Building a Bedside Dresser
I’ve finished one of the two bedside dressers that I set out to build. I just finished taking a few photos and I promise to show you the finished piece this week. I’ve never built anything with drawers before so I turned to The Design Confidential for plans.
I choose a Campaign Style Dresser for the hubs side of the bed. It was supposed to look something like this…
Only with the top drawer being swapped out for a shelf as I mentioned here.
The overall dimensions of this bedside dresser are 36″w x 18″d x 34″h. I altered the plans so that the dresser would be higher as it was only supposed to be 26″ h. I added 7-1/2″ to the height of the legs to get to the 34″.
(1) 3/4” Full Sheet Birch Plywood @ 4′ x 8′
(1) 3/4” Birch Plywood @ 2′ x 4′
(1) 2” x 2” Poplar @ 6′
(2) 1” x 6” Poplar @ 6′
(2) 1” x 2” Poplar @ 4′
(2) 3/4” @ 25” Birch Veneer Edge Banding
1-1/4” Pocket Hole Screws
Before going to pick up my lumber, I drew out a plan for how to get the most out of a single sheet of plywood.
Doing this was “extremely” helpful. I decided to build my drawer boxes from Poplar boards instead of plywood.
I purchased a full sheet of PureBond Hardwood Plywood from Home Depot. My home depot charges for every cut so I drew out very specific cut list for whichever poor soul I would have cut my wood. I needed three cuts made so that the sheet would fit in my car. One cut needed to be at least 18″ but could not be more than 18-3/4″. They don’t guarantee their cuts to be exact but their motto is “within 1/4 inch.” This poor gentleman cut my piece to 17-7/8″ wide. He told me that I had to account for the saw blade. I told him that I did but did he? Why did he not just cut it 1/4″ wider? To make a long story short, the manager got involved a piece of wood got thrown across the aisle and I got my full sheet of plywood at half off.
When I got home, I did some re-calculating to account for the 1/8″ shortage on my width boards and then I got to work.
I cleared out my dining room and set up my table saw.
I was home alone so I could do whatever I wanted.
It took me about an hour to cut all the pieces for the bedside dresser.
But I am so grateful for my table saw because all of my cuts were spot on.
I thought it would be cool to show you how a single sheet of plywood and a few boards can make an actual piece of furniture so I labeled up this exploded sheet for you.
The “X’s” are waste just like I labeled in my drawing.
After all of my boards were cut, I needed to build the legs.
I cut the 2″ x 2″ boards and the 1″ x 2″ to size and I drilled the pocket holes.
TDC’s plans show the legs attached with the pocket holes on the underside of the dresser. That can cause your wood to split and I didn’t notice it until after I’d assembled half of my legs. If you flip the board and hide the pocket holes under the dresser body, your screws won’t come out the top of the legs. The photo above shows me assembling the leg the correct way.
Once all the glue was dry, I sanded the legs and then took them outside to be spray painted. I used Rustoleum Universal in Pure Gold.
Next I moved on to building the drawer boxes. I cut my 1 x 6’s to length and drilled my pocket holes.
First I glued and clamped the sides to the drawer bottom and secured with 4 screws.
Then I flipped the drawer back over and glued and clamped the fronts and backs to the drawer box. Then flipped again and secured with 8 more screws.
I repeated with the second drawer checking for square at every corner.
At this point I had not decided if I was going to paint the drawer boxes or not so I gave them a good sanding and set them aside.
The sides and the back of the dresser all needed pocket holes. The top and the bottom didn’t since I would be drilling into those pieces.
After I drilled all the holes, I was ready to cover up those ugly “Ply” edges with veneer banding. I bought White Birch to match the White Birch Plywood that I was using.
This stuff is just awesome. It irons on really easy.
Not every edge of the plywood needed veneer banding. The pieces that would be glued to other pieces and hidden didn’t need it. To make things less confusing for myself, I marked the edges of all the sides that needed veneer banding with a sharpie.
Then I got to ironing. I hate ironing and it took me a good 2 hours to iron all those edges on. It didn’t help that one of my friends stopped by and chatted with me for a while. I was grateful for the company so I’m in no way complaining.
I’m trying to give my nerves in my hand and elbow a break so I’m avoiding the vibrations of the palm sander for the time being. I hand sanded this entire project.
Here is a photo of the banding before I sanded the edges.
And here it is after a thorough sanding.
Looks like solid wood doesn’t it?
After I cleaned up all the sanding dust and residue, I was ready to stain. Rustoleum has discontinued my favorite “Early American” so the closest thing to it is “American Walnut.”
I found that adding a little bit of Dark Walnut to the stain almost gets me the Early American color. I decided not to do that this time and just went with the American Walnut by itself.
I also tried the Rustoleum Ultimate Polyurethane in the “Matte” finish and I am in Looooovvvveeee. 🙂 No fingerprints and no glossy plasticky film.
I polyurethane all the sides that will be inside the box with three coats. I did this now so that I didn’t have to try to poly the inside of this box after it was assembled. At this time, I also gave my drawer fronts 4 coats of poly.
Once all the pieces were dry, I was ready to assemble the dresser.
I’ll be back with the finished project in a day or two. I’m still editing the photos and I’ve started on the other bedside table. I hope you come back for the reveal.