks attached to the inner surfaces of the front and rear frame supported the bottom at the flush height. Small counter-sunk screws held the bottom panel to the bottom blocks.
Corner blocks to hold the dresser feet were made to fit in the bottom corners. A forstner bit sized to accommodate a counter-sink bit was used to bore holes in the 45 degree face of the block. These holes secured the block to the sides. Screws counter bored through the front and back frame faces secured the blocks on its other face. 3/8 inch oak plugs were inserted over the screws on the front face. The feet were attached to the blocks with 1 number 10 screw in the center, and a shorter number 8 screw 3/4 inch to the side to keep the feet from rotating.

The 5 foot top was made from 3 edge jointed solid oak boards. To get a straight edge on the 4/4 rough sawn boards, I used the straight edge of a piece of mdf wider than the boards to ride against the fence after fastening the oak to the mdf with 2 screws located within 1/4 inch of the worst edge. After the first cut, I removed the mdf and used the newly created straight edge against the fence to true the other long side of the board. This provided edges which required no planing before edge gluing. I used 3/8 inch dowels in the two inner edges of the glue-up along with clamping cawls to get a very flat top.
To attach the top to the chest, a 6/4 piece of oak first had three holes drilled at each end. The two outer holes on each end were slotted to allow for wood movement. The block was then attached to the inside top end of the chest with two screws. The top was then centered on the chest and clamped in place. Then the three screws on each end were drilled and secured.