Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Build a Dresser - Part 3

It's time for the final tutorial in our How to Build a Dresser series. So far we've shared How to Build a Dresser Frame & Surround, and How to Build Dresser Drawers.  Today, we're moving onto how to build the beautiful drawer facing and pulls.

How to Build a Built-In Dresser

Before we jump into the How To portion of this post, let's revisit our vocabulary. Justin was a cabinet maker for a few years, so he learned his tricks of the trade during that time.
Step one was to cut the stiles and rail pieces of each side of the newel post. Starting with the rail piece, Justin cut a tenon (aka. the nobby thing at the end) on his table saw. The tenon's will be used to connect with the stile pieces.

For the rail & stiles we used pine.

Cutting Stiles for Newel Post

For the rail pieces, using his table saw, Justin cut a dado (the groove along the length of the board), wide enough for the tenon and panel to slide into (1/4").

Dadoing the Stiles for a Custom Newel Post

Here's a quick snapshot to show how the rail and stiles should fit together.

Framing a Custom Newel Post

Then he cut the panel to size for the height of our newel post. We chose to use MDF because it paints better than wood, and is pretty cost efficient.

Cutting the MDF

He then rabbeted (aka. the edging you see around the piece) the panel out so it fits snugly in the groove in the stiles and rails. Be sure to only rabbet out the back side of the panel.

Note: You could also use 1/4" MDF and skip this step entirely. Our lumber store only carried 1/2" MDF, so we had to thin the edges down to fit.

Rabbeting the Panel for a Custom Newel Post

Place space balls into the dado to keep the panel centered and snug over time.

Placing Space Balls in the Dado

Then glue together all the pieces! Taking your panel, glue and secure your Stiles in place, then your Rails. Clamp tight and use 5/8" brad nails to secure.

Building the Frame & Panel for Custom Newel Post
Clamping and Nailing the Panel
Finished Dresser Front

Then taking the drawers you already have built, pre-drill holes in all four corners of the front of the drawer box. You'll need these holes in a later step.

Justin painted each of the drawer fronts white using our paint sprayer. Lay your drawer front face down and place the drawer on top. We built our drawer fronts with a 1/2" overlay over the dresser frame, so Justin measured that and marked it out on the back side of the drawer front.

Centering the Drawer Front

Using 1" screws, secure the drawer box to the drawer front using the pre-drilled holes from earlier.

Attaching the Drawer Front

We needed to uninstall our drawer guides so we could spray the drawer box with poly. If you do this in the same order, take this time to reattach your drawer guide to each side of the drawer box.

Attaching the Drawer Guide

After we got all drawer fronts screwed on, we checked to make sure that they all fit properly within the overall drawer frame. Once it looked good, it was time to attach the drawer pulls which I purchased from the kitchen section at Ikea.

First, measure out the center of the drawer front and mark out where your holes should be drilled. Justin marks out these spots on a piece of blue painters tape so we don't have to worry about marks on the wood. Start by pre-drilling holes using a drill bit slightly larger than the shaft of the screws that come with your chosen drawer pulls.

Attaching Drawer Pulls

Then slide your screws through the back side of your drawer front and attach your drawer pulls.

Attaching Ikea Drawer Pulls

And here's how our completed built-in dresser looks! Love, love, love. And we extra love it because it means that we don't need to go downstairs to the guest room to find our clothes anymore!

How to Build a Built In Dresser

Dresser Drawers

How to Build Dresser Drawers

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  1. Ummm...WOW!!! You guys make it look so easy. Beautiful job!

  2. This looks great! I will be featuring this tonight at my Sizzle into Summer party that opens at 8pm EST. Please stop by and pick up an I've Been Featured button. Thanks.

  3. This is just amazing really - would love to have this in my bedroom !
    ( not that we could ever do this in a million years - I could maybe get the handles on - that would be about my level of carpentry lol )