7 Drawer Dresser – Cutting Panels and Gluing Up

Missed the first few posts on my 7 drawer dresser project? Read about the design and joinery phases.

Preparing the panels to raise


I started by hand planing the surfaces to remove any mill marks. I then started laying out to raise the panels. There are couple options here. You can put the raised portion on the inside making it a flat panel or put the raised portion on the outside, which is what the customer wanted. You can also make a fielded panel or a non-fielded panel. Basically, the difference is that a fielded panel has a lip making a central raised part on the entire panel. A non-fielded panel is where the bevel just comes right up and terminates at the surface with no step. That is what the customer wanted so that is what I am doing here. I use the table saw with a zero clearance insert to cut the panels. This process is a little scary, great care must be taken and a push stick is an absolute necessity.

Cutting the raised panels on the tablesaw


Really the whole process can be done totally by hand, which I have done many times. I actually do go back with a plane and clean up the bevels to clean up the saw marks and even the bevels up.

Cleaning up the bevels by hand


On these panels, I put a rabbet on the other side, so I could make the panel the full thickness of the frame. I also made some frames for the interior of the case for the drawers to run on. I made the interior frames out of soft maple with full mortise and tenon construction.

Interior drawer runners out of maple


The next step is to scrape and sand the panels before gluing up the frame and panels. I can’t say enough good about the Stanley No. 80 scraper, it is an amazing tool. You can scrape panels with zero tearout, regardless of the grain direction.

Trusty Stanley no 80 scraper


I am using hide glue for gluing up the frame and panels. I first started by dry fitting everything together and then carefully laid out prior to gluing.

Panel laid out


I have been using hide glue more and more, primarily because it has such wonderful properties: one is that it does not “lock” the joint when you are trying to glue up. In other words, it allows the joint, even if it’s tight, to slip right in place and allows you to move the piece to location. I added a small bit of urea to extend the working time of the glue.

Gluing up the back frame

Fitting the last piece!

Back frame clamped up

Next step is to start cutting the inside joinery for the frames for the drawers to run on. So stay tuned!

Frank Strazza

Want to learn to make fine furniture like this yourself? See our Advanced Furniture Making Courses, including our 4 Drawer Dresser course. Be sure to check out our online woodworking courses as well.

2 Responses to 7 Drawer Dresser – Cutting Panels and Gluing Up

  1. Bill McCaffrey October 9, 2014 at 9:26 AM #

    Nice work Frank! as always.

    I’m sure you know this already, but worth saying for safety’s sake – There are two simple shop made jigs that make cutting the panels safer on the table saw: a tall sacrificial fence; a tall sacrificial fence with a sliding mount. With all of the government legislation on table saw safety, it’s important to note that these types of cuts can be safely done on the table saw. Both jigs are posted on FineWoodWorking.com.

    • Frank Strazza October 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM #

      Thank you Bill for the comment. I did think about the tall fence and probably should have taken the time to attach one. I do find that the zero clearance insert is an absolute must.