Building A Chest Of Drawers
For a amateur woodworker, a chest of drawers is a surprisingly simple project that can be completed by someone with only basic woodworking skills. It helps to think of a chest of drawers as being a box with smaller boxes inside of it, rather than a large piece of furniture.
- ¾-inch Plywood for the outer cabinet
- ½-inch Plywood for the drawers
- ¼-inch Plywood for the drawer bottoms
- Drawer Glides
- Table Saw
- Router (optional)
- Wood Glue
- 1½-inch and ¾-inch drywall screw
- Brads or finishing nails
- ¾-inch L-brackets
- Bought or made drawer fronts
Step One – Decide on the Size of the Chest of Drawers
Make a sketch or to-scale drawing of the chest of drawers you would like to make. Include measurements of the outer box and decide how many drawers you will have. Measure the drawer area and mark the approximate depth and width for each drawer.
Step Two – Cut the Outer Cabinet
After careful measurement, use a straightedge and a table saw to rip the pieces for the exterior cabinet.
Cut a bottom piece and a top piece of the same size, and 2 side pieces of the same size. Use the ¾-inch plywood with a furniture finish on one side.
For the back, cut a piece of the ¼-inch plywood.
After careful measurement, attach the drawer slides, one on each side. They must align exactly, so measure and install carefully.
Step Three – Construct the Exterior Box
Using the L-brackets on the top and bottom pieces, attach the sides to the bottom. Use the drywall screws and wood glue to attach. You can add legs or decorative supports to the bottom of the chest of drawers at this time, or you can add something later. You can also have a chest of drawers that rests on the floor.
Make sure the drawer slides are facing the same direction so that both sides have the drawer slides right-side up.
Attach the back panel with finishing nails.
Step Four – Construct Front Panels
If you want to have spacers between the drawers, cut and install them now. Carefully measure the space between the 2 sides, and cut a piece of plywood to fit. It is possible to construct a chest where the drawer fronts create the front of the chest with no panels between them. It comes down to personal preference, so decide how you want your drawers to look.
Step Five – Build the Drawer Boxes
To allow the drawer to fit in the slides, make the width of the box 1 inch smaller than the width of the space of the opening of the dresser. Cut the back and front of the drawer 1½-inch smaller than the width of the drawer to allow for joining the sides and backs.
Use a router to create a joint in for attaching the backs and fronts. Cut a ¼-inch groove for the drawer bottom ½-inch from the bottom of each of the 4 sides of the drawer.
Use wood glue, screws and finishing nails to complete the drawers.
Attach the drawer fronts to the drawer boxes.
Step Six – Finishing the Chest of Drawers
Use decorative molding on the sides, front or bottom of the chest of drawers. Use a paint or stain to finish the wood. Make any fine tuning adjustments as needed.
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