As part of our Master Suite Remodel,
But first, lets get some terminology cleared up.
First cut all of your pieces for the face frame of the dresser. This means determining how tall & wide you want the dresser and how many drawers you'd like.
For this dresser, we have four drawers so the face frame was made up of two stiles (vertical pieces) and five rails (horizontal pieces). For the rails, cut them 1" longer than the actual dimensions to allow for a 1/2" tenon on each side. Our rail was made of 1-1/2" pine.
Next, after you have your stile's cut to the dimensions of your dresser, mortise holes in the inside edge of each piece. Since we don't have the proper tools to do this, Justin made a jig to go with an adjustable shelf bit to mortise holes.
In both of the stiles, cut a 1/4" dado on the back side for your side pieces to slide into.
Using wood glue, put a bead of glue in the mortise and slide the tenon in place. Repeat with all of your rails to build the dresser face frame.
Tighten the joints using clamps. These clamps will also hold the face frame in place while you confirm that it's square. Then nail using your brad nailer with 5/8" brad nails.
This is what our finished face frame for the dresser looked like.
Then move onto the side panels and base of the dresser. We chose to use MDF for the side, top and bottom pieces of our dresser because it's a cheaper option than plywood. We started by cutting the side pieces 1/4" wider than needed for the rabbetted side to slide into the dado you made earlier on the face frame. Rabbet both side of these side pieces. One for the face frame, the other for the plywood which attaches to the back of the dresser.
Put a layer of glue in the dado of your face frame and along the edge where the side board will hit. Then slide your side piece of MDF into the dado, secure with your clamps and nail in place using your brad nailer & 5/8" brad nails.
This is what the joint looks like between the three pieces (stile, rail and side piece).
Then, cut your MDF piece to size for the bottom of the dresser. Glue all three sides and slide into place. There is no dado in these pieces. They are held together by your nails and screws.
Once you have determined your dresser is square on the top, place an angle block in all four corners to help hold it square. These pieces are also used for screwing the top piece of the dresser down.
Cut your 1/4" plywood to fit the back of your dresser and staple on using a soffit stapler and 1/2" soffit staples.
Here's what our dresser looked like after this step.
Slide your dresser into the space. In our bedroom, it was into a little closet nook behind our sliding bedroom door. First, make sure the dresser is level by placing shims under the side pieces wherever needed.
Then screw into the studs of the wall using 3" screws.
And lastly for today's part of the tutorial, cut your top piece of MDF and secure to the top of the dresser by gluing and nailing to the sides and face frame with your brad nailer and 1-1/4" nails.
And for some added inspiration to get you through these tedious steps, here's what it looks like when it's finished! Love, love love. Tomorrow we'll be sharing Step 2 - how to build dresser drawers.
And this is what my dresser looks like in the closet! It was build similarly just larger since we had the shelves above the dresser as well.
And there you have it!
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