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I have just completed a build of a tall, five drawer dresser for a bedroom!  The final dimensions are 37″x20″x52.5″.  The dresser was made from 3/4 red oak plywood for the case and drawers, red oak edgebanding, solid red oak slats to divide the drawers, 2/4 birch plywood for the drawer bottoms, walnut harvested from a farm in Blacksburg, VA for the top and pedestal, and 16″ soft-close full-extension drawer slides.  The drawer pulls came from Knobs ‘N Knockers in Lahaska, Pennsylvania–near where I grew up.  The faces of the drawer fronts are veneered with walnut to show a continuous grain vertically between the five drawers.  The case is finished with homemade chalk paint and dark wax to provide a clean, but vintage looking effect not fully captured in these photos.

My goals for this project–like all my projects–were to minimize the use of traditional fasteners, cover up mistakes well, draft the original design in SketchUp, be a good steward of materials, and to ask myself at every crossroads, “will this last 100 years?”  I was lucky to be able to meet my goals for this build and come in under budget as well!

This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn some valuable lessons from this dresser build.  If I were to do this project again, I would definitely do some things differently.  Firstly, just because I could make the drawers to 1/64″ tolerance, I probably shouldn’t.  This made it really tough to get the drawers to slide cleanly and evenly.  Another thing, 3/4 material for drawer sides and faces is too thick.  I think 2/4 sides and 1/4 bottoms would be sufficient.  This would also reduce the weight and add a little more capacity to each drawer.

Following is a mostly complete chronological series of pictures of the build.  Now to finish my next project, a pair of mobile six foot see-through dry erase boards I’m being commissioned to build!

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