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Thread: Bedside table dresser design

  1. #1
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    Bedside table dresser design

    My wife wants new bedside table dressers to match the new bed. They will be sapele and she likes the style shown.

    I have a few questions:

    1. What should I use for drawer slides (I've never done drawers before).

    2. There's no obvious handle. Should I go with a "push to open" drawer slide (which I'm not the biggest fan of..they feel to modern to me) or does anyone have a suggestion for nice, integrated, and hidden pulls?

    3. I plan on making the carcass first and then the drawers to fit. Is this the usual process?

    Having made cabinets with doors but not drawers before, is there anything in particular I should be aware of? I have a couple of books that walk through drawers, so hopefully that will answer most of the dumb questions.

    Thanks as always!
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  2. #2
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    I would build the cabinet first and then the drawers. You could make finger pulls with a router that would be flush with the front of the drawers.
    finger pull.jpg
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
    Since you are not accustomed to this type of construction, keep it simple. "Push-to-open"? Why? Completely unnecessary and annoying to use.

    Hardware store wooden track with the plastic hangar actually work just fine and are extremely simple to install. Hard to go wrong. But are rather utilitarian, if your wife is expecting fine furniture. Same with commercial drawer slides, actually.

    The design you've chosen is very simple and straightforward--a good choice. Make the space between the drawers large enough to get fingers in for opening. Or route in some pulls.

    By all means build the carcass first.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  4. #4
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    I'm with Andy on push-to-open drawers. You have to first push the drawer, then move your hand to pull it all the way open. A conventional handle just works better. Another nice thing about visible pulls is that they say "pull here", instead of making you guess.

    I'm a big fan of full-extension metal drawer slides. My default slide is the undermount kind, Blum Tandems if I can get them. Grass is also good, and is often in better supply.

    For inset drawers (which is what is in your picture) I always make the drawer with an applied front. This approach has a complete drawer box -- sides, bottom, back, and front -- plus a show front. The box and the show front are connected by screws whose heads are inside the box. Make the holes through the box a bit oversize, and you can adjust the position of the front. This is important when you're trying to get even gaps all around the show front.

  5. #5
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    Great feedback all. If you do a show front, what are your usual thicknesses for the box versus the show front?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Liebling View Post
    Great feedback all. If you do a show front, what are your usual thicknesses for the box versus the show front?
    Most often I make the drawer box from 12mm Baltic Birch plywood, edgebanded on visible edges. The show front is generally 3/4" thick. That provides enough meat for the mounting screws to grab.

  7. #7
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    Given your first attempt at drawers, you might think about making a smaller drawered cabinet for shop tools from shop wood. Maybe a top drawer for router bits with a middle drawer for drill bits and some screwdrivers or something in the bottom?

    I can guarantee your second drawered cabinet will come out much nicer than your first one.

    Cabinet first, then drawers to fit, yes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Most often I make the drawer box from 12mm Baltic Birch plywood, edgebanded on visible edges. The show front is generally 3/4" thick. That provides enough meat for the mounting screws to grab.
    I make all of my drawer boxes for furniture using yellow poplar. It works well, is pretty stable and takes finish nicely after the first coat is sanded. The first coat will feel like 220 grit sandpaper, but a light sanding will make it smooth and all subsequent coats will be smooth. The "show fronts" are 3/4" thick finish wood.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 11-20-2022 at 7:59 PM.
    Lee Schierer
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  9. #9
    It would be really helpful for you to know what type of drawer hardware you’re going to use before you build either the cabinet or the drawers. Different types of hardware require different construction methods or measurements. Easier to do it right the first time then to try to just make something work later on. Building a test piece is a good suggestion too.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vince mastrosimone View Post
    It would be really helpful for you to know what type of drawer hardware you’re going to use before you build either the cabinet or the drawers. ...
    +1. Buy the drawer slides before building the drawers so you know exactly how wide the drawers need to be. Blum undermount is a good choice.
    Mark McFarlane

  11. #11
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    One more thought.

    Make sure the case/carcass is perfectly square as you glue it up. Drawers are problematic otherwise.

    I've created some built ins where the casework gets slightly out of square during installation and it adds some complication to getting the drawers to perfectly fit and the drawer front to line up perfectly.

    Square is good.

    My process:
    1) Buy the drawer slides
    2) Build the case
    3) Measure and build the drawers
    Mark McFarlane

  12. #12
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    I think I'm going to go with wooden slides a la https://www.finewoodworking.com/2021...e-hung-drawers

    Metal slides just don't feel right in hardwood bedroom furniture for me.

    I've done a fair amount of carcass work with handcut dovetails, so that part isn't so bad (though making sure it glues up perfectly square is a good reminder and sometimes a challenge). I've been planning to put a back on it, partially to help keep it square.

  13. #13
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    Wood slides are awesome. FWIW, undermount slide hardware is basically invisible. It is less visible than the FWW plan you referenced. You can see the side piece of the slide inside the casework when the drawer is fully extended. I've never seen full extension of a drawer with wood slides.

    If you haven't seen undermounts in person, look at around 3:30 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nJWXax2T4I
    Mark McFarlane

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Liebling View Post
    . ...Metal slides just don't feel right in hardwood bedroom furniture for me...
    We have some expensive handmade solid wood dressers (w/ dovetailed drawers,...) that use undermount hardware, so it's not unheard of.

    I personally have built too many drawers before discovering the undermount hardware.
    Mark McFarlane

  15. #15
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    The undermounts look nice. I assume they take a bit of height.

    Somehow the wooden ones just feel right to me, though my guess is that my wife may vote for undermount.

    I don't feel like full extension is a critical feature for bedroom dresser drawers. Am I wrong here?

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