I have begun building a 7 drawer dresser for a client and as always it starts out with a drawing. Sketchup is a wonderful tool that I have learned to use over the years. I especially like it because I can create the furniture in a three-dimensional drawing that the customer can relate to a lot easier. I can also personally add as much detail to the drawing as I want, essentially drawing in every single joint and basically building the piece virtually before I ever cut a stick of wood.
I chose not to draw all the detail on the internal joinery on this piece because I have an idea in my head of how it will go together (this is not the first seven drawer dresser I have built!). What I did spend a fair amount of time doing is creating a spread sheet with a cut list of all the components. This really helps me think through the process and break down each constituent part prior to ever cutting wood. Although it may take quite a while to do this, it really pays off in the long run. I may change things too but at least I have thought through the process and I have an idea on what the dimensions should be. Of course I don’t want to cut all my drawer parts to exact size until I have the case together but at least I have an idea of what the size of the drawer parts are going to be so when I am selecting my wood I can choose which ones will be the drawer parts and which ones will be the top, etc.
I started by looking through the “Trailer load of wood” and selecting the pieces that I thought would work best for each application. For example, the side panels are just under 12″ wide, so I picked out a couple clear 12″ boards for that. I was able to find a perfectly clear board that I was able to get the top out of with only one glue up!
I start by crosscutting all the stock to about 1 to 2 inches oversize, then I face joint them. This is the time I am very thankful for my 12″ Yates American Jointer, with an 8 foot bed! That thing is so nice.
Then I run them through my 24″ Newman planer. I picked up this beast at an auction years ago and it is an amazing piece of equipment. It was built for the US Air Force in 1946 and it is literally built like a tank–or maybe a bomber!
Again very thankful for this equipment, making a lot of work a little easier.
Just a side note; I am building this piece in my home shop. Our school shop is much bigger and probably a little–no, I meant to say, a lot–cleaner than my shop.
After all the stock is jointed and planed, I start edge jointing and ripping the stock on the table saw. Then I will start the joinery for the side panels and the legs. I am starting with the outside case, so I will be working on the outside frame and panels first.
More on the joinery in the next post!