Building my own dressers

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Old 09-09-13, 02:10 PM
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Building my own dressers

My wife and I have been unable to find a set of dressers that we are happy with in retail or online. We like some of the modern styling, but are unable to find a set that we agree on, or are willing to spend the money on. We are newlyweds (3 years) with a new house and a 1 year old, and are on a budget. Everything in the price range we were looking to spend is going to be made of particleboard and probably will break on us at some point. Everything else is just way too much money for us right now.

So, I have decided I want to explore the option of building my own dressers. I am not a woodworker, but I am very mechanical and am the jack of all trades at home when it comes to fixing things. I know I would have the skills to take on the project, but I just don't have much experience building furnature.

Anyway, we want to paint the dressers. We don't really care for the stained wood look. I've created a design using Pro/E of all the boards that I need for one of the dressers. I think it is a doable project. Just looking for any suggestions or tips as well as information on what type of wood to use. My plan was to use mostly 2x2's & plywood. My lack of woodworking experience leaves me without the correct term for nice plywood that has the outer surfaces finished, but I know I will want to use that. Also, I am fully aware that lumber does not come in the actual sizes that they are called.

I haven't estimated material cost yet, but I am hoping to have it all for $300 or less. I have most of the tools I would need, just need to get some clamps, and probably a pocket hole jig. The particle board retail dresser this is based on costs $300, so I would like to come out ahead of that in price once all is said and done. I plan on painting it, so I don't have to get the nicest wood around.

Anyway, here are a few pictures of what I think my first piece will be.

This is what I am basing my design off of:


This is my design:


Wireframe, because the black is kind of hard to see.



This is an image of the structure of the dresser with the drawers & top hidden from view. Constuction is primarily from 2x2's & 3/4" plywood panels. The drawers will be mounted to slides which will be installed on the outside panels & on the 2x2's that span front to back in the center.



The drawer design is mostly made from 1/2" plywood:
 
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Old 09-09-13, 02:31 PM
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Your carcass plan and the drawer plan are fine. You need to formulate a plan to keep the drawers in place once you insert them in the hole. Either use full length side drawer glides or something similar. You can find the hardware at most of the box stores.
 
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Old 09-09-13, 03:18 PM
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What kind of lumber will you be using for the 2X2? Poplar would be good if you can find it in that dimension. You can also glue up (2) 3/4" to get the thickness. The sides can be 1/2" and the back and drawer bottoms 1/4". I assume you will be using a table saw and a router or dado head for some of the joinery?
 
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Old 09-09-13, 06:23 PM
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Hadn't thought about lumber for the 2x2's. I just would need something that could sand out easily for a nice smooth finish for paint.

I planned on using full length slides for the drawers, that's why I didn't have anything in there for drawer support.

I don't have a table saw. My thought was to give it a go with my circular saw. I also don't plan on using a router. With the style we are going for, the square edges look good. As for the joints, I plan on picking up a kreg jig to drill holes for pocket screws. I will glue the joints and then secure with screws. I will probably also use countersunk screws to assemble the drawers. I will build the box for the drawer, and then the drawer face will just be screwed onto the box from the inside of the drawer.
 
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Old 09-10-13, 03:55 AM
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Your drawer bottoms might fail if you just attach them to the bottom of the drawer carcass. Normally you rip a dado on the side rails and insert 1/4" plywood in the groove. I don't have a dado blade but found out yrs ago that 2 passes with the table saw does fine [I set a fence on each side of the blade and just turn the wood around for the 2nd pass] It is a lot easier to get a straight cut with a table saw than with a skil saw.
 
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Old 09-10-13, 05:35 AM
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Good luck trying to do your cuts without a table saw and a compound miter saw. Going to need plenty of sandpaper fix all the flaws. Of course it can be done that way, just a whole lot more time spent "fixing" crooked cuts.
A router, even a small trim router really should be used to at least round over the side panels in the drawers, if not they tend to chip with at the top outside corners.
It will also allow a perfectly straight dado cut to slide the bottoms into with a guide on the router.
 
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Old 09-10-13, 07:27 AM
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I didn't know about the dado method. I do have a dremel & I probably could get router bits to help with doing some of that work.

I know a table saw and a compound miter saw are the right tools for the job, but there are methods to get straight cuts with a circular saw too. My plan was to clamp some sort of a guide board or straight edge to my panels to make my long cuts. The 2x2's will be more of a challenge, but I have a few options to consider. I can either have the lumber yard cut them for me, or I can devise some method.
 
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