Woodworking: Girl’s Maple Dresser (Step 7: Drawers)
This is a continuation of the Girl’s Maple Dresser project.
Time estimate for this step: 8 hours.
The seventh step in making this dresser is to build and install the drawers of the dresser. The body of the drawers for this dresser will be made from poplar, and will later have faces made from maple (Step 8).
Step 7a: Measure
There are two sizes of drawers for this dresser, and there are three drawers of each size. The dresser allows for three drawers in each opening, each 8.5 inches high. The dimensions for the interior of the larger drawer section are 28 7/8 x 19 3/8 inches. I like to leave a 1/2 inch at the back of the drawer, and 1 inch for the faces. The drawer slides I purchased are ACCURIDE 3832 18″ Chrome Full Extension Drawer Slides from WoodCraft, which require 1/2 inch clearance on each side of the drawer. So, the final dimensions for the large drawer should be 27 7/8 x 17 5/8 inches. The dimensions for the interior of the smaller drawer section are 10 3/4 x 19 3/8 inches, so the final drawer dimensions should be 9 3/4 x 17 5/8 inches.
Step 7b: Cut pieces to size
Because we will be using rabbet joints for the drawers, the horizontal pieces will be 1/2 inch shorter than the final width. Cut six pieces of poplar to 8 x 9 1/4 inches. These will be the fronts and backs of the smaller drawers. Cut six pieces of poplar to 8 x 27 3/8 inches. These will be the fronts and backs of the larger drawers. Cut twelve pieces of poplar to 8 x 17 5/8 inches. These will be the sides of both the smaller and larger drawers.
Step 7c: Make dado cuts
After the pieces have been cut, it’s time to make the dado cuts for our rabbet joints. Install a 1/2 inch dado blade into a table saw, 1/2 inch high, and 1/4 inch away from a fence. Run both ends of one side of each of the 12 side pieces through the dado.
Next, adjust the 1/2 inch dado to 1/4 inch high, and right next to a fence. Run both ends of one side of each of the front and back drawer pieces through the dado.
Dry-fit the pieces together to ensure a good fit.
Step 7d: Router bottom slots
For the bottom of the drawers, we will be using 1/4 inch maple plywood. To hold the bottom in place, we will need to router a slot into the bottom of the drawers. To do this, use a 1/4 inch straight router bit, 1/2 inch high, and 1/4 inch away from a fence. Run all 24 drawer pieces through the router on one the inside edge to cut the slots. On the side pieces, do not cut all the way to the end of the piece (only to the dado slots).
Step 7e: Cut the bottoms
Dry-fit the drawers together, and measure for the bottom pieces. The drawer bottoms are made from 1/4 inch maple plywood. The bottom pieces should extend all the way into the slots which were cut with the router in the previous step.
Step 7f: Glue the drawers
The drawer pieces are held together by wood glue. Put glue in the joining slots for each drawer piece and assemble. Clamp the drawers while drying, and ensure that the drawers are square. I chose to use squaring braces made from 3/4 inch plywood to hold the drawers square while gluing.
Step 7g: Install the drawer slides
Install the drawer slides onto each drawer, making sure the front of the drawer slide is flush with the front of the drawer. To install the drawer slides into the dresser body, it helps to cut alignment pieces of wood from scrap and use them to support the drawer slide while drilling and screwing. For the alignment pieces for the top drawer slides, cut two pieces of scrap to 17 1/8 inches long. For the middle drawer slides, cut two pieces of scrap to 8 5/8 inches long. It also helps to place an alignment piece in front of the drawer slides so that the front of the drawer slides is set back 1 inch from the front of the dresser.
And, here is what the dresser now looks like with the drawers installed.
That’s it for the main body of the drawers. Next, we can work on the drawer faces.