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Thread: The Baby Dresser

  1. #1

    The Baby Dresser

    This is literally under (beside) the Christmas tree, ready for expectant parents of twins. It has been quite an adventure, quite a learning experience. It is made from red oak with poplar drawers, some sheet red oak inside and on the back. This is my first major "fine furniture" project in a very long time, and I put this together under the guidance of Keith Neer, a Marc Adams Master woodworker who takes students into his shop.

    I had a lot of learnings and observations and I would, if you think it useful, briefly mention these in subsequent replies to this thread.

    I started this from a very complete SU model, which Dave Richards was kind enough to review for me. He predicted I would probably change things when I actually got in the shop and was he right!. I designed (and over detailed it) with pocket hole joinery in mind, but wound up building it with mortise and tenon joinery, flat and raised panels, hand cut dovetails, custom pulls, glue block attachments for wood expansion, and a sprayed lacquer finish.

    More later if you are interested.


    P S: Can someone remind me how I put an image within the body of the message rather than all listed at the end with the attachment manager.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Beautiful work, Ken. I'm sure the new parents will be very pleased. Do feel free to post more details. I don't think you'll get any objections from the Peanut Gallery here.

    On the picture posting question, the second half of this tutorial should refresh your memory:
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Central Illinois
    Lookin Good, Ken, but it looks like you played with the Photo; way too much red, when I looked at it. I have some problems getting picturesright. One thing that helps is to have What type of wood?


  4. #4
    Bruce: I think you are right that I played with the photo too much, yet the piece, made from red oak, is a tad too red I believe and doesn't seem to exactly match the color samples prepared before the final decision on color. Se la vie. It is what it is.

    Key learning: make a LARGE sample board, sanded exactly like the piece, to test a color formulation, before proceeding. Perhaps make several.

  5. #5
    Hand cut dovertails:

    Key learning: much more precise dovetails produced using the bandsaw to make the cuts. Pull dovetail saw, even using a guide jig, had too much variation and required a lot (A LOT) of chisel and file fitting before the joint would go together. The bandsaw cut drawer went together perfectly, after minor touches with a file (no chisel work at all), fit tight, looked good. Minor gaps in hand cut dovetails can be filled/disguised nicely with a mix of sawdust and shellac.

    Key learning: You can not cut dovetails on a standard height workbench if you have a bad back---a nice bench "raiser" lifts the work 14" and makes for comfortable standing-up-straight working.

    Observation: pins first/tails second and laying out from "inside the box" was an almost intuitive and easily applied method. Transferring lines from cut pins to the tail board can, if one is not careful, be done incorrectly, resulting in a botched set of cuts. Trick learned: mistakes on tails can be cut off and your drawer will be 1/2" less deep. Mistakes on pin boards scrap the piece.

  6. #6
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    I love the baby dresser Ken!

    Beautiful work. They won't find that one in a store.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    That's a great looking dresser!

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Ken ,
    Appreciate your tips from table elevation to joint cutting.
    Please interject your thoughts as you have them about this project. Many folks will look and not comment but THEY WILL LEARN! (or else!!!!)
    It is a fine project and the wood selection ( pieces ) and usage ( places you put the pieces you used) is giving you great bang for the buck!
    I am a registered voter and you can be too. We ( registered voters ) select the moderators for this forum by voting every six months for the people we want to watch over this family forum.
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  9. #9
    Thanks for the enjoys hearing accolades for their work.

    Jig and fixtures:

    Jigs will increase both your accuracy of placement/cutting as well as your consistency. This was a feature of woodworking I never truly appreciated. From simple boards to align drawer slides and fronts, to templates to layout curved pieces, then cut and route them, to more complex jigs---this was one of my biggest learning areas.

    If you look at the drawer pulls, you will see they are custom, small, and curved to match some of the other curves on the overall project. They are approximately 4" wide x 1 1/2" tall. How to route them safely?? While I came up with several ideas, the photo shows the jig my mentor made to hold and guide the piece through the router. A separate template was used to form the shape other than the raised surface.

    Attachment 15559

    While not totally obvious from the photo, the jig uses the attachment holes in the pulls to join the piece to the jig. The angled surfaces guide the router bit onto and off of the piece and about 2/3s of the surface is routed. The piece is then reversed to route the rest of the edge.

    Quite creative. Jig conceptualization is a fun (and necessary) part of woodworking.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    Very nice Ken! Looks like a family heirloom to me.


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

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